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Nutrition Can Aid Your Sobriety

Addicts in recovery are often let off the hook when it comes to bad habits. Why worry about cigarettes or sugary snacks when trying to focus on the main problem? There is a very good reason to worry about those bad habits. A bad diet can negatively impact your recovery, while eating well can help you feel better, help to restore nutritional imbalances and help resist the urge to relapse. 

Substance Abuse Impacts Nutrition

Most addicts pay little attention to what they eat and typically have a poor diet. On top of that, abusing drugs and alcohol can cause the body to become deficient in certain important nutrients. When you drink alcohol, for instance, your body’s metabolism focuses on breaking it down and neglects any nutrients you consume. This results in serious vitamin and mineral deficiencies in people who consume a lot of alcohol regularly. Opiates, such as prescription painkillers, and heroin are also associated with dietary deficiencies and an imbalance in electrolytes.

Stimulants, including cocaine, methamphetamine and prescription amphetamines, typically cause loss of appetite. If you have been using any of these drugs for an extended period, you may have nutritional deficiencies simply from not eating enough. 

The Benefits of Good Nutrition

Everyone can benefit from good nutrition, but, as an addict in recovery, you have an added incentive. When your nutrition is poor, or you have vitamin and mineral deficiencies, you feel bad. Your immune system weakens, your energy is low, and your body is ill-equipped to repair any damage done to tissues and organs by drugs and alcohol. Poor nutrition also impacts your mood and can make you feel irritable or depressed.

By eating well you can restore your nutritional deficiencies and feel better in both body and mind. When you feel better you will be less likely to go back to drugs and alcohol to improve your mood. You will be better able to resist that urge to start using again. Research has proven this by showing that addicts in recovery with poor diets are much more likely to relapse than those who have developed good nutrition.

So how can you be expected to add the task of improving nutrition to your list of goals when you are just struggling to get by as a sober person? Reach out for help. A registered dietician, especially one with experience working with addicts, can teach you about good nutrition and put a plan in place to get you eating better immediately. If you aren’t sure where to turn, ask your drug counselor, support group members or your physician for a referral. When you take the time to ensure you eat well, you will reap the rewards for years to come.

Posted on November 23rd, 2014

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