Did you know nutrition and withdrawal are linked? Nutritional therapy is key to regaining emotional and physical balance after many months or years of substance use. A personalized nutrition plan can not only ease withdrawal symptoms but can also encourage better self-care overall. Unfortunately, people often overlook proper nutrition as part of the detox process, and you’re not likely to find a nutrition therapy program that specializes in addiction services, too. That is unless you’re looking in our direction. Call Serenity House Detox at 866.294.5306 for more information about our nutrition therapy program.
How Does Addiction Affect Nutrition?
Substance use disorders often lead to poor diet, and that leads to poor health. That’s why nutrition therapy for addiction is crucial.
There are many reasons for the correlation between addiction and nutrition, including the following:
- Some substances, like stimulants, suppress appetite and disrupt normal metabolic regulation.
- Other substances encourage appetite, causing unhealthy weight gain or food cravings.
- Some individuals may choose to spend their money on drugs or alcohol instead of nutritious food.
- Overuse of drugs or alcohol can prevent the body from absorbing nutrients even if someone consumes healthy food.
- Alcohol use deprives the body of thiamine, an essential vitamin that helps vital organs function.
- Opioids slow the metabolism and can cause chronic digestion problems.
- Living conditions may not be conducive to storing or preparing fresh foods.
It is not unusual for patients entering a detox program to be diagnosed with vitamin deficiencies and dehydration upon arrival.
The Impact of Poor Nutrition on the Body
A long pattern of poor eating combined with drug or alcohol dependency makes patients vulnerable to a host of health problems, such as:
- Metabolic syndrome
- Organ damage
- Unhealthy weight (over or underweight)
- Eating disorders
These health issues are dangerous on their own and need to be addressed as soon as possible. However, they can also make withdrawal symptoms more severe and harder to manage. The less healthy a person is, the more difficult detox can be.
How a Nutritional Therapy Program Helps Withdrawal Symptoms
In addition to the physical effects of detoxing, the symptoms of poor nutrition can mimic mental health symptoms such as anxiety, low energy, and depression. Until nutritional deficits are corrected, medical staff can’t get a complete and accurate assessment of a patient’s mental health. Furthermore, without a mental health assessment, specialists can’t treat co-occurring disorders properly.
During detox and withdrawal, nutritional therapy has the following goals:
- Reduce drug and alcohol cravings
- Stabilize mood
- Reduce stress
- Nourish cells damaged by substance use
- Boost immunity to handle withdrawal symptoms better
- Stabilize weight
- Address co-occurring medical or mental health issues
- Educate patients about nutrition
- Encourage positive self-care
In addition, long-term use of opioids and other substances disrupt the brain’s normal production of endorphins. Certain foods can help rebalance brain function, allowing the body to produce the hormones needed to help ease withdrawal symptoms in a natural way.
For example, carbohydrates help with the production of serotonin which helps stabilize mood. Amino acids are the foundation of neurotransmitters like dopamine. A diet rich in amino acids helps the brain produce its own dopamine, which makes cravings less severe.
The link between good nutrition and withdrawal symptoms becomes more evident as you understand micro and macronutrients. Therefore, that is why it’s valuable to have an expert trained in nutrition therapy as part of your wellness team when you enter a detox facility.
Seek Detox Services at Serenity House Detox Florida
At Serenity House Detox Florida, we understand the important role nutrition plays in detox and recovery. Our nutrition therapy program helps patients learn to participate in their own physical, emotional, and mental healing through an improved diet. Our plan makes education and healthy eating a priority from day one. Contact Serenity House Detox Florida at 866.294.5306 to learn more about our detox programs.