When recovering from drugs or alcohol, there are many aspects of an individual’s life that are treated. This includes mental health conditions, behaviors, relationships, and even nutrition. Nutrition plays a key role in drug and alcohol recovery and will help in a successful, long-term recovery. Keep reading to learn more about the role of nutrition in drug and alcohol recovery.
Drug and Alcohol Addiction and Poor Nutrition
When an individual is in the throes of addiction, many things in their lives get overlooked that were once important—their family, career, relationships, hygiene, and, most of all, their health. Addiction can cause very poor eating habits due to a variety of reasons. These include:
- The appetite can become suppressed due to drugs or alcohol, causing people to not eat for sometimes days at a time.
- Alternatively, binge-eating can occur (primarily due to alcohol) and can cause people to eat very unhealthy foods in large amounts
- Most of an individual’s time and money is spent on drugs, and food is often overlooked. If an individual does decide to eat, it is usually whatever is convenient and unhealthy.
Poor eating habits and heavy drug and alcohol use can cause a lot of damage to the body. Some of these damages include:
- Worsened mental health conditions
- Poor immune system
- Unhealthy hair, skin, and nails
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Low electrolytes
- Muscle cramps and spasms
- Poor body temperature
- Cardiovascular issues
- Poor sleep
- Dental problems
How Nutrition Assists in Drug and Alcohol Recovery
Addiction causes many health problems and damages to the body. Food is the body’s fuel, so physical and mental recovery from addiction all begins with food. A proper diet will help in the following areas:
- Better mood
- More energy
- Stronger immune system
- Better memory
Nutrition plays a vital role in three areas of recovery:
- During detox
- During treatment
Detox is the first step in drug and alcohol recovery. The body goes through an adjustment period, learning how to physically function without drugs or alcohol. This can present a wide variety of withdrawal symptoms at different stages of detox, including:
- Muscle cramps
- Much more
To comfortably and safely experience detox, medication-assisted detox is recommended. Experiencing detox and its variety of withdrawal symptoms is very draining on the body, so it is essential to fuel it properly. In addition, a healthy and nutritious diet is given so that the body has the proper fuel to recover from detox.
After medication-assisted detox, the next phase of recovery is treatment. During this phase, various therapies are offered to help the individual learn how to live their lives without drugs or alcohol. Think of detox as the physical treatment and therapy as the behavioral treatment.
Some of the therapies included during a drug and alcohol recovery treatment stay include individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, and holistic therapy. Experiencing therapy can be emotional, stressful at times, yet extremely rewarding. As such, this can cause poor eating habits. Maintaining good nutrition during the treatment process will give individuals the energy they need to experience it, the brain function to absorb the information, and eliminate an added factor of anxiety or depression.
At The Pointe Malibu, we invite you to have a different, more collaborative relationship with the food you eat; from cooking classes with our skilled chefs, to addressing individual dietary needs, to nutrition consultations with a Registered Dietitian. Not only is it a great way for you to eat, but it is also great for your body, too. It has been clinically proven to restore balance in the body, decrease post-acute withdrawals and alleviate cravings.
Healthy choices beget healthy choices, and that all begins with nutrition. Starting the day with a healthy breakfast will influence other healthy choices throughout the day, including exercise and staying sober. It is common for many people in recovery to turn to food as a replacement coping mechanism. However, this can quickly lead to relapse. Poor nutrition and diet will cause depression and anxiety, putting you on the fast track to relapse.
In addition, maintaining a healthy diet throughout your life will keep your body working at its optimal capacity. This allows for better brain function to think things through and feel happy and energized throughout the day to take on whatever stresses life throws your way.
About The Pointe Malibu Recovery Center
Our team of professional chefs serves gourmet and globally-inspired meals daily. That is our passion at The Pointe Malibu Recovery Center: To address your wellness and recovery journey through every aspect of your treatment experience, including the food we offer to our residents. Our Dietary Wellness Program is focused on brain health and is designed to help heal and rejuvenate both the body and the brain during the detoxification and early recovery phase.
Meals at The Pointe Malibu are served gourmet style in a community table setting. Our courteous, experienced wait staff works to make every dining occasion a genuinely celebratory event that all of our clients pleasantly anticipate. We strive to give each meal an excellent balance of delicious nutrients that will keep you fortified and satisfied. Should you have any special dietary, cultural, or religious requirements per certain foods or ingredients, we will be happy to find an appropriate alternative for you.
Various healthy snacks, juices, and other beverages are available to you throughout the day to appease your mood and appetite. Good, nutritious food is one of the critical elements that we believe enhances your healing journey for the mind, body, and spirit.
If you’re ready to start your journey to long-lasting recovery, we are here for you.