Diets Which Can Aid in Addiction Recovery
As a provider of intervention services VA, we know that addiction recovery is a process which contains many nuances, all of which are imperative to the success and longevity of the recovery. Gone are the days where addicts are simply seen as people who lack willpower or self-control, instead we are seeing evidence that they’re attempting to cope with extreme and traumatic situations through substance use. While we believe that in many cases an intervention may be necessary to start the recovery process, there are a few things which can help the person in recovery afterwards.
The importance of nutrients in our diet has always been known, but the effect that missing out on certain nutrients has on the individual’s mental health is a more recent discovery. We’re all well aware that eating a healthy diet, along with getting a good night’s sleep and exercise, is important in our daily mental health. So why wouldn’t this be applicable to someone in recovery?
Here’s a look at which nutrients a person in recovery may need, and a look at how a healthy diet can affect recovery, especially after the use of our intervention services VA.
How Drug Addiction Affects What and How you Eat
It’s common knowledge that hard drugs such as amphetamines and opiates have serious effects on our physical health. Although a less considered factor is how habitual use of these substances affects what and how you eat.
Although many people would assume that amphetamines and opiates would have similar effects, there are some aspects which should be considered individually.
These are a specific kind of stimulant which have had various uses from keeping soldiers awake to keeping children focused. As with most other kinds of stimulant, amphetamines act as an appetite suppressant, which can allow the user to not eat for days at a time. Not only will the body use all of its remaining nutrients in keeping it alive, but often the addict won’t seek out the high-nutrient food that is necessary to replace these vital nutrients and minerals afterwards.
Like amphetamines, opiates also have appetite suppressing qualities, and can also cause nausea, vomiting, and constipation. These can heavily affect the body’s natural electrolyte levels which help regulate hydration. Opiates also cause fatigue which can slow the body’s metabolic rate, which can even further decrease appetite.
Both amphetamines and opiates are a recipe for internal disaster thanks to the physical and mental effects they have.
Replacing Lost Nutrients
Due to both the direct and vicarious effects that drug addiction has on the addict’s body, it’s important to know which nutrients to make up for. A healthy diet should include these especially during recovery.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
Most addicts tend to be thiamine deficient, especially alcoholics, so replacing this during recovery is a must. Recent clinical trials are looking at the use of B1 supplements during recovery to help the addict abstain.
Find it in:
- Enriched grains
An all-round helpful vitamin which should be a part of even the healthiest person’ diet, Vitamin C is showing evidence that it can help reduce the severity of opiate withdrawals when taken in high doses.
Find it in:
- Citrus fruits
- Bell and chilli peppers
With evidence showing that it’s connected with the brain’s reward system, Vitamin D is considered vital in the recovery from addiction, especially to opiates.
Find it in:
- Oily fish
- Red meat
- Egg Yolks
- Safe exposure to the sun (read here)
Not only is magnesium effective in helping muscle and nerve function, there’s also evidence that like Vitamin D, magnesium acts on the brain’s reward system.
Find it in:
- Leafy greens (spinach, kale, etc)
- Nuts (almonds, macadamia, etc)
Like thiamine (Vitamin B1), Zinc deficiency is common in addicts, especially those dependent on opiates.
Find it in:
- Read meat
As many of these nutrients are sourced from animals, vegetarians and vegans may need to opt for the supplementary forms. These can come in various forms such as a pill, a powder, or even as an oil.
A common mistake that those with addictive personality types make when trying to quit a specific substance is to become addicted to something else which affects their physiology. It’s not uncommon for people in recovery to immerse themselves in fad diets which promise a healthier life, and the allure of feeling better. Many fad diets are based around creating a calorie deficit of some kind, which can be incredibly harmful to your recovering body.
Be mindful of what you eat and set yourself a personalized healthy diet, even going as far as to seek nutritional advice from experts. However, do not fall for a fad diet thinking that anything like that is applicable to more than a fraction of their demographic.
Contact Us Today
For more information about our intervention services VA, or to simply learn more about how we help addicts seeking recovery, visit our website or give us a call today.