Nutrition and Addiction Recovery – Healing the Whole Person

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Nutrition is a vital part of holistic addiction treatment. Addiction recovery is a whole person endeavor, incorporating many aspects of a healthy lifestyle into a comprehensive treatment plan. One of the most basic of all health practices is good nutrition. And, this is particularly important after active addiction in which appetite has been disordered and the body has been poorly nourished for long periods of time. Many enter rehab severely malnourished.

Problems Can Be Diverse

People with Substance Use Disorders have typically not been eating well, but also their bodies are not able to adequately absorb and utilize the nutrients they do consume. Additionally, particular substances of addiction have their own specific impact upon the body’s state of nourishment and related health. We see trends of nutritional deficiencies among people who use certain substances. For example, people with Alcohol Use Disorders tend to have a wider scope of deficiencies than others. The metabolism of alcohol prevents absorption of many nutrients, passing through the system without benefit even if healthy foods are consumed. Different classifications of substances, such as stimulants and opiates, also have their own individualized impact.

Addiction’s Pervasive Impact

We know all too well that addiction can be a catastrophic illness. It can have profound negative effects across the board of one’s life. What is often of less concern, but no less important than any other is the physical health state caused by nutritional problems. It is unusual for someone to enter rehab without serious malnourishment issues. And, the first step of treatment is a physically stressful one: withdrawal and detox. Because the body is already weakened by nutritional deficits, it is important to have medical supervision for the first part of treatment to avoid further complication.

Addiction and Nutrition Interventions

When first abstinent, there are appetite increases. People can quickly put on weight in rehab, for example, some very problematically so. An increased appetite is a good sign that health is returning, however, and the system is being restored. Problematic eating and poor eating habits in early recovery are often psychologically based. Newly abstinent people can begin to self-medicate with food–in large quantities and compulsively, or in food selections. For example, many find themselves craving food that is poor in nutritional value such as sugars and refined carbohydrates or consuming excessive caffeine, salt and/or fat. Consuming such foods can become another compulsive and addictive dynamic. Such choices can sedate or energize, creating mood alterations and self-medicating emotional issues such as depression or anxiety. Often, too, early abstinence finds people with feelings of emptiness that they attempt to alleviate with consumption.

If you or your loved one needs addiction treatment and would prefer a holistic approach that provides comprehensive care, we can help you. Contact us today. Recovery can be a reality in your life.