Many things come to mind when you think about how to approach recovery from addiction to drugs or alcohol. Recovery from a substance abuse disorder requires juggling a lot of balls. People often attend residential treatment programs, individual and couples counseling, and support groups. Within these programs, they begin learning the importance of nutrition in recovery.
What many people tend to overlook has to do with their eating habits. Good nutrition helps round out a comprehensive recovery plan. Because the importance of nutrition in recovery is often overlooked, many people lose out on a way to improve both their physical and mental well-being.
How Abuse of Alcohol and Drugs Impacts Nutritional Choices
Time accrued while living with an addiction to alcohol and drugs takes its toll on the human body. When a person’s focus remains on obtaining and using these substances, healthy choices related to nutrition often go out the window. People sometimes go through forced periods of withdrawal when they cannot obtain their substance of choice. These blocks of time also typically prevent a person from taking care of their nutritional needs.
Alcohol can trick the body into feeling it is full. This may cause a person to forgo eating meals. Side effects of many illegal and prescription drugs often include appetite suppression. A mind clouded by substance abuse may simply forget about eating.
On the opposite end, some substances contribute to increased appetite. This can cause people to binge eat or overeat regularly. Weight gain and the accompanying health problems can then lend themselves to poor nutritional health.
Continued substance abuse can cover up the natural feeling of hunger. When this occurs, a person may go for several hours or even days without eating. Sometimes the feeling of hunger feels altered, causing the person to mistake it for a drug or alcohol craving. They then seek out their substance of choice, which further nullifies their ability to eat well.
The Nutrition-Related Damage Addiction Causes
The importance of nutrition in recovery becomes more apparent as physical damage to the body begins to surface. When good nutrition goes neglected over a period of time, several health problems can occur. These can include:
- Malnourishment: Without the appropriate caloric intake, the body suffers. It also requires a certain amount of vitamins and nutrients to stay healthy. This can lead to a malfunctioning immune system, which causes a person to become more susceptible to infections.
- Hypoglycemia: A lack of quality nutrition and substance abuse itself can cause the body to develop low blood sugar. This puts the person at risk of dizziness, weakness, fatigue, seizures, and loss of consciousness.
- Diabetes: Consistently eating foods high in sugar and carbohydrates can contribute to a person developing diabetes. Addiction can mean a person doesn’t feel capable of healthy cooking. They often resort to trips to a drive-thru and junk food as regular parts of their dietary consumption.
- Organ Damage: Alcohol abuse can result in damage to the liver, the organ responsible for removing toxins from harmful substances. It can also damage the liver, which regulates the body’s blood sugar and fat absorption.
- Gastrointestinal Disorders: Medical conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and digestive tract inflammation can occur. A person is also at risk of dealing with diarrhea, constipation, and even colon cancer.
Improving Nutrition Often Starts in Treatment Programs
Detoxification and residential programs don’t just assist a person in giving up drugs and alcohol. They treat the entire person, including food intake. They often teach the importance of nutrition in recovery to their clients.
Some residential programs feature a chef who cooks nutritionally balanced meals for the residents. Others provide a well-stocked kitchen and allow the residents to prepare their meals. Nutritional supervision provided by the program helps foster healthy new eating habits. The act of carefully preparing delicious food often boosts a person’s confidence. When they begin to feel an improvement in their physical health, they tend to take that inspiration home with them.
Dietitians Can Provide Dietary Knowledge Promotes Nutrition In Recovery
Many people in recovery from substance use disorder benefit from seeing a registered dietitian. Dietitians offer direction for the optimum ways to eat for an individual’s body and nutritional goals. They understand the importance of nutrition in recovery and how to communicate it to their clients. The person can attend a handful of meetings to get an overview of their needs and take it from there. They can also set up regular appointments for long-term nutritional monitoring.
The Long-Term Effects of Good Nutrition
Once a person in recovery establishes good nutrition as a habit, great things can happen. They are more likely to enjoy the benefits of:
- Improved moods
- Regulated blood sugar levels
- An increased amount of energy
- A stronger immune system
- The ability to exercise regularly
- Decreases in depression and anxiety levels
- An improved attention span
- Maintenance of a healthy weight
Addiction Treatment in Texas
Purpose Driven Recovery offers help achieving recovery from substance abuse disorder. They offer gender-specific sober living facilities in the Houston area. They offer traditional therapy, sober coaching, and personalized dietary meal preparation assistance. Contact Purpose Driven Recovery by calling them at (713) 266-1507 or click here to contact them. They can help you or someone you love succeed at sober living.