Often people struggling with addictions have food issues. Addiction to alcohol and certain drugs can cause disordered eating patterns and intense cravings. Additionally, people who tend toward addictive behaviors may have a deficit in coping skills. They are often addicted to eating as a method of managing their emotional responses.
It is essential to acknowledge that a full recovery from drug and alcohol abuse requires a lot of energy from your body. Adequate physical health and nutrition are vital for a better chance at maintaining sobriety. Nutritional therapy goes a long way to instilling the essential health principles you will need to facilitate positive lifelong changes. If you need support in the early days of recovery, please get in touch with Red Oak Recovery today at 866.457.7590.
The Relationship Between Food and Addiction
In the simplest terms, the main nutritional issue people face is a lack of nutrients in the diet. This can be due to overeating foods devoid of nutrition or under-eating. Barring any known metabolic issues, when the diet is adequate in calories and primarily healthful, overeating has less chance of being a problem. The same triggers that fuel harmful drug addictions are often at the root of an addiction to food. Often, people fall into the trap of using food to cope with emotional turbulence or their specific struggles. Uncomfortable emotions like stress, anger, sadness, and even boredom trigger a problematic relationship with eating.
Stress Eating and Addiction
“Stress-eater” and “eating your feelings” are common terms people use to describe potentially problematic eating behaviors. An occasional session of overeating is no cause for alarm, but when it becomes a larger pattern, significant problems begin to arise. Even if unhealthy foods are not the drug of choice for an addicted individual, alcohol and drug use can indirectly drive unhealthy eating habits. For instance, someone who places a low priority on physical health and the drug’s effect on the body can trigger a binge.
Although the addictive behavior typical of drug addiction can cause an addiction to food, with many substances, there is also a possibility for nutritional deficits. This can occur for many reasons, such as a disordered, erratic lifestyle, loss of appetite due to drug use, or because the drug itself has become the sole priority in the user’s life, at the expense of everything else, including healthy nutrition.
With all of the negative ties between food and addictions, it is vital not to ignore the positive influence of food and nutrition on recovery. It is essential to place a healthy emphasis on food in your life because nutrition has such a profound effect on the potential for healing the body. Your body will need enough healthy fuel to provide the energy required to navigate your recovery.
Benefits of a Nutritional Therapy Program in Addiction Treatment
Alcohol and drug abuse take a significant toll on the human body. Recovering from substance abuse disorders is a gradual process that requires stamina and sustained energy to accomplish. Nutrition is one aspect of a person’s overall health that will need extra attention to speed your recovery. While you were addicted, your nutrition likely took a backseat, and your body suffered as a result.
Healthy eating reinforces a natural balance of brain chemicals. Additionally, while you’re detoxing from a drug, cravings for sugar and caffeine can skyrocket to fill in these gaps in expected brain input, and simple carbohydrates will be especially hard to ignore, so you’ll very likely need extra help to get through this period of recovery.
Deficiencies in B-complex vitamins, zinc, calcium, and other nutrients are prevalent in recovering alcoholics. Drugs that significantly reduce appetite, such as methamphetamines, also predispose people to severe nutrient and mineral deficiencies due to lack of food.
After you stop using alcohol or drugs, your nutritional needs will be higher than usual. Even if a person made attempts to eat a healthy diet while using, fewer of those nutrients were available to the body because of the body’s primary task of ridding itself of the toxic substances, as well as the inability of a damaged stomach lining to absorb nutrients.
What Will You Learn in Nutritional Therapy?
In nutritional therapy, you’ll acquire some basic techniques to help achieve your dietary goals, such as :
- Consistent eating plans and not skipping meals
- Eating a varied diet that includes all essential vitamins and minerals
- Drinking plenty of water
- Limiting your intake of harmful foods, like sugar and caffeine that can fuel addiction
- Avoiding crash diets
- Taking vitamins, as necessary
In addition, we encourage our residents to regularly enjoy physical activity, which helps to maintain their energy level.
Take Control of Your Addiction at Red Oak Recovery
An emphasis on nutrition is often a key to facilitating a full, sustained recovery. We can take the time to develop a treatment plan we tailor to your unique needs. Call Red Oak Recovery today at 866.457.7590 to begin discussing how we can help tackle your addiction from every angle.