Everything that you put into your body has an effect on your physical and your mental well-being. Taking drugs and consuming excessive amounts of alcohol not only cause damage to your body, but they also often prevent your body from absorbing the vitamins and minerals your body so desperately needs from the food that you eat.
A very common consequence of addiction is that addicts and alcoholics eat very little while using. It is also very common for addicts to vomit during binges so the little food that they have managed to consume is lost.
Depending on the drug the addict may also binge on food, such as marijuana addicts.
Whatever the addicts habits their relationship with food is bound to be unhealthy, causing even more havoc to their body in addition to the physical damages from the alcohol and drugs.
Getting clean from drugs and alcohol is not an easy process and the role that good nutrition plays is often overlooked. When looking for treatment for addiction it is a good idea to ask what emphasis they put on nutrition before choosing a treatment center.
Here are some vital ways that nutrition impacts your recovery from addiction:
1 Detoxing from alcohol and drugs
Coming off your drug of choice and going through a withdrawal period is inevitable if you want to get clean. You will need to detox from drugs.
Depending on the drug you are coming off this process can be relatively simple with a small amount of discomfort, or it can be a traumatic and painful process if you are coming off a drug like heroin which has serious withdrawal symptoms and very often has to be medically supervised.
The foods that you eat during this time won’t magically cure you from withdrawal symptoms but you can lessen symptoms significantly by ensuring that you are eating properly.
One of the most important things to do during this time is to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Stay away from high caffeine drinks such as coffee and avoid drinking sugary carbonated drinks. If you struggle to drink a lot of plain waster a great option is to drink sugarless iced tea which you can make yourself using an iced tea maker. It is a much healthier option than Coke or Coffee which is what so many addicts drink in recovery!
2 Repairing Body Damage
Drugs and alcohol cause significant damage to your body. While there are some things that won’t be able to be undone such as cocaine damage to your nose, a lot of your body’s internal organs will start healing to some degree once you stop using.
Getting in vitamins and minerals to your body will now be vital to helping your body to recover from drug abuse.
Eating plenty of fruit, vegetables and natural foods will give your body the boost it needs. Focus on getting in foods high in protein, fiber and natural fats.
Stay away from processed foods and foods high in sugar.
3 Healthy Living Habits
While in active addiction addicts often don’t look after themselves in any way. They are often dirty and malnourished. Part of being in recovery is changing your lifestyle and habits. You need to learn to look after yourself properly.
Eating regular, healthy meals is a huge part of this process along with good personal hygiene habits, good sleep habits and exercise.
Recovery from addiction is about change, it is about moving from an unhealthy mindset and lifestyle to the a healthy mind and life.
4 Mental Well-being
While many may think that addiction is just a physical problem this is incorrect. While there definitely is a physical craving for drugs this is not the deeper problem. The mental state of an addict is what needs the most work.
Getting over the physical cravings very often is they easy part, getting over the physical withdrawal and cravings happens in a short space of time.
Staying clean and being mentally well is much harder and has to be maintained. Good nutrition plays another essential role here. By eating properly you can control your blood sugar levels which will help to keep your moods stable.
Eating correctly can help to combat depression and anxiety which can greatly impact your chances of being successful in your recovery from addiction.
Many addicts have a dual diagnosis, meaning that they often get diagnosed with a mood disorder along with addiction. This makes paying attention to your mental health so important since your mood disorder can affect your recovery from addiction and in turn your addiction can affect your mood disorder.
It is important to stay focused on both of these issues and treat them both simultaneously. Good nutrition and healthy eating habits aids you in your recovery from addiction and is highly beneficial to your mental health.
5 The Dangers of Cross Addiction
The importance of healthy eating is not just to help the addict to get physically and mentally well. It is also essentially important to educate the addict against the dangers of cross addiction.
When an addict is withdrawing from a substance, even from cigarettes, it is common to crave unhealthy foods such as foods with high sugar or caffeine. While this may help the addict in the short term to pull through withdrawals there is the possibility that the addict can then form a cross addiction into food.
People can become addicted to anything, from the more obvious things like drugs and addiction, to things like gambling, sex, food, online dating, online games, work and exercise.
With food often being the only thing left that an addict has access to when in treatment for recovery from addiction this needs to be looked at.
Teaching an addict to have a healthy relationship with food is therefore essential on so many levels and can have a direct impact on the addict’s recovery from addiction, both short term and long term.
About The Author
My name is Eva Swain, I am the founder of Women’s Guide. I have a passion for keeping up with the latest information and providing the audience with the facts they need to make better choices in their lives. I started Women’s Guide for women who want to advance both for themselves and the greater good. Follow Eva @EvaCSwain