Nutrition and Recovery from Drug Abuse

Blog Contributed by Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC of Addiction Hope

Drugs often manipulate and alter normal senses and functions, interfering with the body’s natural ability to regulate health and wellness. Painkillers, stimulants, depressants, and the like are all intended to change the normal chemistry of the human body.

This can influence drastic changes to appetite, taste, and natural hunger and fullness intuitiveness. It is not uncommon for drug addicts to see changes with their weight while under control of a particular substance, either loss or gain. This is often a reflection of a drug’s ability to confuse the body, and over long-term, this manifests into physical complications.

How Drugs Compete with a Balanced Diet

Drugs often compete with a balanced diet, and as a result, drug addicts can easily become malnourished. Even if at an adequate weight, having a diet that lacks in important nutrients can lead to poor health and susceptibility to disease.

An addict is more likely to choose their drug of choice over food, and as food often becomes a second-thought, choices are not often meaningful. An important aspect of recovering from drug addiction involves healing from the inside out.

This includes learning how to nourish your body adequately once again to promote physical healing. Good nutrition also gives the body the capacity to support full mental function, which is needed for emotional recovery as well.

The Initial Struggle with Food

As you begin your recovery from a drug addiction, you may find an initial struggle with food. Perhaps you have intense cravings for foods as you abstain from your drug of choice. Alternately, you mind find yourself with a loss of appetite or inability to taste food as you once did.

These experiences can be completely common as you normalize your eating habits and re-familiarize yourself with healthy eating again. Having the support of a professional treatment team can be helpful, especially during the early phases of drug addiction treatment or if you are detoxing from a drug or medication.

Beginning the Healing Process

The human body is quite resilient and can stand the wear and tear of addiction. Whatever your journey has been, do not give up on yourself. You can start recovery exactly where you are and begin the healing process: physically, mentally, emotionally and more.

Starting with good nutrition can be a key foundation to your recovery journey as you learn to nourish and care for your body once again.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

If you are in recovery from drug addiction, what aspects of nutrition have helped you become well again?

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on February 27th, 2015
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