Nutrition plays a big part in drug addiction. Drug abuse puts undue strain on the body, causing cells to clamor for more energy in order to cope. It also creates a harmful lifestyle including poor diet and irregular eating patterns. Much of the trauma involved in withdrawal and recovery from drug addiction could be eased through proper nutrition and lifestyle changes.
Narconon Outlines How Drugs Affect the Body
Drugs have different impact on the body.
- Alcohol creates a vast number of nutritional deficiencies. In fact, alcoholism is one of the main causes of nutritional deficiency in the United States. It leaches B vitamins from the cells, causing anemia and problems with the nervous system. It damages the liver and the pancreas, which are involved in metabolism and nutrient absorption. It can cause diabetes, high blood pressure, cirrhosis of the liver, seizures, severe malnutrition and shortened life expectancy.
- Opioids have a detrimental effect on the gastrointestinal system, often leading to constipation. Diarrhea, nausea and vomiting typically occur during withdrawal, which leads to an imbalance of electrolytes and other essential nutrients.
- Stimulants like cocaine and meth reduce appetite, leading to weight loss and poor nutrition. They also cause sleep problems, causing users to stay awake for days at a time. This can result in dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
- Marijuana can increase appetite and a desire for strange, usually sugary foods. This can lead to a problem with weight and nutritional problems.
Aiding Recovery from Addiction
In order to ease withdrawal pains and the other symptoms involved in recovery, a change in diet and lifestyle is essential. Here are a few guidelines:
1. Eat regular, balanced meals that contain protein, complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber. If you have trouble with appetite, vitamin C supplementation can help. Eating smaller, more frequent meals is also a good idea.
2. Eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. They contain vitamins and minerals in the proper proportion for the body to properly absorb what it needs.
3. Supplement your diet with vitamins and minerals, especially B complex, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
4. Reduce caffeine and tobacco intake, as this can leach vitamins and minerals from the body and prevent proper absorption.
5. Avoid high-calorie foods with low nutrition, such as sweets.
6. Avoid processed foods such as canned, packaged or microwaved products. Fast food is not only lacking nutrients, it contains a number of harmful chemicals and preservatives that will do more damage than good.
A Few Other Healthy Tips
A lifestyle change is also a good idea, as there may be other factors preventing proper nutrition.
- Get at least eight hours of sleep. This will help your body repair and give you the energy you need to get through withdrawal.
- Get enough physical activity, as this increases circulation, allowing nutrients to reach all your cells. Take long walks, jog, swim, or join a sports team. It will also uplift your mood.
- Find activities that make you happy. Reducing stress in all areas can be very beneficial physically.
At Narconon treatment we focus heavily on nutrition in our recovery procedures. We help individuals to get on a good sleeping schedule and eat the right food. Exercise and vitamin supplements are used as well as tools to help one take care of themselves better.
With seven out of ten of our graduates staying permanently drug free we feel that this is and always will be an essential component to recovery.