How Addiction Takes a Toll on Your Nutrition

Drug and alcohol abuse can take a major toll on your body. The recovery process is gradual, and nutrition is one of the major issues that often get overlooked, yet need attention. Our brain functions are influenced by food, and when your brain isn’t producing the chemicals it needs to maintain balance you can feel irritable and anxious. Some of the effects of having an improper diet can also be:

  • Paranoia
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Impaired memory

There is a belief that in recovery you can indulge in sweets and junk food. Some studies show that these diets can hindering your path to recovery, since the effects of sugar and food with low nutritional value can be distracting. Why manage this while you have a bigger burden of overcoming drug or alcohol addiction?

Substance abuse in general can cause a lack of proper nutrients in the body. This can be due to poor food choices, or foods that are low in essential nutrients. Certain drugs like stimulants may suppress your appetite and cause you to undereat. This can lead your body into improper calorie consumptions and impair the body’s ability to process nutrients. Other types of drugs may increase your appetite which would lead to an overall weight gain, and also cause you to eat large amounts at inappropriate times of the day.

The Role Nutrition Plays in Treatment

Proper nutrition and hydration are key elements in the process of recovery. They help in finding a balance and restoring both physical and mental health in the body. Deficiencies in micro and macro nutrients can lead to some symptoms that can trigger a relapse. Feelings of anxiety and depression, and lethargy are common in nutrient deficiencies.

Learning about nutrition, the foods to eat and the foods to avoid can be daunting. This can be especially true while trying to repair relationships and work through traumatic events. Since it’s essential to correct nutritional deficiencies and address medical conditions that can be acquired from a poor diet, we work closely with our clients to educate and build new, healthy eating habits.

Going through the motions of treatment can be emotional and extremely life-changing. Because of this, we take great care in our dining services to give you a stress-free escape during mealtime. We make sure to provide our clients with high-quality food they love. Our chefs at Cliffside Malibu are professionally trained, so you truly are experiencing the finest dining possible. We are home to classically French-trained and Le Cordon Bleu trained chefs, lead by our Executive Chef bringing 12+ years of culinary experience.

How Nutrition Helps Keep You Sober

In some cases, people who have experienced addiction may have damaged vital organs from years of drug and alcohol abuse. The body needs a healthy diet and proper hydration to aid in the repair of these organs and tissues.

Changes in diet can also alter the brain at a chemical level. Eating certain foods that are high in essential vitamins and minerals will increase levels serotonin. It is neurotransmitter that increases positive moods. Having a positive mood helps to battle stress and other emotions that could cause a relapse, and overall help make treatment a more comfortable and pleasant process.

A focus on a positive physical and mental well-being will greatly enhance the chances of recovery. Quite frequently, addicts can find it hard to differentiate between food cravings and cravings for drugs. Eating healthy and frequently can help to avoid this potential relapse trigger. In addition, one healthy choice – such as eating a healthy meal – can help influence more healthy choices throughout the day.

Nutrition Tips

  1. Eat a lot of protein: Proteins are made up of amino acids, which allow your body to release chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. These chemicals may have become depleted from unhealthy living and withdrawal side effects, so having a diet high in amino acids will help improve the chances of a successful recovery.
  2. Go easy on coffee: Caffeine can elevate your heart rate, which can cause anxiousness and irritability in many people. This can be confused for an actual mental health issue, which could trigger people to relapse.
  3. Avoid sugar: These foods can cause mood fluctuations and are full of empty calories. Try having more nutrient rich foods that your body needs to restore itself.
  4. Eat lots of fiber: A lot of drugs may have caused harm to your digestive system. Having fiber will help your body recover faster.
  5. Keep a food journal: It can be hard to remember what you’ve been eating, or how often you are eating. This can be especially true for people who are experiencing a co-occurring eating disorder. Documenting all of these things gives you and your therapist an opportunity to look back and make adjustments for the future.

About Cliffside Malibu

In the throes of addiction, our nutrition gets put by the wayside. Getting back on track to a healthy eating pattern can be difficult, but our on-staff nutritionists and dining services will help you build new habits and knowledge to carry with you while you’re living a new healthy, sober life.

Each patient is then matched with one of these five stages of the Transtheoretical Model: Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action and Maintenance. An individualized treatment plan is created based on their current stage of change. This process is in place to ensure that all our patients receive the best treatment path possible for their own specific need. Our goal is to move individuals through their treatment by assessing their readiness for change and formulating stage-matched interventions in order to move them through their respective stage.

It is the policy of Cliffside Malibu to ensure that all individuals who present with chemical dependency issues are assessed for the appropriate level of care. We strive to provide continuum of care including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment and outpatient services. Services are provided to individuals with a primary diagnosis of substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction. Individuals seeking treatment are assessed by qualified staff to ensure program criteria are met and that each individual admitted is placed in the appropriate level of care for treatment. The program is designed and structured for individuals who are in need of a supportive environment in order to maintain Sobriety.

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