When you are actively addicted to drugs or alcohol, it is nearly impossible to eat a healthy diet at the same time. By the time you get into treatment, it is likely your body is suffering from the effects of eating too much, or too little, or too many of the wrong things.
Nutrition and Addiction
Opiates generally cause constipation, which means that withdrawal often causes nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting that can drain nutrients from your body when you need them the most.
Nutritional deficiencies (especially when it comes to the B vitamins) are an extremely common condition associated with alcohol abuse. Stress and damage to the liver and kidneys can also make it difficult for your body to use any nutrients it does get, not to mention the fact that you are probably drinking way too many of your calories instead of eating healthy food that would give you the proper nutrients.
Stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine reduce the appetite, which means you are not getting what your body needs. While appetite can return once you stop using the drugs, it is sometimes difficult to return to normal eating when you are accustomed to eating less than your body needs.
Marijuana causes you to eat too much (a condition called "the munchies"), often junk food that does not contribute many nutrients even if there are a lot of calories. Yes, it is possible to eat a lot and be malnourished if what you are eating is not giving you what your body needs.
Making a concerted effort to eat a healthy and nutritious diet while in treatment and recovery will have many benefits for your body and mind. By following a few basic nutritional principles, you can actually make your recovery easier by improving your mood and even your mental health, as well as increasing the amount of stress your body can take.
You may find that you do not even know how to eat healthy, especially if you have been struggling with addiction since your early teen years. A nutritionist or healthy eating class can teach you to eat a variety of foods from the different food groups, can help you learn what a proper portion is, and can tell you how often you should eat for optimum health.
When you eat unhealthy foods or do not eat regular meals, your blood sugar will zoom up and down, which will lead to cravings or compulsive behaviors, which can cross over from food to drugs or alcohol and derail your recovery. Learning to eat healthy foods can prevent relapse by reducing food cravings, which can feel like cravings for other substances and tempt you to go back to addictive behaviors.
It is worthwhile to make healthy eating a priority during your Colorado addiction treatment and beyond. The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake offers comprehensive treatment for many kinds of substance abuse and provides healthy food to maximize the positive benefits of treatment. Contact us to learn more.