Medical Nutrition Therapy for Prescription Drug Abuse

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

A prescription medication addiction takes a severe toll on the body and mind.  When a person becomes addicted to a medication, which often becomes the primary focus of their lives.  As a result of this, many other basic things are neglected, including health, hygiene, finances, nutrition, and more.  When a person becomes so fixated on how and when they can obtain their next fix, the other important aspects of living slowly begin to dissipate in the background.

Nutrition aides Recovery

Man cookingThis can lead to an unraveling of one’s life, where pieces begin to fall apart bit by bit.  Recovery from prescription drug abuse requires a commitment to abstinence and a rebuilding effort in each of these aspects that have been impacted by neglect, abuse and addiction.

The good news is that many of the negative effects of addiction can be reversed with proper care and treatment.  A key aspect of healing from addiction involves nutrition rehabilitation or medical nutrition therapy.

Medical nutrition therapy is a therapeutic approach to treating medical conditions and their associated symptoms through the use of a personalized diet, which is typically recommended by a registered dietitian.  In the case of a prescription drug addiction, the body often becomes malnourished and deficient in many nutrients, which can exacerbate physical symptoms.

Recovering from prescription drug abuse often involves eating a balanced diet that includes adequate calories, protein, vitamins, minerals, and hydration that are essential for rebuilding the body.

Because a healthy diet is often neglected or replaced with medication, getting back to a place of physical wellness begins with normalizing eating.  In some instances, an addict may be dealing with significant weight loss or weight gain as a result of their behaviors.  Medical nutrition therapy can also be helpful in addressing some of these concerns during the recovery period.

If you or a loved one has been struggling with an addiction to prescription medications, be sure to work with a professional treatment team to help you get back to a place of recovery and wellness.  Many treatment teams involve a registered dietitian, who can be a helpful resource in guiding nutritional rehabilitation through the recovery process.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

Are you in recovery from prescription drug addiction?  If so, what role did nutrition play in your recovery process?  What basic nutrition principles to you continue to adhere by to keep your body healthy and to uphold your recovery efforts?

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions and co-occurring disorders.  These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.  We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors.  If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.  

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on September 18, 2015. Published on