Besides undergoing treatment, one of the integral elements of recovery from addiction is nutritional screening. Such a screening is essential to determine other risk factors and to ensure early and complete recovery from any addiction. It also assists in deciding the treatment based on the physical condition and weight of the patient. Therefore, it is significant to maintain a healthy diet during the addiction treatment phase.
Addiction oftentimes escalates and impairs a person to a point wherein it becomes exceeding difficult to maintain a healthy diet and even organize food. Over time, individuals with nutritionally poor diets are at a greater risk of contracting infectious diseases, developing symptoms of mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, and lacking focus required to carry out day-to-day tasks. They get easily fatigued, irritated, and in more severe cases are swarmed by thoughts of self-harm and suicide. At the end of the day, their addiction forbids them from living their life to the fullest.
When an individual enrolls himself or herself into an addiction or detox treatment facility, it is a standard procedure to enquire about his or her eating habits, such as how many times a day he or she eats, does he or she include vegetables and fruits, or whether he or she has lost or gained weight in the past months. Such inquiries which are part and parcel of the nutritional screening process not only allow treatment providers to decide whether the patients require a physician or a nutritional intervention, but also in tailoring nutritional regimens against the patient’s screening results and their substance of abuse.
Vital role of nutrition in curbing addiction
Detoxification is the first step in the treatment process of addiction wherein the toxins are flushed out of the patient’s body as they are prepared for the next stage of treatment. It is during this stage that cravings and withdrawal symptoms are generally the hardest to endure. Although no specific diet can dissuade a person from his or her addiction, it has been observed that healthy eating habits not only accelerate the recovery process, but also assist in abstaining from addiction to a substance.
Given below are some nutritious pointers for people in the recovery and post-recovery phases:
- Have timely meals: Individuals with the problem of addiction often forget what it is like to eat regular meals. They are more likely to be concerned about their next drink or high, thereby surrendering other priorities in the process. This takes a toll on their mental and physical health and increases the risk of developing depression. A healthy eating routine can boost a person’s immunities and safeguard him/her from relapsing or other adverse impacts of malnutrition.
- Consume easy on the tummy food: Individuals battling addiction are also likely to suffer from gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation, diarrhea and nausea, especially after quitting their addiction to a substance. The consumption of easily absorbable food, such as fruits, vegetables, oatmeal and sprouts, which are rich in fiber allow for a smoother transition from substance abuse to sobriety.
- Include vitamins and minerals: Substance abuse causes a deficiency of minerals and other nutrients like vitamins needed for maintaining the healthy functioning of the body. Those with the problem of alcoholism generally lack vitamin B, vitamin D and the mineral thiamine that are essential for producing energy from food, regulating calcium absorption and supporting neurological functions, respectively.
- Say no to sugar: Foods rich in sugar can trigger a dopamine rush, especially in case of people trying to quit alcohol. They are likely to experience sugar cravings due to the lowering of their blood sugar levels. There is a greater susceptibility to a relapse as high sugar levels can also cause mood swings and bouts of anxiety and depression.
Eat right to live right
Eating healthy and routine meals is one of the pillars of a healthy, sober lifestyle. It fuels the body and mind, as well as prevents the onset of mental disorders. It also supports a smoother and faster recovery, and prevents the likelihood of a relapse.