Prolonged abuse of prescription drugs can take a toll on your finances and emotional well-being, as well as your physical health. Dr. Oz says an addict's liver, the body's detoxifying organ, is most at risk.
A healthy liver is spongy and supple, but if you take a lot of pills at once, Dr. Oz says the liver takes on a greenish hue and becomes softer than normal. "The liver's just desperately trying to keep up with clearing all these toxins from your body," he says.
After many years of drug or alcohol abuse, an addict may experience chronic liver disease or cirrhosis of the liver. "Over time, it will scar and become this cirrhotic shriveled liver," he says. "It goes from this nice, normal liver to this shriveled up carcass that has truly no life left in it."
The good news? Addicts like Cheryl can reverse the negative effects if they get clean. "The liver can regenerate itself. It can go back to where it was before you started," Dr. Oz says. "What is absolutely essential is that you stop torturing it and you start doing some of the smart things that we know will support the liver as it tries desperately to rebuild itself as you rebuild your life."