Contributor: Erica Smith, M.A., NCC, clinical team member of Timberline Knolls
Developing an addiction to any type of substance can elicit countless negative consequences on an individual’s overall physical health. Certain drugs will cause problems in certain areas of the body more than others will.
Heroin, for example, is one substance that is known to cause a loss in bone density. This reduced bone density, known as osteopenia, can ultimately turn into full-blown osteoporosis.
Addiction Recovery Helps Overcome Physical Ailments
The number of physical ailments that can result from chronic heroin use are monumental. When most people think of the health ramifications of abusing any type of substance, the common things that are believed to be affected are the liver and the brain.
In most cases, the first thought is not regarding the body’s skeletal system. The sad reality, however, is that bones can be just as negatively affected.
How Nutritional Intake Is Affected
When women are addicted to heroin, most, if not all, aspects of their lifestyle will change. Included in such changes is that of one’s nutritional intake. An addiction to heroin typically results in changes in a person’s eating habits overall, most commonly presenting in malnutrition.
In other words, women who are addicted to heroin will often go for long periods of time without eating and, when they do eat, they will often consume foods that lack any nutritional value. This malnourishment can result in the onset of systemic health problems.
Furthermore, when the high nutritional needs that the skeletal system requires are denied sustenance, a woman’s spine can become weaker, leading to poor posture, weakened muscle support, and further devastation.
Developing a Good Routine with Calcium in Addiction Recovery
Due to the many detriments that can arise from the presence of a heroin addiction, it is imperative that a good nutritional routine be developed and adhered to when women begin the recovery process. One important aspect of rebuilding the strength in one’s skeletal system is through the consumption of calcium.
Calcium is a mineral that is necessary for sustaining life. Calcium builds bones and maintains the overall health of bones. Although approximately 99% of the calcium present in the body is found in teeth and bones, calcium also helps muscles contract, helps blood clot appropriately, and helps nerves send messages.
The problem lies in the fact that the body naturally loses calcium every day through hair, sweat, urine, feces, skin, and nails. The body is incapable of producing new calcium on its own, which is why it is necessary for people to consume foods that have calcium.
If such foods are not consumed, then the body will automatically strip it from the bones.
Devising a Healthy Plan for Addiction Recovery
When beginning the process of recovery, women will highly benefit from accepting the guidance of a nutritionist who will help devise healthy eating plans and implement calcium supplements if needed to assist in fully recovering and rebuilding one’s nutritional wellness.
There are many options for treatment that can be received by women who are struggling with an addiction to heroin. By engaging in certain types of programming options, women can work with therapists, psychiatrists, and physicians in order to start on the path to full recovery and overall nutritional rehabilitation.
Many programs will also provide meetings with nutritionists if deemed beneficial to the patient’s particular needs.
About the Author:
This blog was written by Timberline Knolls clinical team member Erica Smith, M.A., NCC. Erica has several years of experience working in the treatment field as a clinical therapist and has her Master’s Degree in Clinical Counseling Psychology from the American School of Professional Psychology.
Timberline Knolls is one of the nation’s premier treatment centers for women and girls who are struggling with eating disorders, alcohol abuse, drug addiction, and other co-occurring disorders.
Housed on 43 wooded acres in Lemont, Illinois (just a few miles southwest of Chicago), Timberline Knolls is a place of hope and healing where clients receive clinically superior treatment in an atmosphere of serenity and tranquility.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. 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 multiple physical, emotional, 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.
Published on February 28, 2015
Reviewed and Updated by Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on January 11, 2021
Published on AddictionHope.com