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How the Body Changes When Going Through Recovery

The effects of drug and alcohol use can be long-lasting, depending on the intensity that someone would use them, as well as how frequently they would be used. How drugs affect the body, drug sores on arms, and drug abuse skin problems can all be intense issues to deal with, especially during the beginning stages of recovery. Physical recovery from alcoholism and the brain’s recovery from alcohol all take just as much time to address. However, as someone stops using drugs or alcohol and begins their journey through recovery, their body can readjust and begin to acclimate to their new lives in sobriety. Recovery on a physical and mental front are both possible with the right treatment for someone’s particular addiction, and this professional help is key in guiding someone through the various changes that their bodies will undergo as a part of the recovery process. 

Beginning Changes in Recovery

When someone first stops using an addictive substance, their bodies will begin to react very quickly to the sudden absence of a substance that it has become accustomed to expect on a daily basis. This first phase of recovery is the detox phase, and most often where withdrawal symptoms set in. There is no way around this part, and it will be uncomfortable. However, that doesn’t mean that getting through this part is impossible by any means, and the right professionals available for constant mental health and physical health treatment can help the process along. Nausea, vomiting, twitching, insomnia, and mood swings are all possible during this phase. For those recovering from an addiction to alcohol, alcohol withdrawal brain fog may set in. Alcohol withdrawal brain fog can make it feel difficult to recall memories or even words, and someone can feel as if they are constantly distracted, or otherwise unable to focus on the conversation or happenings around them. While difficult at the time, alcohol withdrawal brain fog does pass and can lead to further healing as someone continues through their recovery. 

Physical Recovery from Substance Abuse

seeing body changes in recovery

However, one of the major aspects that needs to be addressed is the weight gain that will be present through the recovery process. How much weight you gain in recovery can vary from person to person, but gaining weight again is an important part of the process. Drug addiction can take a huge toll on someone’s appetite entirely and can make it so they are rarely eating full, complete meals, if they are eating meals at all. This leads to major issues of malnutrition and dehydration that debilitate the healing process as a whole. This weight gain can be attributed to someone regaining their appetite as the drugs leave their system, and the body begins to realize much of the damage that has been done to it through years of using drugs or alcohol. The body’s ability to heal itself over time is impressive, but also requires an immense amount of energy. Weight restoration is the body’s way of ensuring that it has the nutrients and energy that it needs in order to begin healing the drug sores or bruising that may be present on someone’s arm, or to repair the internal damage to various organs that the body may have endured while someone was using drugs or alcohol. This can involve using the energy to heal the lungs, liver, heart, and brain. 

Getting Over the Hurdle

Getting over the initial trials that come with detox and withdrawal, someone can then begin to see the healing in progress. Persistent headaches will begin to waver, and open sores may begin to successfully scab over and begin their long healing process. With the proper medication and hygiene, acne can begin to clear up, and dry and cracked skin can begin to successfully repair itself. Seeing these benefits in motion can be the first sign to someone that recovery is possible for them, and that there is a reason that they have gone through the difficult detox phase, keeping them motivated to see addiction recovery through. Insomnia can begin to subside with proper coping mechanisms and behavioral therapy, and the extra rest given to the body can help mitigate feelings of anxiety and depression, especially as someone continues to eat full, healthy meals. Seeing this success in action is incredibly impactful for each person and something that they should be proud of. No part of the physical recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction is easy, and seeing these changes is a big step in someone’s recovery as a whole. 

The Importance of Going to Recovery Early

getting help with group therapy

What drugs do to your body can be extreme, especially when used over a long period of time. While many of these symptoms can be reversed with proper care and effective recovery program, some aspects of how drugs affect your health are not so easy to reverse. After prolonged use, the nutrient deficiencies, especially the lack of calcium over a long period of time, can lead to lifelong issues with osteoporosis. “Meth mouth,” or the decay of one’s teeth and gums that often results in tooth deterioration, tooth fracture, and tooth loss, can also be irreversible and will require extensive dental surgery in order to begin to rectify. While it is possible to reverse many symptoms of one’s drug and alcohol use, continued use over an extensive period of time can have permanent effects on one’s mind and body. Even after recovery, some may still find themselves experiencing liver problems or involuntary twitching. 

The physical and mental changes that occur during recovery are the result of the body going through a massive transitionary phase. The body is doing its best to reestablish a new homeostasis and has to adapt to a new life that is devoid of the addictive substances that it had come to expect. While this is unequivocally a good thing, it is a process that takes time and effort to see through. The body will be establishing what its new “normal” will be, and will slowly begin to realize and address all of the different damages that it had endured while under the constant influence of drugs or alcohol. However, this healing process is possible and can be aided along with the right behavioral therapy and medical attention that it needs in order to begin to adapt to its new, sober lifestyle. 


The effects that drugs and alcohol have on the body can be severe and can worsen the longer and more intensely that someone engages with an addictive substance. Addressing the physical and mental effects of drugs or alcohol is important, and it is important to address developing addictions early in order to help mitigate some of these physical and mental effects. If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction of your own to drugs or alcohol, Chateau Recovery is available to help you and your unique situation today. With a wide array of programs, each available to be personalized to your specific needs and goals, there is always a way for you to begin your recovery journey today. While there are many detrimental effects associated with the prolonged use of drugs or alcohol, many of these effects can begin to be rectified when someone commits to their own recovery program. For more information on the various ways in which Chateau Recovery can help you, or to speak to a trained staff member about your specific situation, call Chateau Recovery today at (435) 222-5225.

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