Physical Health and Addiction

March 17, 2016 | Kristen Goettsch, Face It TOGETHER Featured

This week’s data drop: 40.7%. 

Of Face It TOGETHER Sioux Falls clients who responded, 40.7% report improvement in their physical wellbeing from when they first walked in the door to at least three months into their participation with our recovery coaches.  

The disease of addiction impacts multiple aspects of a person’s life, including their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. A disease is defined as a disorder of structure or function in the body that produces specific signs or symptoms, prevents the body or mind from working normally and is not simply a direct result of physical injury. More than 70 years of study, including highly advanced brain research, has determined that addiction is a disease.  

People suffering from the disease of addiction can have one or more accompanying medical issues. These can include lung or cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer and mental disorders. NIDA  

 The physical impact of the disease of addiction could manifest itself in the following ways:  

  • Heart rate irregularities 
  • Respiratory and breathing problems 
  • Abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea 
  • Kidney and liver damage 
  • Changes in appetite, body temperature and sleeping patterns 

Clients participating in addiction management services through our peer-to-peer recovery coaching are asked to periodically self-report on a variety of risk factors. The information that's collected from our clients can help us better understand the impact of the disease on their lives and how our peer support is helping improve their wellbeing.  

In 2015, 8% of clients reported at the start of peer coaching that their general physical health was poor, and 17.1% said it was excellent.

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Of clients who took a follow-up survey, over one-third (40.7%) reported a positive change in their physical health after participating for at least 3 months in peer coaching at Face It TOGETHER Sioux Falls, either through face-to-face meetings or via telephone.   

Healthy living is a broad term that means different things to different people. For some, a healthy lifestyle might focus on eating right, while for others it might be physical activity. Face It TOGETHER recognizes that everyone has a different path to wellness.  

We support our clients’ decisions to adopt the healthy living most appropriate for them based on recommendations from their healthcare provider, their current health status and what interests them most. An important aspect of recovery is that our clients consider healthy living a part of their path to overall wellbeing. We actively work with clients to connect them to community resources that can assist them with their specific healthy living goals, needs and interests. 

Face It TOGETHER will work more closely with clients in the future to better understand what aspects of their physical wellness are tied to their recovery capital. The Face It TOGETHER Recovery Capital Index® measures key health, social and living components that make up the disease of addiction from illness to wellness.  

These components are based not on substance use but on functional and other outcome indicators that provide much richer information about the status of someone’s health and wellbeing. The knowledge gained through our client-focused measurements allow us to make data-enabled decisions that can directly impact our vision of solving the disease of addiction.