Smoking, drinking and taking drugs cause significant damage to the body. Although quitting an addiction and embarking on the road to recovery can be daunting, doing so ensures that optimal health can be restored.

Whether you have been struggling with an addiction for weeks, months or years, we have outlined how your body changes when you quit addiction here.


The Effects Addiction Has On Your Body

Before delving into how your body changes when you quit an addiction, it is important to consider the effects addiction has on your body.

Unbeknown to many, when drug, alcohol and nicotine addictions impair an individual’s life, they come hand-in-hand with many short and long-term effects.

These effects include, but are not limited to the following;

  • Heart disease
  • Risk of heart attacked
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Liver damage
  • Liver failure
  • Organ damage
  • Weight gain
  • Weight loss
  • Changes in complexion
  • Risk of cancer
  • Lung disease
  • Diabetes
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased energy levels

Although many of the effects of addiction on the body can be treated, left untreated, they can be fatal. Yet, they can be reversed when treatment is sought, enabling many to secure a happy and healthy future.


How Your Body Changes When You Quit Addiction

As you quit your addiction, you will gradually notice many changes in your body. These changes essentially indicate that your body is repairing itself from the damage inflicted upon consuming substances.

How your body changes when you quit addiction will depend on the severity of your addiction and your recovery journey. However, the following changes are all commonly experienced.


Your Heart Will Become Healthier

From elevating your heart rate to increasing your risk of heart disease, consuming drugs, smoking or drinking alcohol almost instantly affects how the heart functions.

Though the impact substances have on the heart is significant, as you quit your addiction and begin to recover from the impacts experienced, your heart will begin to repair.

Over time, as drugs, alcohol and nicotine are abstained from, the heart will become stronger, and in turn, healthier.


Liver Damage Reverses

Just as the heart is affected by addiction, the liver is too. In fact, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and frequently administering drugs prevents the liver from working properly, leading to liver failure.

Whilst the damage caused to the liver throughout an addiction is severe when harmful toxins are removed from the body, the liver can regenerate within as little as 30-days. If sobriety is maintained, liver damage essentially reverses.

As the liver becomes healthier, skin colour returns to normal, and complications such as jaundice can be overcome.


Your Immune System Will Become Stronger

Drinking too much alcohol or consuming drugs over a prolonged period weakens your immune system, leaving you at risk of suffering from short and long-term illnesses such as the common cold, flu, pneumonia, organ failure and even cancer.

Although some of the illnesses that occur as a result of addiction are long-lasting, quitting addiction helps the immune system repair. When repaired, the body can fight off infections quicker.


Energy Levels Will Increase

As touched on above, drinking alcohol, consuming drugs and smoking nicotine causes energy levels to decrease. Due to the effects that substances have on the body, reduced energy levels leave many individuals feeling extremely tired and lethargic.

However, as substances are eliminated from the body, energy levels gradually increase. In turn, rather than spending prolonged periods in bed or slouched on the sofa, you will feel much more lively, awake and alert.


You May Experience Weight Loss

Weight gain is a common side effect of drug, alcohol and nicotine addictions. In some instances, this is because substances can stimulate appetite. In other instances, weight gain is experienced as the digestive system slows down or stops.

As sobriety is achieved, weight loss is relatively normal as the body begins to function properly again. Weight loss is also often encountered as energy levels restore and enable those in recovery to participate in physical activity.


You May Gain Weight

Just as addictions cause many individuals to gain weight, addictions can also lead to weight loss. This is because addictions often come hand-in-hand with poor nutrition.

When treatment is sought for an addiction, meal plans are typically incorporated into recovery plans. Here, rehabs like our own provide those in recovery with three to four nutritious meals each day. For this very reason, weight gain is common in recovery.


Go Sober For October

If you frequently consume alcohol or nicotine and feel ready to take the first step in addressing and defeating your struggles, participating in Go Sober For October or Stoptober may be a suitable stepping stone for you.

Launched by Macmillan Cancer Support to encourage individuals to go sober for 31 days, Go Sober For October sees more than 30,000 people participate each year, with many remaining sober wells beyond October.

Likewise, Stoptober has helped more than 1.7 million people successfully quit smoking by providing an abundance of support. A mobile application that shares the benefits of quitting smoking every day has also been created, helping many stay on track as they quit their addiction.


Contact Us Today For Support and Guidance

Although participating in events such as Go Sober For October and Stoptober can be beneficial, quitting an addiction without professional support and treatment can be tricky. Quitting an addiction causes several withdrawal symptoms to arise, which ultimately put those in recovery at greater risk of relapsing.

Attending our rehab hospital in Largs, Scotland, guarantees that you will have access to a recovery plan that will help you remain sober following treatment. To ensure that you remain sober and quit your addiction for good, Nova Recovery provides the treatment and support you need via our rehab hospital.

If you are ready to put your addiction behind you once and for all, call us today on 01475 303 998.



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John Gillen - Author - Last updated: September 8, 2023

John has travelled extensively around the world, culminating in 19 years’ experience looking at different models. He is the European pioneer of NAD+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) treatment to Europe in 2010; and recently back from the USA bringing state of the art Virtual Reality Relapse Prevention and stress reduction therapy. His passion extends to other metabolic disturbances and neurodegenerative diseases. The journey continues. In recent times, John has travelled to Russia to study and research into a new therapy photobiomudulation or systemic laser therapy working with NAD+ scientists and the very best of the medical professionals in the UK and the USA, together with Nadcell, Bionad Hospitals own select Doctors, nurses, dieticians and therapists. Johns’ passion continues to endeavour to bring to the UK and Europe new developments with NAD+ Therapy in preventive and restorative medicine and Wellness. In 2017 John Gillen was made a visiting Professor at the John Naisbitt university in Belgrade Serbia.