What Place Does Nutrition Have in Holistic Drug Rehab?

Importance Of Nutrition In Recovery

During the search for the ideal holistic rehab center, it is important to focus some time and attention to the nutritional services and programs the center provides. Nutrition is one of the most important factors in addiction treatment and recovery. Unfortunately, nutritional guidance is often absent during the substance abuse treatment process, according to the University of Southern California.

This lack of direction and education in many holistic drug rehab programs persists despite the fact that many people going through the drug and alcohol rehab process often face heightened risks of malnutrition, dramatic weight fluctuations, and eating disorders.

When choosing a holistic recovery center for addiction treatment, there are many reasons to consider facilities that focus on whole health healing and the role of food and nutrition for healing and recovery, in addition to other standard treatment options such as natural detoxification, exercise and fitness, group and private counseling, and skills training.

Why Is Nutrition so Vital for Recovery?

Drugs and alcohol affect the body in many ways. Different substances create different problems. For instance, someone with a long-term dependence on marijuana may experience increased appetite and corresponding weight gain as a result.

In contrast, those who abuse stimulants may experience a loss of appetite that leads to weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances. This includes a large variety of drugs, including:

• Crack
• Cocaine
• Methamphetamines
• Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, etc.)
• Amphetamine (Adderall)
• Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine)
• Ecstasy

People with a history of using these drugs may experience difficulty recovering their appetites and restoring balance within their bodies. Effective nutritional counseling, education, and healthy diets can prove instrumental in the recovery process.
Whether someone has had an endless case of “the munchies” for several years or has consumed very little food, malnutrition, from eating too little or the wrong types of foods is quite common among patients entering a holistic drug treatment program of any kind.

Additionally, drugs and alcohol change the chemistry of the body and the brain. Prolonged exposure to the chemicals in most narcotic drugs damage to the body. For instance:

• Inhalants spread toxins quickly throughout the body damaging livers, kidneys, and even bone marrow.
• Methamphetamines can elevate heart rate, cause convulsions, and may even do irreparable damage to the heart. That is in addition to major damage to teeth and a condition known as “meth mouth.”
• Cocaine makes people more vulnerable to infections, strokes, and heart attacks.

Even the brain and skin are not immune to the ravages drug addiction inflicts upon the human body. Without adequate nutritional health, the body will have a more difficult time recovering. Which is why nutritional guidance, instruction, and education is critical. It helps provide the body with the nutrients it needs to repair the damage done by prolonged drug abuse.

Today’s Dietitian, a magazine for nutritional professionals, reports that nutrition and hydration are fundamental for restoring physical and mental health during recovery from addiction and improving the chances of recovery while also reducing the risks of a relapse. Good nutrition does all of the following to promote better mental and physical health throughout the recovery process:
• Reduces risks of depression related to nutritional deficiencies.
• Improves energy.
• Reduces anxiety.
• Stabilizes mood and reduces stress.
• Reduces cravings for alcohol and drugs.
• Encourages a focus on health and self-care throughout recovery and beyond.
This is why it is necessary to seek a holistic drug rehab center that focuses on nutrition for healing and offering nutritional guidance and education from day one.

Choosing a Holistic Rehab Center with a Nutritional Focus

The old way of dealing with drug addiction relied heavily upon guilt and behavioral modifications to address addiction and recovery without solving the problems that created a situation ripe for addiction or repairing the physical, emotional, and spiritual damage addiction left behind. Success rates were dismal at best.

Choosing a holistic drug treatment program offers hope in a manner 12-step programs were never able to manage. The reason is simple, a holistic recovery center is focused on healing the whole person and not simply changing their behavior. Holistic drug rehab involves all areas of a person’s life offering real hope on every front that recovery is possible and a happy, healthy life is possible.

An effective holistic rehab center focuses on every aspect of healing, including exercise and nutrition to not only help the body detoxify and cleanse after years of abuse and damage. It is also necessary to promote the physical healing that goes hand in hand with recovery.

This dedication to whole body healing is what sets holistic drug treatment programs apart from 12-step programs that have delivered limited results over the decades.

This page does not provide medical advice

Written by Elevate Addiction Services | ©2020 Elevate Addiction Services | All Rights Reserved

Medically Reviewed by

Tim Sinnott, LMFT LAADC

December 1, 2020

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