The Value of Proper Nutrition for Recovering Addicts

Man drinking alcoholMany people believe that if you’re recovering from alcohol or drug addiction, you should be allowed to indulge in all the junk food and sweets you want. After all, you’ve already got bigger beasts to conquer, so why restrain yourself from all the harmless treats? Yet studies reveal that these eating habits may be impeding a healthier path to recovery.

Nutritional Dilemma

Experts at explain that patients encounter a nutritional double whammy during recovery. First, the ingestion of alcohol or drugs wreaks havoc on the body. Opiates, for example, can affect gastrointestinal functions negatively.

During the withdrawal phase, there can be episodes of severe diarrhea and vomiting that weaken the body. Stimulants repress appetite, resulting in inadequate absorption of nutrients and calories. Meanwhile, alcohol impairs bodily mechanisms that control digestion and blood glucose levels.

Besides the physiological effects of substance abuse, another reason for poor health is an unhealthy lifestyle. Some drugs cause you to eat too little, others too much. Alcoholics rely on half of their energy allowance from alcohol. Needless to say, a person consumed by addiction is more likely to have a weak physical and mental state and less likely to adopt a healthy diet on their own.

Nutritional Therapy

Mounting evidence points that proper nutrition is crucial for mental and physical recovery. While this may seem like common sense, there’s still not enough emphasis on nutrition in many recovery programs. Research shows that nutrition education can increase a participant’s success in recovering.

Nutrition is extremely important because it strengthens the immune system, helps repair and build organ tissue, and give the body energy. Recovering patients usually have damaged vital organs due to substance abuse. Eating properly again will provide them with the building blocks to restore their health.

Every addiction case is unique, and one body may react differently from another. That’s why dietary recommendations should be tailored to the patient’s needs by a health professional.