The Importance of Nutrition in Recovery
As the topic of addiction is no longer as taboo as it once was, studies into what types of treatments and changes an addict needs to succeed in recovery are becoming more common. As more information is unveiled, it is becoming obvious that nutrition can play a key part in the success of recovery. This is in part due to the majority of addicts not being concerned about self-care while actively using. Also to help the body repair and rebuild itself. Having a dietician on staff for inpatient rehabs are becoming much more common to help in this area.
What’s Lost while Using
Active addiction effects every part of life. Over time the addict’s mental and physical health deteriorates. Though they may not appear so, by the time most people seek help they are malnourished. This is because drugs and alcohol not only change the appetite, but how the body absorbs food and nutrients. In addition, many will just not be concerned about food or nutrition as they chase the next high instead.
Depending on the type of substance being abused, the addict is more likely to lack particular nutrients. Where opiate users typically have low levels of B6, iron, Vitamin D, and calcium, cocaine abusers tend to be low in omega-3 fatty acids. Alcoholics are usually the most malnourished as magnesium loss due to drinking makes nutrient absorption hard. This form of malnutrition can appear as feebleness, insomnia, and anxiety, while calcium loss can lead to osteoporosis and C and K deficiencies can lead to immune system weakness. On top of all this, an addict’s body can only produce a small amount of dopamine naturally for a time after the drugs are stopped. This can lead to depression and further poor self care. This is also why good nutrition is so important.
What the Body Needs
While not all issues caused by drug use can be reversed, proper nutrition in recovery can go a long way into helping the body repair and cleanse itself. Though a customized diet can help with specific deficiencies, there are general guidelines for those who are battling addiction and trying to get clean.
More protein – Protein allows for damaged neurotransmitters to rebuild.
Less sugar/Fewer processed foods – Sweet treats and foods can lead to unsteady blood glucose. Stabilizing these levels will help with things such as depression, anxiety, and mood swings. Less processed food will also allow the liver to repair.
Healthy fats/More fiber – Fats are necessary to health. However, these should be good fats for overall health. Adding more fiber through fruits and vegetables will also help the body start to work properly and add much needed vitamins and nutrients.
Less caffeine – Sometimes the hardest for those in recovery, caffeine can throw off the body’s balance and cause anxiety and insomnia so it should be limited or avoided in early recovery.
If you or a loved one are ready for recovery than give DARA call. The inpatient facilities offer the help and support needed. Not just nutritionally, but for total well-being. True recovery is not just about being clean and sober. It is about restoration of mind, body, and soul.
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