Nutrition Therapy When Detoxing From Street Drugs

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

raspberries-423194_640The struggle with an addiction to street drugs can be a painful battle, one that leads to many devastating consequences. Perhaps one of the more apparent consequences of a street drug addiction is the manner in which it can derail the body physically. As the body becomes physically dependent on a substance, whatever type of street drug it may be, the body becomes altered in many ways as it struggles for survival.

While recovery from addiction requires many crucial aspects, it is often necessary to address the physical and medical concerns that have resulted. Re-establishing health and wellness are needed to proceed with other important parts of recovery, such as psychotherapy and counseling. A person must be medically stable and physically well to address any underlying issues related to substance abuse and mental illness.

Substance Abuse Recovery Needs Nutrition Therapy

Nutrition therapy is an important aspect of substance abuse recovery as well and is often integrated in the phase of medical stabilization. Because the body is often stripped of critical and necessary nutrients for survival, nutrition therapy involves addressing and restoring nutritional deficiencies through a healthy diet. Many addicts may commonly suffer with malnutrition, as their substance abuse often is prioritized over eating. Consuming a balanced diet is often pushed to the wayside in the presence of a dangerous a debilitating addiction.

There is often a misconception that weight is a teller of whether a person is malnourished or not. The reality is that a person can suffer from malnourishment regardless of their weight, and a person’s stature is not the only indicator of their physical well-being.

bunch-of-grapes-849616_640For the individual struggling with a street drug addiction, it can be quite common to skip meals all together in place of using drugs, eat sporadically and erratically, or to consume a diet that is lacking of the macro and micro nutrients needed for staying healthy. These behaviors may also lead to changes in weight, such as weight loss or gain. Some people dealing with a street drug addiction may also have a co-occurring eating disorder, such as anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder.

The Complications from Malnourishment

Malnourishment, whatever the cause, can lead to more severe medical complications. When the body is lacking of the nutrients needed to support the many different processes occurring, a person’s health can be jeopardized. Malnutrition can also further exasperate an addictive lifestyle, as lack of nutrition to the brain can lead to poor cognition, mood disturbances, personality changes, etc. Nutrition therapy as an early intervention of recovery from a street drug addiction is essential to helping a person heal from the inside out.

Typically nutrition therapy is led by a registered dietitian, who is often an integral member of a treatment team in the recovery process from street drug addiction. Nutrition therapy may vary based on the severity of the addiction and the presence of any other medical conditions or concerns.

Specialized Meal Plans

leek-777391_640For addicts who are severally malnourished, nutrition therapy may involve following a specialized meal plan, which may include supplementation. Nutrition therapy is tailored to an individual’s unique needs and supports the establishment of healthy, normal eating patterns. The goals of nutrition therapy may also help a person reestablish a healthy weight for their body and involve education on meal preparation, planning, and eating habits.

If you or a loved one has been suffering with an addiction to street drugs, be sure to seek out the help and support you need to begin your recovery journey today.

Working with a specialized treatment team may be one of the most important tools to help you overcome an addiction to street drugs, as well as give you access to professionals who can address the many issues and concerns you may be facing. You deserve a life of freedom from street drugs, and reaching out for help can be the first step in that direction.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

How has nutrition therapy been an important part of your recovery from street drugs? What encouragement might you share with someone who is beginning the process of physically healing from an addiction to street drugs?

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on July 31st, 2015
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About Baxter Ekern

Baxter Ekern is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He contributed and helped write a major portion of Addiction Hope and is responsible for the operations of the website.