In recovery, you will face many challenges. Taking care of your health is often an overlooked aspect of healing. We all know that taking care of yourself, your feelings, wants and needs are essential if you’re in recovery from addiction. But what have you done to take care of your physical health?
What is Physical Health?
Taking care of physical health means a lot of things. Eating nutritional food, getting regular exercise, and taking any medications you need on a daily basis are all parts of caring for your physical health.
Physical health problems are common for people who used alcohol and drugs to excess regularly. Many people feel shame or think it isn’t relevant to mention their addiction to a doctor. However, regular checkups are essential, and many people in recovery discover they have health conditions that were either caused or covered up by long-term drug or alcohol use.
Finding and seeing a doctor regularly helps you stay healthy. Be honest with him or her about your past so they can screen you properly for diseases and conditions that you’re more likely to have due to your behavior during addiction.
A doctor is required to keep your personal health information (PHI) confidential. Your insurance company will have access to this information, but you don’t have to share it with other entities or people unless you choose to. If you wish, you can fill out a form allowing other people, a therapist, or another doctor to have access to this information.
What Will a Doctor Visit Entail?
When you’re in recovery from addiction, you may notice new aches and pains or other health problems that you weren’t aware of in the past. Make sure to write down your symptoms before you see a doctor. A primary care doctor will want to screen you for liver, heart and kidney problems. Much of this screening will be done during a Complete Blood Panel that checks the functions of these important organs. You’ll also be tested for blood sugar which can indicate diabetes or pre-diabetes. A doctor will also check your vital signs, usually by taking blood pressure and listening to your heart and lungs for any abnormalities.
If you have been sexually active and haven’t been screened for STI’s, the doctor will want to do this as well. These test results are also confidential and tend to be covered entirely by insurance. As a woman, a pap smear will also be to test for cancer cells and abnormalities.
Finally, depending on your age and lifestyle, a doctor may recommend certain vaccines, including the vaccines for HPV, hepatitis A and hepatitis B, which are prevalent among people who have struggled with drugs or alcohol. You’ll also be given a chance to get booster shots for any vaccines that you have a low level of in your blood. These vaccines might include tetanus, mumps, measles and rubella, and chickenpox.
If you have been diagnosed with any chronic diseases or conditions, it’s important to learn how to take care of yourself and follow your doctor’s instructions. Eating healthier and getting regular exercise can help prevent disease progression. Focus on getting healthy and strong by taking care of these basic needs everyday.
If you or somebody you love is struggling with addiction, it’s time to get help. Recovery is possible and we want to help you reclaim your life and live the best life possible Get in touch to learn more about your options and how we can help. You can reach us at 1-800-970-8774.