How Alcohol Abuse Can Affect Your Immune System

Alcohol abuse is the most common form of drug addiction by far, and it can impact the user’s overall wellness in many ways. However, as well as the risk of stroke, heart problems, and liver damage, excessive drinking also harms your immune system.

Worse still, you don’t have to be one of the 14.5 Americans with an alcohol usage disorder to show the signs of drinking. A deeper understanding of the impacts may help you reassess your approach to drink.

How Alcohol Abuse Impacts The Immune System

A strong immune system is essential for allowing the body to fight viruses and foreign pathogens. As such, it is one of the key factors in fighting off minor illnesses to prevent sickness and speed up recovery times. Unfortunately, drinking alcohol will stop the body from functioning as desired.

Consuming alcohol will negatively impact all cells within the immune system. Tellingly, it kills healthy gut bacteria and simultaneously causes inflammation. Moreover, studies show that the body will naturally prioritize breaking down alcohol over other bodily functions, which includes fighting viruses. So, even a small amount of alcohol can leave an individual exposed to a greater risk of viral infections. Similarly, alcohol abuse causes poor sleep quality, which also increases a person’s chances of getting sick with issues like the common cold.

The pandemic has arguably made this a more conscious issue. However, the immune system is vital for protecting the body against a wide range of threats, which is why keeping it in good health should be a priority. Controlling alcohol consumption is a vital step.

How Much Alcohol WIll Affect the Immune System?

When thinking about alcohol abusers, most people picture a downbeat drunk. In reality, the vast majority of people showing problematic relationships with alcohol are vastly different, coming from affluent backgrounds and functioning well in daily life. However, an even greater number of people who use alcohol in what they feel is in a controlled manner are at risk. 

Research shows that 14 drinks per week or 5-6 drinks in one sitting is enough to hinder the immune system. While the figures can vary from person to person depending on various factors (size, gender, tolerance levels, etc.), it shows the very real danger. After all, around one in four adults are believed to enjoy at least one binge per month.

How to Regain Control over Alcohol Abuse

For some individuals, cutting back on alcohol consumption is enough to protect the immune system, along with other aspects of their health. After all, when consumed responsibly, alcohol can enhance many social activities. If you are worried about your relationship with alcohol or feel a loved one’s alcohol abuse is harming their immune system and general health, now is the time to take charge.

Get Help at Peaks Recovery

Early interventions followed by a course of dedicated inpatient or outpatient services can help you achieve sobriety for life. To find out more about world-class alcohol rehab services in Colorado, contact Peaks Recovery today!