Nutrition During Addiction Recovery

You cannot overstate the importance of nutrition and a balanced diet when it comes to good mental and physical health, particularly during addiction recovery.

More and more people these days seem to be watching what they eat and monitoring how much they drink. This is especially true for those undergoing addiction recovery, where knowledge of nutrition and healthy eating can help you overcome an alcohol or drug dependency.

The science of nutrition relates to how nutrients in food affect various aspects of everyday life — ranging from health, growth and reproduction to coping with illness, amongst others.

The fact is, if you deny yourself substantial nutrients while consuming drugs or alcohol, it can put a major strain on your body. You are possibly affecting its ability to function and bringing on a variety of conditions, from vitamin deficiencies and electrolyte imbalances to malnutrition.

What and how to eat during addiction recovery

If you wish healthy nutrition, you must eat the right foods. The fuel powering the body and brain; food is broken down and turned into glucose, and converted into energy when entering the bloodstream.

The human body needs different types of foods to survive, from healthy fats and protein to carbohydrates for energy.  You cannot overstate the importance of nutrition and a balanced diet when it comes to good mental and physical health, particularly during addiction recovery. Unfortunately, if you are living with a dependency on drugs or alcohol, nutrition and eating properly are amongst the first to suffer. You can find yourself losing control of what you eat and drink at the cost of a healthy lifestyle. If you neglect to take the proper nutrients, it could have a potentially devastating effect on how your body functions.

Why is nutrition important?

If you are going through alcohol addiction, you may suffer nutritional deficiencies, often linked to the substance you are addicted to.

If you have problems with alcoholism, you may have put on a lot of weight when you started, as around half of your daily calories came from alcohol. However, as your addiction progresses, you may find yourself losing weight as you stop eating real food. Moreover, if you have chronic issues with alcohol, you may forego eating altogether and only consume alcohol. You may experience a loss of appetite, and even forget to eat altogether, depriving yourself of vital vitamins and nutrients you need for healthy living.

It will come as no surprise that long term drug or alcohol abuse, alongside a poor diet, can have a lasting effect on your health and body.

Poor eating habits and addiction often go together. If you are continually abusing drugs or alcohol and not eating properly, it can disrupt important functions of the body and brain and bring on signs of malnutrition.

How Addiction Affects Diet And Nutrition

They can present themselves in numerous forms. You may exhibit physical symptoms such as a drop in body temperature, degenerating muscles or a fluctuating heart rate. It can lead to vitamin deficiencies, electrolyte imbalances and a weakened immune system. There can also be physiological side effects including anxiety, depression or memory problems.

There are many general after-effects of addiction and unhealthy eating habits. However, some symptoms are associated with a substance, depending on what you are addicted to.

If you have a problem with alcohol addiction, and not sticking to a balanced diet, it can cause serious health issues. Abusing alcohol over time can lead to digestive enzyme deficiency and damaged stomach lining, having an adverse effect on the body’s capacity to break down and absorb nutrients from food.

How addiction and a poor diet affects the body and the brain

Drinking too much could affect the pancreas. The organ cannot properly digest liquids, carbohydrates, proteins, and the hormones you require to balance blood sugar levels, which may lead to pancreatitis.

Many do not realise overindulging on alcohol, combined with an unhealthy diet, can cause what is known as alcohol-induced dementia.  A condition of the brain from not receiving the required daily levels of the vitamin thiamine.

Those living with alcoholism may often suffer from a thiamine deficiency.  If you consume a great deal of alcohol, it can be hard for your body to absorb the vitamin, possibly bringing on Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. You could display emotional and psychological side effects, from mental illness and psychosis to long term amnesia. These are a few of the consequences you face if you drink to excess while not eating healthily.

Opioid/opiate abuse

It is not just people who abuse alcohol who suffer from having poor nutrition and not sticking to a healthy diet. If you have an addiction to opiates and experiencing a lack of nutrients, you may show signs of gastrointestinal distress. An ailment which can make you feel discomfort when you eat. Sedatives can also rob you of your appetite, where you do not even desire food and can find it nauseating. Many are unaware one of the most widespread symptoms of nutrient deficiency and continual substance abuse is CC or chronic constipation. A far-reaching consequence of abusing opioids, leaving the stomach in a partial state of paralysis.

It is not unheard of for people addicted to stimulants to suffer physical after effects, from hair loss and tooth decay to open sores. There have been instances of menstrual difficulties in females. In extreme cases, extended periods of malnutrition may even cause death.

It is plain to see how the lack of a balanced diet can be harmful to your health, especially in terms of your addiction. On the other hand, having good nutrition and eating properly can play a pivotal role in your addiction recovery. By choosing a balanced diet, having given up alcohol or drugs, you will soon see the benefits and improvement in your health.

You may notice you have more energy and be in a better mood. It will strengthen your immune system and improve your memory, as well as decreasing your chances of contracting illnesses and diseases.

Treatment Options

A good diet and nutrition in addiction recovery can help you find balance in mind and body, as you set off on the path to sobriety. If you have stopped using drugs or alcohol, taking healthy vitamins and minerals during addiction recovery can help you replace what you lost. This can make the body better deal with detox as you cleanse harmful toxins from your system. Your first step on the road to rehab.

When you stop imbibing alcohol or drugs, it will change your life for the better. However, for continued good health, consider a balanced diet. You should eat more fruit and vegetables and reduce how much meat you consume. As well as cutting down on sugary foods and drinks, processed foods and fast foods. So, eat well, and find the strength and energy, both mentally and physically, to be free of dependency and move on.

This only goes to show how good nutrition and eating properly can aid in your addiction recovery and help rebuild your life.

Say goodbye to drug and alcohol addiction and hello to healthy living.