By Sandy Baker
It’s quite common for people with an addiction to suffer from other health problems. Nutritional deficiencies are one of the most common complications of this disease. The use of drugs damages cell makeup, which cannot be repaired without access to good nutrition. At The Ranch at Dove Tree, we offer nutritional therapy to supplement drug and alcohol addiction treatment.
What Is Nutritional Therapy?
nutritional therapy refers to the use of specialized nutritional interventions to support individuals in their recovery from substance use disorder and addiction. This approach recognizes the significant impact that diet and nutrition can have on physical and mental health, and it aims to address the nutritional imbalances and deficiencies often associated with substance use disorder.
Why You Lack a Healthy Diet
People addicted to substances do not put much care into getting a balanced diet. Addiction demands so much attention and focus that you miss meals or skimp on healthy food in order to pay for drugs or alcohol. This is because your body, in a state of dependence on substances, perceives substances as a greater need than food.
The Damage Done
Drugs and alcohol create toxins that damage the body in multiple ways. Some toxins damage the skin. Others target the teeth. Most will damage, to some extent, your organs, including the brain, heart, and lungs. The longer the addiction lasts, the more difficult it becomes for the body to repair the damage.
What Can Nutritional Therapy Do for You?
Working with a dietitian, it’s possible to regain the balance your body needs. Professionals can not only ensure you are eating enough well-balanced meals, but also tailor your diet to increase important nutrients for physical and mental health. They then teach you how to manage your diet plan so that you can continue nutritional therapy at home throughout your recovery.
What happens when your body gets a balanced diet? You start to feel better physically. Your body works to heal the damage done from drug use. You reach a healthy body weight and gain the confidence boost you need.
What Does Proper Nutrition Look Like in Addiction Treatment?
One of the hallmarks of good drug and alcohol addiction treatment is that it provides individualized treatment plans for each person. This applies to your diet as well. At The Ranch at Dove Tree, our goal is to give you the support you need on a personal level so you feel your best. We focus on the following components of your diet:
- Consistent, healthy food. By improving general nutrition, we can help ensure your immune system is working properly. This can reduce your risk of complications and illness during treatment.
- Amino acids. Many people have an amino acid deficiency. This can reduce serotonin levels in the brain, creating a higher risk for depression, anxiety, and other mental health complications.
- Magnesium. Magnesium deficiencies are perhaps the most common problem during withdrawal. A deficiency in magnesium often leads to fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, and muscle pain.
- Thiamine. Deficiency in thiamine is sometimes present in those with addiction. It can cause memory problems as well as some level of cognitive impairment, especially if it advances to Korsakoff’s syndrome.
- Vitamin C. A lack of vitamin C leads to a slow healing process. If you have open wounds, a vitamin C deficiency could be the reason why they are not healing.
- Vitamin B. Many people also suffer from a lack of Vitamin B. This can limit your energy and even impact your ability to focus on recovery. It can lead to anemia as well.
It’s important to recognize all of these risks from addiction. You may have spent months eating very little because of your drug habit. In other cases, you may have felt unable to stop eating. During recovery, it becomes essential to find a balance.
Nutritional Education for Lasting Recovery
We aim to teach you how to make better food choices for the rest of your life. This includes making smart decisions when eating out, planning balanced meals, and eating nutritious snacks. We don’t want you to replace a drug or alcohol addiction with an eating problem. That’s why we educate you on how to balance your diet in a meaningful and effective manner.