Health and Nutrition

Addiction recovery begins with clinical treatment. 

Many people start their sobriety journey in medical detox and later move into a partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient program. Most recovering addicts undergo several different forms of psychotherapy, group therapy and, in some cases, receive medication to treat underlying mental health disorders.

Drug and alcohol addiction is highly treatable in a clinical setting. However, lifestyle changes are just as significant when someone decides to get sober. During the early stages of recovery and throughout their life, health and nutrition are essential pillars of addiction rehabilitation for addicts after having years of sobriety under their belt.

How Does Addiction Impact Physical Health?

Prioritizing health and nutrition is vital for anyone who wants to live a long and fulfilling life.

But for recovering addicts, focusing on health and nutrition is an essential part of the recovery process. Using drugs and alcohol consistently can take a toll on the body, causing imbalances that can eventually lead to more severe health issues.

For example, people who abuse cocaine and methamphetamine are prone to skipping meals and eating less, which depletes the body of critical nutrients. People who frequently abuse alcohol experience issues with their gut, making it difficult for the body to absorb food nutrition properly. Some drugs can cause vomiting, which can lead to severe dehydration and affect the digestive system.

Vitamin deficiencies are also common among people who abuse drugs and alcohol. One study determined that heavy drinkers often lack vitamin B6, vitamin A, thiamine, and riboflavin. Many opiate users have calcium and magnesium deficiencies, which are the leading cause of muscular and nervous system pain during withdrawal.

gratitude in recovery
During recovery, focusing on health and nutrition is essential because it allows the body to heal from years of constant abuse. It will enable the body to eliminate toxins, replete lost nutrients, rehydrate, and take the strain off of key systems that have been under immense amounts of stress during the period of substance abuse.

How is Nutrition Used in Addiction Recovery?

Many addiction recovery centers incorporate health and nutrition counseling into their treatment programs.
At Nexus Recovery Services, clients in our partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and traditional outpatient programs can participate in health and nutrition courses, where they learn about the importance of making healthy food choices.

Dozens of research studies have shown that proper nutrition can have significant benefits for getting sober. For instance, diets rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean protein, and fibrous foods show improvement in brain function, mended digestion, reduction of symptoms of depression, regulating hormones, and strengthening of the immune system.

Adequate hydration is also essential during addiction recovery. People in active recovery should drink plenty of water and herbal tea and avoid sugary drinks, soda, and excess caffeine. Those who are experiencing severe or chronic dehydration can also supplement themselves with electrolyte-enhanced drinks for faster rehydration.

In addition to a proper diet, people in addiction recovery programs are often encouraged to supplement themselves with vitamins and nutrients in which they are lacking. Vitamins and herbal supplements help to fill gaps in a person’s diet, support essential functions, improve brain health, and much more.

eating disorders

If you are considering treatment for yourself or a loved one, call us today.

Can Proper Nutrition Improve Mental Health?

Proper nutrition isn’t just beneficial for addiction recovery, but it can also improve mental health and reduce symptoms of commonplace disorders, like depression and anxiety. 

Underlying mental health disorders and unresolved traumas can cause addiction, so focusing on a diet during recovery is valuable.

In recent years, the new field of “nutritional psychology” has gained attention after researchers began to recognize the link between mental health and dietary habits. For example, they’ve found that many mental health disorders are caused by inflammation, which is often triggered by unhealthy foods, like sugar, refined grains, and certain oils. Removing these foods from a person’s diet causes the inflammation to reduce, and their symptoms often improve.

Another important link between diet and mental health is obesity. Scientists know that people who are overweight are more likely to suffer from mental health disorders. A healthy diet combined with exercise can help people lose weight, which may reduce depression, improve body image, and improve sleep, among other benefits.

However, people who suffer from eating disorders or mental health disorders that affect eating patterns may have a different response to diet and exercise during recovery. In this case, a clinician should work with the person to address their health and make gradual changes to add or cut back on meals, improve nutrition, and solve vitamin and nutrient deficiencies.

family therapy for addiction

In addition to physical cravings, someone with an addiction issue will also spend a tremendous amount of time thinking about their drug of choice. These thoughts become a compulsion and impossible to control, which leads to drug-seeking behavior that can sometimes be criminal.

Feelings of depression, sadness, anxiety, despair, and the like are often at the root of substance abuse. The substance might temporarily mask these feelings, but they return once the high wears off, creating a vicious circle of drug abuse.

Taking a substance will temporarily stop the cravings and compulsion for it, but soon the same feelings return. In time, it takes more and more of the same substance to achieve the same effect it once had.

People addicted to drugs and alcohol may feel like they have no control over their drug use. Refraining from using or stopping seems to be an impossibility for them. The substance controls them, rather than the other way around.

Someone addicted to drugs or alcohol will continue to seek them out even if their addiction has made them lose friends, family, spouses, and jobs. Drug-seeking behavior can even lead to diseases such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.

Addiction Treatment at Nexus Recovery

At Nexus Recovery, we incorporate health and nutrition training courses in our treatment programs.

We teach clients how to make their health and nutrition a priority during recovery and beyond by providing information about healthy diets and the importance of exercise. We discuss how living a healthy lifestyle can make the recovery process easier and improve mental health. Clients who make their health a priority during recovery are less likely to relapse and are more likely to stay away from drugs and alcohol.

If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance abuse disorder, help is available. Contact us at (888) 855-6877 to learn more about the treatment programs available at Nexus Recovery in Los Angeles.

In addition to physical cravings, someone with an addiction issue will also spend a tremendous amount of time thinking about their drug of choice. These thoughts become a compulsion and impossible to control, which leads to drug-seeking behavior that can sometimes be criminal.

Feelings of depression, sadness, anxiety, despair, and the like are often at the root of substance abuse. The substance might temporarily mask these feelings, but they return once the high wears off, creating a vicious circle of drug abuse.

Taking a substance will temporarily stop the cravings and compulsion for it, but soon the same feelings return. In time, it takes more and more of the same substance to achieve the same effect it once had.

People addicted to drugs and alcohol may feel like they have no control over their drug use. Refraining from using or stopping seems to be an impossibility for them. The substance controls them, rather than the other way around.

Someone addicted to drugs or alcohol will continue to seek them out even if their addiction has made them lose friends, family, spouses, and jobs. Drug-seeking behavior can even lead to diseases such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.

If you or a loved one are suffering from alcohol or drug addiction, we’re here to help. Contact us today and speak with one of our trusted recovery advisors.

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