Nutrition is a Key Component of Addiction Recovery

Healthy eating habits are not just created overnight. It takes intentional acts to create space for putting good food in the body that helps you grow stronger. With obesity still a national health crisis and addictions, along with mental health disorders, creating challenges for people’s health, nutrition is more important than ever. People who enter addiction treatment and recovery need education about how to maintain a healthy diet for the long haul.

Addiction and Health

An addiction can lead to multiple health issues, both short- and long-term.  Some of the following substances impact nutrition and health in the following ways:

  • Alcohol: damages several organs in the body including liver, which flushes out toxins, the pancreas which controls blood sugar, and fat absorption. Addiction can cause diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver, heart disease, seizures, and malnutrition
  • Opiates: oxycontin, codeine, morphine, and heroin all damage organs of the gastrointestinal tract. This can lead to constipation during use and diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea during withdrawal
  • Marijuana: most common nutrition-related side effect is an increase in appetite, making people addicted more likely to suffer from obesity
  • Stimulants: common stimulants include meth and cocaine which decrease a person’s appetite. Stimulant addictions can cause a person to be underweight. Anyone who uses stimulants may stay awake for long periods of time, become dehydrated, and experience an imbalance of the electrolytes.

Role of nutrition in Recovery

As a person decides to get help for addiction, they must consider the stages of addiction recovery that involve detoxification. Anyone who is in rehab needs to get the toxins out of the body and will likely experience mild to severe withdrawal symptoms. Under medical supervision, this can be tolerable for most people and an important part of the process. Nutritional intake is key, helping the body get stronger and more capable of recovering from addiction. The following stages are also key to recovery:

  • Rehabilitation: engage in different kind of therapy, with the goal of helping the person learn how addiction develops and how to manage it
  • Importance of nutrition in the recovery process is key to offering types of nutritional counseling along with traditional psychological-focused therapy.
  • Nutritional counseling can help a person learn how to incorporate healthy eating and lifestyle changes into daily life. This will include learning how to eat meals every day, find healthy food and how proper nutrition strengthens the body.  

Regular life in recovery is one where the person learns to use the skills they gained in therapy to live drug-free and healthy. The person should practice good nutritional habits learned in therapy and work to keep the body healthy and free of disease if they want to stay on the path of recovery. It can be very healing to learn how nutrition can positively support the body and mind’s pathways in recovery.

The Palmetto Center is based on a Therapeutic Community model. We help people learn how to live free of addiction. Our community support provides structure while trained counselors offer life skills training and therapeutic techniques to help you move past addiction, including nutritional support and good eating habits. Our program provides special focus for professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 866-848-3001.