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Nutrition and Addiction Recovery

The effects of addiction on a person’s body can be very extreme.  This can be even further compounded when a person is working to overcome their addiction.  Not only has the body already been ravaged by using drugs, but then there is the factor that many people also indulge in extremely bad eating habits during recovery as a way to cope.

A person in recovery can sometimes begin eating very large amounts of unhealthy foods like sugars, fats, or other junk food.  Some use eating these types of things as a distraction from cravings, or essentially as a way to supplant something for their previous substance.  Sugar is one of the most common foods that people will reach to when in recovery, and it frequently can become a replacement addiction without the person realizing it. In reality, sugar has no nutritional benefit to our bodies, and it can be quite addictive.  While it may help for a temporary distraction from the craving, evidence has shown that this may be working against the person.

Ingestion of substances can affect the body nutritionally in different ways depending on the type of substance.  For instance, stimulants can act as an appetite suppressant, which causes a person to eat irregularly, and brings about a lack of needed nutrients in the body.  Alcohol can disrupt or prevent processes in the body such as nutrient breakdown.  Opiates can cause gastrointestinal problems, and withdrawal from these can bring about vomiting or diarrhea, which further drain nutrients from the body.  Marijuana can bring upon the classic condition of “the munchies,” where a person is consuming large amounts and usually unhealthy types of foods. Point being, proper nutrient intake and processing are generally disrupted in some way by substances.

The initial impact from the regular use of substances is also compounded by the fact that addicts generally do not eat properly when under the influence.  Whether it be the fact that they are eating nutrient lacking foods, or eating infrequently, this furthers the issue because the body cannot keep up with processing or functioning properly.  The body can react to this through the development of certain ailments from not being able to repair itself or function properly.

How Nutrition Assists in Recovery From Addiction

The benefits of restoring proper nutrition in recovery can be numerous.  For one, a person who has been an addict can be suffering from many different ailments, of which some can be improved by getting the body the proper nutrients to start to build and repair organ tissue.  Sometimes addicts will suffer from a lack of energy or heavy fatigue, which can sometimes be related to the lack of proper food.  Nutritious foods give the body the right ingredients to get energy.

Nutrition can also play a role in the person’s overall mood and emotional state.  We have all had that experience of being moody when we have not eaten, but as soon as we eat, it seems to subside.  While this is a minor example, the fact is that research has seemed to suggest that diet can affect the brain physiologically and chemically, in both a negative and positive way.  For instance, too much sugar increases dopamine, which leaves a person craving more.  But, there are also foods that can help to produce important neurotransmitters within the brain that can improve a person’s mood, such as serotonin.

Rehabilitation Centers That Employ Nutrition

Certain rehab centers recognize how important proper nutrition is in general, and especially for those in recovery.  Because of this, they will implement nutrition into the overall rehab program.  This could include a proper course of nutritious meals throughout the day, as well as possibly education about correct nutritional regimens.  The reality is that nutrition is, unfortunately, lacking in most of the treatment facilities out there, and so this is a component that should be looked for when searching for a treatment center.

Are You or Your Loved One Seeking Help With an Addiction?

Seeking help with an addiction is something that an individual should never be ashamed of.  Admitting that you have an addiction, and seeking help for it are both extremely commendable actions.  Reaching this point, it now becomes very important to find the treatment center that will best fit you or your loved one.  There are a multitude of different types of treatment and treatment centers, and finding one that will align with the needs and wants of the struggling individual is important.  Our advisors are knowledgeable and familiar with treatment centers across the country and can help to find the perfect fit for whoever is struggling.  Do not wait give us a call today.

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