When drug and alcohol addiction take over, many addicts are unable to uphold regular routines related to cooking, eating, cleaning, and general self-care. Malnutrition is often a common side effect of addiction. At Alpine Recovery Lodge, we have seen just how powerful good nutrition can be for addicts in active recovery.
When the body is strong, as it is when we practice good nutrition, we are better able to combat disease and addiction. When our bodies are weak, as is the case for many people who struggle with, our bodies cannot fight addiction and manage withdrawals that are typically present in the recovery process.
Nutritional deficiency doesn’t just impede recovery, it can cause severe health degeneration overall. When malnourished, the body lacks the proper vitamins and minerals to combat illness in general. Addicts are more likely to become ill or contract an infection because of their weakened immune system.
And because drug and alcohol abuse often suppress feelings of hunger, it is easy for addicts to miss meals or not to eat at all. What’s more, certain drugs and alcohol cause loss of appetite which prevents them from seeking out not just good food, but any food at all.
Nutrition in the Recovery Process
At Alpine Recovery Lodge, we take a holistic approach to managing addiction. One of the cornerstone approaches to recovery is to initiate a good nutrition plan into the rehabilitation process. As a patient’s body becomes stronger through good nutrition, they can begin to exercise to improve muscle tone, promote circulation, and create a routine based on good health habits.
Alcohol and drug abuse can have lasting effects on the body. It’s important to understand how these substances can impact our lives, our health, and our livelihood. By introducing nutrition into patient routines and recovery plans, we’re able to combat those effects and teach new, healthy habits.
Below are some ways nutrition can help you or your loved one regain a healthy lifestyle in recovery:
Increase Your Vitamin B Supply
Alcohol is directly responsible for the decreased amount of vitamin B in the body, which includes pyridoxine, thiamine, and folic acid. By adding more B vitamins to your diet, you can help fortify the nervous system functions and response, which can help during stressful times like recovery and withdrawal. When these vitamins are lacking, people can become anemic or suffer from nervous system malfunction, which can often be difficult to reverse.
In extreme vitamin B deficiency caused by alcohol abuse, people can develop a condition called Korsakoff’s Syndrome. This is a brain disorder that combines anemia and dementia.
Trying to treat two parts of the body is difficult, but with the introduction of food rich in B-vitamins and vitamin B, recovering addicts can rebuild their amino acids and essential fatty acids and may start to feel better physically and emotionally. Because our body does not produce these vitamins naturally, we need to get them from our food supply. You can imagine that an addict that doesn’t eat regularly, or doesn’t feel the urge to eat may be starving themselves to death, in addition to any other complications brought on my alcoholism or drug abuse.
Incorporating increased vitamin levels into a diets of patients at Alpine Recovery Lodge is important to our work and our beliefs. We’ve seen how a simple change can improve the lives of addicts in recovery and it can start them on the path to long-lasting recovery. Education is an important component of our work and we ensure that we provide information that patients can use to make informed choices about their health now and in the future.
Healthy Nutrition Helps with Withdrawal Symptoms
Nutrition deficiency may also compromise a person’s recovery when it comes to managing withdrawal symptoms and cravings. During withdrawal, people can suffer a great deal. The body and mind undergo serious health concerns, like seizures and delirium tremens, which can worsen quickly if not supervised or treated by a medical health professional.
Withdrawals are a very real side effect in the recovery process. Many people have lost their battle with substance abuse during the withdrawal phases because their bodies were unable to deal with the physical complications. These symptoms and complications are often exacerbated by lack of nutrition, hunger, or loss of appetite.
With regular, balanced meals, recovering addicts can more easily cope with their withdrawal symptoms. These nutrients ensure their bodies are strong enough to cope with the changes to their body’s chemistry and reduce the risks of long-term side effects, which can even include death.
Healthy nutrition is not only good when addicts are first going through rehab, but for their continued success in recovery. It’s very important to incorporate balanced meals into their routine so they can the necessary nutrients on a regular basis.
Exercise is Good for the Mind and Body
With any good nutritional plan, exercise is sure to follow. Studies suggest that exercise is highly effective to aid recovery from substance abuse. While some recovering addicts may not be ready for exercise when first undergoing treatment, it is something to incorporate as soon as possible to help regain strength, circulation, and routine into their lives.
Exercise not only provides profound and lasting physical and mental effects on someone who is recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, but can also help recover sleep patterns, reset one’s Circadian Rhythm, and improve overall mood.
When exercising, dopamine is released into our blood streams. This is a chemical that is triggered in our brains when we eat foods that taste good, enjoy something in life, and of course, consume drugs and/or alcohol. Exercise can have the same or an even better effect on dopamine levels than any of these other activities. It’s why runners claim to have a “runner’s high” when they are striving toward a goal and why athletes can play sports on broken bones because they are so “hyped up” on exercise. Adrenaline is a powerful thing and we’ve found that one good decision can lead to another, especially when it comes to avoiding drug or alcohol consumption.
A Holistic Approach to Recovery at Alpine Recovery Lodge
At Alpine Recovery Lodge, we believe that good nutrition plays a huge role in helping patients work towards a healthy lifestyle without drugs and alcohol. We use a holistic approach to battle addiction and help people abstain from substance abuse. With addiction continuing to be a major problem for many people, we work to ensure that our patients benefit from our full attention and a personalized treatment plan that is right for them.
Whether you or someone you love is struggling with drugs or alcohol, don’t wait to call us. We can help you get on the road to recovery faster than you think. We’ll be there every step of the way, ensuring you get the nutrition, support, and guidance you need to manage your addiction and regain your life. Give us a call to learn more about our residential rehab program.