Nutrition in Substance Abuse Recovery

The prolonged use of addictive substances has a detrimental effect both on one’s body and mind. It is necessary to address the physical recovery aspect of overcoming addiction just as much as one’s mental and emotional recovery. Proper nutrition is a major part of this recovery. While one’s diet may have become compromised due to the effects of addiction, rebuilding a healthy dietary routine can greatly aid in one’s recovery. Doing so can impact their ability to repair their bodies in order to have the energy to properly engage with other therapeutic programs. 

The Effects of Addiction on Nutrition

There can be a great deal of physical damage done to one’s body as a result of addiction. Between track marks on one’s arm from drug use or the development of liver disease from persistent drinking, the physical component of addiction can be very serious. One’s lungs, digestional tract, skin, and more can all suffer as a result of one’s use of addictive substances. However, this is not the only way in which the body can be affected by addiction. It can also directly impact one’s dietary choices. 

Addiction can cause an individual to reprioritize their diet, and they may begin to choose the use of an addictive substance over regular meals. Budgeting may cause an individual to put money that was once set aside for meals towards their addictive substance instead. It is also common that an individual may even forget about meals throughout the day altogether, either skipping meals or relying on fast food. 

This can leave the body malnourished, less prepared to cope with the other effects of addiction, or not have the energy to effectively tend to daily responsibilities. Addiction’s ability to impact one’s nutritional intake can also leave them without the energy to engage in therapeutic techniques that could effectively heal the damage done to their bodies.

Reprioritizing Nutrition and Planning a Diet

In recovery, taking time to plan one’s diet and nutritional intake is important. While nutrition is an easy aspect of recovery to overlook—especially as one focuses on the emotional and mental factors—it still directly impacts all other areas of one’s recovery. 

One’s diet can be effectively put into a routine throughout the day by establishing regular and concrete meal times for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Not only can this routine help an individual structure the other aspects of their day, but it also helps ensure they are not overlooking their nutrition or forgetting about meals throughout recovery. 

Having a concrete routine can also prevent the use of quick, rushed meals. These rushed meals, such as microwaveable meals, fast food, or sweet treats have less nutritional value and can be inconsistent in their time of day, compromising one’s routine. 

This routine can also help prevent the development of eating as a replacement addiction or coping strategy during recovery. While it can help an individual remember to eat all of their meals each day, it can also limit one’s meals to only the essential times. 

Prioritizing Healthy Meals

Balancing one’s meals is paramount throughout recovery. While eating regularly is good, it is important that an individual’s food also provides sufficient energy to help them through their daily stresses. Eating meals such as healthy, cooked meats paired with salads (while moderating one’s use of sweets) can help ensure that one’s meals are rejuvenating. Consuming whole wheat bread, leafy greens with lean meats such as chicken or fish, and replacing sweets with tree nuts or sunflower seeds can all be healthy and impactful alternatives. 

Learning to Cook

Cooking is a fantastic skill to learn throughout recovery. Cooking meals for oneself or others can help to continuously develop life skills and create new ways to communicate and connect with others. It also forces the individual to regularly focus on the meals they are eating. 

Knowing What to Avoid

Prioritizing healthy alternatives and balancing meals between meats, vegetables, fruits, and dairy all help to promote a new, healthy, sober lifestyle. However, some kinds of food can be actively detrimental to one’s recovery. 

High sugar contents can provide a false kind of energy. They can even cause an individual to gain unhealthy weight during recovery without providing the energy needed for one’s daily responsibilities. Overly fatty substances can further continue to affect one’s energy levels, self-image, and self-confidence. 

Consuming caffeine is also crucial to avoid. Caffeine can keep an individual awake far past their bedtime and compromise a good night’s rest in recovery.  It can also heighten one’s feelings of anxiety, panic, or hypervigilance throughout their day, introducing unnecessary stresses and hurdles into one’s daily recovery. 

Nutrition is a crucial component in recovery. At Chateau Recovery, we understand the need for an effective nutritional element to your substance abuse recovery. Our comprehensive approach to recovery includes our nutritional counseling that helps you create an effective and beneficial dietary routine throughout recovery. A number of other therapeutic approaches pertinent to your needs and goals will also be provided. Individual and group therapy, art therapy, education, family plans, and medication-assisted therapy are all options available to your unique situation. Our professionals are ready to work with you through each step of recovery to find the best path to a healthy, sober future. We also create a comfortable, safe atmosphere where peers can continue to help and push each other to create an effective and healthy lifestyle. For more information on how we can personalize your time with us, or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your unique situation, call us today at (435) 222-5225.

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