06 Apr HEALTHY EATING DURING TREATMENT FOR ALCOHOL AND OTHER DRUGS
In the face of addiction, maintaining healthy eating habits may seem insignificant. The impact of alcohol and other drugs can have a significant effect on an individual’s appetite and ultimately affect their health and well being due lack of nutrients and increased stress on the body. When consuming alcohol and other drugs, appetite is often suppressed, and eating can become a low priority during times of use.
WHY IS HEALTHY EATING & NUTRITION SO IMPORTANT?
In order for the human brain and body to function normally and efficiently, it needs food. The body needs a variety of foods and nutrients to thrive. It is significantly important that people consume not only carbohydrates that are great for short-term energy increases, but also a large variety of proteins and healthy fats to preserve energy levels for later use.
Poor eating habits can have a detrimental effect on digestion, which may lead to a range of health issues including constipation, diarrhea, indigestion and poor appetite.
People who regularly eat foods that are high in calories, fats, free sugars or sodium, along with those who do not eat enough fruit, vegetables and whole grains are much more likely to develop chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
HOW ADDICTION AFFECTS DIET & NUTRITION
Like a majority of things during an active addiction cycle, correct diet and nutrition often becomes a low priority. When a person has an addiction, instead of spending their time, money and concentration on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, they often put their resources into their drug or alcohol habit.
Some typical behaviours associated with diet, based on individual’s suffering from addiction include:
- Failing to eat: People under the influence of some drugs or alcohol have a suppressed appetite and will often forget to eat.
- Eating poorly: People with substance abuse issues will often spend all their money on drugs or alcohol, leaving little to no money to spend on healthy food.
- Binge eating: When an individual is coming down from a high, some people suffering from these addictive habits will regain their appetite and continue to eat even when they are full.
WHY IS HEALTHY EATING VITAL TO SUCCESSFUL RECOVERY?
When people enter into treatment for addiction, often they do not even think about their diet. They think about withdrawal. They think about counseling sessions and the therapy they will be going through to overcome their issue with addiction.
Healthy nutrition is often overlooked during addiction treatment as the person tends to focus overcoming their dependence, primarily concentrating on reducing or abstaining. Without the correct food and nutrients, the body suffers. By implementing a healthy diet, people who are going through addiction treatment are in a much better place to recover successfully.
Good nutrition should be a promoted more in during the withdrawal process and throughout ongoing treatment as a poor diet can ultimately lead to an increase in cravings and the risk of relapse.
HEALTHY EATING HABITS
As addiction often contributes to poor nutrition and undernourishment, it is even more important to eat healthy and nutritional foods, as this important during detoxification and will aid the recovery process.
During the earlier stages of withdrawal, an individual with a healthy digestive system is much better placed to be successful as their brain is nourished.
An article by Drug Rehab suggests, “If patients brains aren’t working properly, coping skills are going to go in one ear and out the other. If they are eating properly, the psychiatrist can look at mood in a different way.”
When an individual eats healthy and nutritious foods throughout this process they will experience less withdrawal symptoms, ultimately, enhancing their chance of recovering long-term.
Nutritionists offer the following food suggestions for individuals experiencing withdrawal/trying to avoid relapse or sustain their health in the long term.
|Foods that may help reduce cravings||Foods that may help enhance mood||Food that may help avoid relapse|
|Protein (lean meat and fish||Seafood||Salmon|
|Peas and beans||Sardines||Mackerel|
|Turkey||Bananas||Pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds|
|Milk1||Spinach||Evening primrose oil*|
|Seeds||Blackcurrant seed oil*1|
|Milk and water1|
*Please consult your healthcare provider before taking dietary supplements. (ADF Article).
Along with a nutritional diet, sleeping well is also crucial to your overall health and is essential to successful recovery. Read more about sleeping well here.
All the very best, Tabitha
If you or a family member are experiencing issues with addiction of any kind, please reach out. We would love to chat to you. We are here to support not judge.
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You can find out more about healthy eating during treatment for alcohol and other drugs here:
Alcohol and Drug Foundation Article: https://adf.org.au/insights/healthy-eating-during-treatment/
The Foundation for Alcohol Research & Education Article: https://nceta.flinders.edu.au/application/files/7615/0646/7762/healthy_eating.pdf
American Addiction Centers Article: https://americanaddictioncenters.org/addiction-treatment-aftercare/diet
Medline Plus Article: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002149.htm
Vertava Health Article: https://vertavahealth.com/blog/nutrition-addiction-recovery/
Drug Rehab Article: https://www.drugrehab.com/guides/nutrition/
Department of Health Article: https://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/Articles/U_Z/Why-is-nutrition-important