As we learn more about how addiction affects nutrition, we begin to understand how this disease affects every aspect of our health. Many drug and alcohol addicts don’t have healthy eating habits. Let alone realize the impact nutrition has on their mental, physical, and emotional health. The consequences of addiction on the body can range from minor deficiencies to long-term adverse effects.
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How Addiction Affects the Body’s Nutrition System
Every drug causes different forms of nutritional deficiencies within the body. For example, cocaine users will often have deficient levels of omega-3 fatty acids. For heroin addicts, calcium insufficiency is widespread, and low vitamin D amounts in the body often lead to more severe consequences.
The longer the duration of the drug abuse, the more physically apparent the damage will be. The consequences of addiction can come in the form of scarred skin, rotting teeth, and bloodshot eyes. The duration of drug use will often play a role in how long a diet modification will take to impact emotional and mental health.
Introducing Nutritional Programs in Early Recovery
The sooner a new dietary program is started, the faster the healing process can begin. Withdrawal effects will usually make the mere thought of solid food very difficult. Sometimes, we’ll incorporate supplements such as whey protein powder to assist in this process.
Whey protein shakes offer healing amino acids, which produce chemicals to aid the nervous system. Recovering addicts should drink enough water and restore drinks that contain nutrients and electrolytes that help ease the withdrawal journey.
Recovering addicts often follow a diet that helps detoxify major organs like their liver and kidneys. Broccoli, kale, onions, and cabbage are amazing detoxifying foods that can help eliminate toxins from the system.
Addiction’s Nutritional Consequences
Most addicts in early recovery often struggle with anxiety and depression that can lead to relapse. Unfortunately, one of the most significant consequences of addiction is that it wipes out someone’s healthy nutrients and vitamin levels. Most of the time, someone struggles with low serotonin, low iron, and low vitamin D levels. All of these are vital nutrients to stay healthy and remain calm in addiction recovery.
For those seeking inpatient treatment, it will become easier to follow the right dietary plan during recovery. Their diets will be adjusted to help their bodies return to healthy levels of the various nutrients we need to stay energized and vigorous.
When someone enters an outpatient treatment program, while they won’t have a meal plan set up for them in-house, they can still learn about nutrition. Most treatment programs will incorporate nutritional guidelines and healthy meal prep ideas to help those in recovery follow more healthy eating habits at home.
Most people don’t realize the connection between addiction and nutrition; however, the things we eat directly impact our mental health. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, contact us today for treatment.
At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we believe addiction treatment requires a comprehensive and holistic approach that cares for addiction from every possible angle. We incorporate nutritional guidance in our addiction programs to help those in recovery start developing healthy habits.