diets for addiction therapy

The Importance of Food and Nutrition in Detox

Everyone knows that Drug and Alcohol abuse takes a significant toll on the human body.  It takes time to recover from a history of substance abuse and should be a gradual procedure, not cold turkey or an overnight rush.  In addition to avoiding substance abuse, nutrition is one of the most important aspects of recovery.  Alcohol addiction is especially tough to recuperate from as the detoxification phase is quite complex (where vigilant monitoring, medication, and support are available).  For the socialites, alcohol presents even greater challenges to avoid if one is particularly social.  Food and nutrition are vital in helping the body restore itself as well as restore and preserve health and wellness.

When you abuse alcohol and also drugs, you:

  • Eat less (except in the case of marijuana abuse).
  • Tend to go for quick foods that are much less nourishing and skip meals outright.
  • Use up energy at a faster rate, often leading to fatigue and exhaustion.
  • Take in fewer nutrients due to looseness of bowels and vomiting.
  • Cause intestinal damage and imbalances that inhibit your gut from absorbing nutrients effectively. 

What you eat does have an influence on brain function.  When your body isn’t getting the proper nutrition, it can’t create the proper chemicals for healthy brain function.  When your body isn’t creating these chemicals, or the chemicals are out of whack, you can feel short-tempered and also anxious. You can experience food cravings, stress and anxiety, and a lack of ability to rest or sleep. The resulting anxiety can also impact memory and/or make people paranoid, worn out, dissatisfied, and depressed.

How should you eat for healing? 

During healing, you need to maintain a diet plan that stabilizes the levels of serotonin (a hormonal agent that assists with relaxation) in the brain. You should focus on foods high in carbohydrates, especially the intricate carbohydrates found in starchy foods like beans (e.g., beans, peas, and lentils), root vegetables such as potatoes, beets, and carrots, as well as healthy pastas and whole-grain breads. Consuming these foods with your choice of a healthy, low-fat protein in your daily diet will certainly help improve your mood and wellness.  

Deficiencies in thiamine, folate or folic acid, (B-Complex vitamins), and B12 prevail with alcoholism.  The body also often lacks vitamin C, which is so important for immunity.  Chronic alcohol intake likewise enhances the loss of minerals like zinc, magnesium, and calcium from the body. Iron is an exemption to this as well as is seldom lacking due to the fact that alcohol damages the stomach lining, therefore raising iron absorption. These nutritional imbalances can lead to a whirlwind of conditions, most importantly depression and fatigue.

In the first year after becoming sober from your alcohol or drug addiction, your body has higher nutritional demands than it normally would.  There is a lot of internal recovery and repair to take place, and your body needs proper nourishment. Eat healthy food on a daily basis. If you eat healthily but don’t discontinue your alcohol or drug use, your body isn’t making full use of that nutrition, and a lot of it, especially the nutrients required for detox, go right down the toilet.  Loose stools are common in the alcoholic, as well as a general lack of overall proper nutrition.  

Poor nutrition in an addict manifests itself in a number of ways.  Fatigue is a common problem, as well as a weakened immune system.  These things contribute to your ability to get sick, and when you’re not eating right, you’re more prone to illness.  Dental problems are common, not only with the meth addict (teeth can be damaged by repeated bouts of acid reflux and vomiting) digestion problems (loose stools, gas, diarrhea, or possibly constipation), skin problems (dryness and/or sores), and a decrease in the ability to taste food.  For the heavy and long-term alcohol abuser, there is a strong risk of brain damage, nerve damage, liver problems, heart problems, pancreatic problems, and an increased risk for certain types of cancer.  These problems are significant and must be addressed and corrected — preferably by a group of addiction treatment healthcare professionals — in order for true healing to take place.

In the early stages of detoxification as well as healing, you need to take the diet easy, as your body may not be up to the task of properly digesting your meals.  It’s a great suggestion to start off with small, frequent meals.  Some people may gain weight as they replace meals they once routinely skipped.  If you need assistance with weight management, nutritional counselors are also a good resource for help.  If you still have difficulty eating properly and still managing your weight, or if your weight bothers you or seems unmanageable, it may be necessary to be evaluated by a specialist for body image and/or eating disorder issues.  

Food shouldn’t replace medicines as a coping system. Sugar, as well as high levels of caffeine, are common replacements that people fall into using because of the energy boost that many people feel.  These low-nutrient foods can prevent you from consuming adequate healthy food and they impact your state of mind and mood. Nonetheless, even these options are better than resorting back to drug or alcohol abuse again. 

To properly plan for drug and alcohol recovery, your diet must include: 

  1. Complex carbohydrates (roughly half of your daily calorie intake), which means a lot of fruits, grains, and veggies.
  2. Dairy products or various other foods rich in calcium (calcium-fortified drinks, tofu, kale), a glass or two every day.
  3. Modest healthy protein (15% to 20% of calories): two to four ounces twice a day of meat or fish (or another high-protein food such as tofu).
  4. Fat choices (A third of your overall daily calorie intake), ideally excellent oils such as canola, olive, flaxseed, as well as those located in fish.
  5. Support groups and other solutions should be included in your plan for dietary recovery.  

Interventions can be ineffective without proper structure and access to support networks.  An appropriate structure would include a network of access to healthy and safe foods, dietary consultation and monitoring, and implementing healthy lifestyle changes.  

Health care companies and also various community-based options often have treatment packages that include services in psychological wellness, nourishment, and provided food, along with various other social solutions. These are fantastic tools in the recovery procedure, and they can offer alternative care and also assistance if you are recouping from dependency.

Nourishment pointers for healing … and also for life

  1. If you must eat fast food, look for the healthy options.  Most fast food menus now have calorie counts posted at the drive through, in the store, and on their website.  If you can’t cook, try your best to buy healthy. 
  2. Eat a selection of foods from all the food teams (fruits/vegetables, grains, milk, and meat or choices).
  3. Consume food high in fiber, such as bran as well as oat grains and muffins, beans, fruits, and also veggies.
  4. Don’t skip meals, including breakfast.  Smaller meals throughout the day may be easier at first.  
  5. Slowly cut down to drinking fewer than two cups of caffeinated soda, tea, or coffee per day.
  6. Cut back on sugar and sweets, but don’t omit them altogether – glucose is the sugar that the brain burns. 
  7. Drink lots of water.
  8. Take multivitamins (talk to your health care provider concerning the options).
  9. Take up a hobby.  Get a life and start to enjoy it.  
  10. Learn new means of managing stress and anxiety.  

Most importantly, seek support. Connect to counselors and also family members. Talk to a dietitian for recommendations on nutrients, and read the best health blogs to learn exactly how to manage dietary problems including constipation and diarrhea, and for other healthful and cost-saving diet tips.