When considering a drug and alcohol addiction treatment plan, most people focus on the medical-related programs that are offered. Seldom does a patient think about nutrition when contemplating recovery. Food, when chosen properly, is medicine, which is why we ensure that nutritional counseling is part of our total wellness package for every patient.
A highly knowledgeable nutritionist assesses the needs of our patients with reassessments to take place throughout their time at TTC Care. As detoxification takes place, the body changes, requiring constant modification of the patient’s diet to help restore proper internal and external functions and promote wellness.
The reintroduction of certain foods is a give-and-take process. Not only are there adjustments in exploring and accepting new tastes and textures on the palate, but the digestive tract will undergo adaptation to these changes as well, which needs monitoring and management.
In addition to designing a customized nutrition program for each patient, our nutritionist educates and advises on which foods, nutrients and supplements are necessary to enhance the healing process and strengthen the quest for sobriety.
Drug and Alcohol Addiction Affects Diet Choices
With substance abuse, the addict places the drug or alcohol of choice in first position. Food is secondary, at best. As the disease of addiction progresses, food intake is often neglected, creating many health complications. One of many complications caused by addiction is memory loss: The act of eating may be forgotten altogether.
Because addiction affects judgment, choosing the right food at the right time in the right amounts is jeopardized. When a person comes down off a high from amphetamines, for example, there can be the sensation of intense hunger that needs to be satisfied immediately, either with another fix of the drug, sleep or food.
To fulfill this need, unhealthy food choices are usually a preference, as they don’t need preparation and are readily available at the corner convenience store. These foods are usually heavy on preservatives, sugars and other additives than do nothing to supply the body with the nutrients it needs.
During the recovery process, a common dietary craving is sugar, prevalent in alcoholics. When the body breaks down alcohol during the digestive process, it is converted to sugar. Sugar, in table form, has also been referred to as “the new heroin,” and it’s extremely addictive.
Sugar feeds the brain’s reward center and creates a nutrient-deficit cycle, beginning with a temporary spike in blood sugar, referred to as a sugar rush. After the rush subsides, there is a crash. Without proper nutrition, repetitive sugar intake can lead to drug or alcohol relapse.
Poor Nutrition Damages Bodily Functions
The addiction process is counterintuitive to normal bodily functions. Without the right nutritional sustenance, damage to the brain and other internal organs is evident and, without the right level of care, over time, more difficult to reverse.
Addiction combined with poor nutrition can lead to:
- Organ damage
- Immune system damage
- Gastrointestinal disorders
Nutritional Neglect Creates Vitamin Deficiency
Consistent alcohol abuse or regular drug use will break down a person’s natural levels of vitamins, especially regarding:
- Folic acid
- Vitamin B6
- Thiamine or B1
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Omega-6 fatty acids
Without sustained healthy levels of these vitamins, which is often the case in addiction, the user has an increased risk of:
- Neurological damage
- Learning issues
- Memory loss
- Skin inflammation and rash
- Improper or slow wound healing
Nutritional Counseling Feeds Long-term Sobriety
Developing a strong diet program during rehabilitation and recovery is essential to anyone seeking a life of wellness. TTC Care is committed to providing the right nutrition plan for every patient to fill deficiencies and build physical and emotional strength.
By following a healthy and strategic diet, those in recovery can look forward to:
- More energy
- Better disposition
- More confidence
- Brighter mood
- Stronger immune system function
- Restoration of internal organ functions
- Body tissue repairs
- Reduced risk of relapse
Replacing poor food choices with good ones allows recovery to be a more tasteful and satisfying experience. Adding protein and complex carbohydrates to every meal and making fresh fruit and vegetables a mainstay in the diet provides energy and healing – both important to attaining a healthy balance.
While under the care of our nutritionist, patients are guided on how to incorporate their recommended diet into life after treatment. Careful food intake not only provides sustenance, but eliminates the lows that can come when too much time has gone by in between meals, which affects mood and increases the risk for relapse.
Discover how good food can nurture long-term sobriety, and stop the pain of addiction at its source.