Why Is Nutrition Important During Recovery?
According to SAMSHA, nearly 42 % of people who have a mental health disorder are also obese. Poor nutrition can lead to a broad range of health complications which could encourage substance use or discouraged recovery. Thus, it is important for anyone in rehab to consider the importance of nutrition during recovery.
Nutrition and Health: The Negative Effects of an Addiction
An addiction can cause all sorts of health complications that can be both short and long term, if not permanent. Some of these include:
- Alcohol – Alcohol can damage all the organs in the body, but especially the liver which is responsible for cleansing the body of toxins, and the pancreas which controls fat and blood sugar levels. An addiction to alcohol can cause liver disease, cirrhosis, heart disease, seizures, weight gain, malnutrition, and diabetes.
- Opiates – Opiates and opioids can damage the digestive system and gastrointestinal organs. Constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and cognitive problems can result from an addiction.
- Marijuana – The most common nutritional related side effect of a marijuana addiction is an increase in appetite; thus, users may be more overweight.
- Stimulants – Cocaine, meth, and stimulant-based medication can decrease the appetite making users more prone to malnutrition and being underweight. They are also prone to electrolyte imbalances, insomnia, and exhaustion.
It should be noted that there are a number of other side effects to the above addictions, but for the purpose of this article, we have discussed only the nutritional-related effects.
The Effect of Nutrient Loss and Malnutrition because of An Addiction
Nutrition for addiction treatment is important because substances, including alcohol, prescription medications, meth, and other drugs can damage or shut down the digestive process. This alone could prevent the brain from being nourished; thereby, working properly. When a person practices healthy nutrition during recovery, they may experience less withdrawal symptoms and may increase their chances of recovery.
Physical Effects of Substance Abuse
People who suffer from addiction are typically deficient in essential minerals, vitamins, micro and macro nutrients; all of which are essential for proper functioning. The reason malnutrition is so common in people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol is because the body’s cells cannot produce proteins that are needed to absorb the nutrients.
In addition to malnutrition, drug and alcohol abuse over a long period of time can damage the intestinal lining. This can result in the inability to absorb vitamin B 12. When this happens, the red blood cell count can be diminished as can DNA and RNA. Vitamin B12 is also needed to maintain the body’s nerve cells.
When essential nutrients are not present in the body, the person may experience anxiety, low energy, mood swings, and depression. For this reason, nutrition during recovery is essential for the healing process. Without practising healthy eating, it is possible for cravings, negative thought patterns, and a relapse to occur.
The Benefits of The Right Nutrition During Recovery
When you’re recovering from an addiction, you will find that eating healthy offers many different benefits, such as:
- The right nutrition provides your body with vital energy
- You will feel better mentally, physically, and emotionally
- Your mood may feel uplifted and positive.
- Your immune system may be strengthened
- Your tissues and organs may be rebuilt
- You may regain the functioning of your body’s systems
- You can have a positive outlook on life; thus, reduce the chances of a relapse
There are many other benefits of eating right during addiction recovery. Rest assured, regardless of your dietary preferences or whether or not you know anything about nutrition, you can learn how to eat the right foods that support your recovery now and in the future.
Healthy Eating At Siam Rehab
At Siam Rehab, we encourage healthy nutrition for addiction treatment. Our patients will learn about proper nutrition during recovery, learn what foods to avoid, and how to practice healthy eating in daily life. This guidance combined with our many other services, like individual counselling, art therapy, and Muay Thai, can provide you with the necessary tools to remain sober.
If you are interested in knowing more about our comprehensive rehab programmes or have questions about nutrition during recovery, please give us a call at your earliest convenience.