A healthy diet and proper nutrition are essential to a person’s well-being, and the same is true for individuals undergoing treatment at a rehab facility for drug or alcohol abuse. Alcoholics and drug users tend to have poor diets and often fail to make proper nutrition a priority and long-term substance abuse puts a great deal of stress on the body, interfering with its ability to break down and absorb essential nutrients properly. This can have a serious impact on both physical and mental health. If you are abusing drugs or alcohol and you believe your health may be at risk, contact the addiction recovery experts at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today at (269) 704-7247 to get the help you need.
How Drugs and Alcohol Affect Nutrition
It may seem evident that substance abuse can adversely affect users’ health and nutrition, but few people consider this factor when they start using. Not only can drug and alcohol abuse have adverse short-term effects on health, but it can also disrupt physiological functioning and impair the body’s ability to receive the nourishment it needs to work properly in the long-term, which can result in severe physical and neurological issues. The following are some of the ways alcohol and drug abuse may interfere with an addict’s diet and nutrition:
- Failing to eat or eating poorly – Alcohol and drug abusers may have a suppressed appetite or prioritize their substance abuse over eating properly
- Malnourishment – Failing to eat consistently over a period can result in malnourishment, as can the body’s inability to absorb nutrients properly
- Overeating – overeating can lead to obesity and other serious health conditions
- Organ damage – substance abuse can cause damage to the liver, pancreas, stomach lining, and intestines, all of which play a role in the proper absorption, digestion, and storage of nutrients
- Gastrointestinal disorders – alcohol abuse can cause chronic gastrointestinal tract inflammation, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, and other disorders
- Immune system damage – substance abuse can suppress the immune system and make the user more vulnerable to illness and infections
- Hypoglycemia – low blood sugar caused by a poor diet or lack of sustenance
Role of Nutrition and Addiction Treatment in Recovery
Substance abuse can have a long-term adverse effect on health and nutrition, causing nutritional deficiencies in users, as well as problems with digestion. Users often have depleted levels of vitamins, minerals, and essential fats and amino acids in their bodies, which can lead to serious physical and mental problems. Once an addict begins the recovery process, it’s essential that he or she understands the importance of proper nutrition in recovery, as a healthy diet plays a crucial role in addiction treatment and can aid in achieving and maintaining lasting sobriety. Some of the benefits of a healthy, balanced diet in addiction recovery include:
- Improved mood
- Increased energy
- Repair of damage to organs and tissues
- Improved immune system defenses
- Reduced risk of relapse due to depressed mood or fatigue
In addition to promoting positive emotional and mental attitudes, which can help a recovering addict stay on the path to long-term sobriety, eating a healthy diet during recovery allows the body to properly store and access the nutrients it needs to function correctly and restore the damage caused by substance abuse.
The Experts at BRS Rehab Can Help
For drug or alcohol abusers in recovery, it may be tempting to indulge in junk food as a replacement for your substance of choice, but it’s important to remember that eating a nutritious diet during the recovery process, one that fosters good physical and emotional health, can improve your chances of lasting sobriety. Call the substance abuse recovery professionals at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today to find out more about the role a healthy diet and proper nutrition plays in addiction treatment.