A treatment program that focuses on nutrition can be an important benefit to someone in recovery for drug abuse or alcoholism. When incorporated correctly, nutrition therapy can help lay the foundation for a successful recovery.
A healthy diet in recovery helps individuals struggling with drug and alcohol addiction create a better balance in their lives. A focus on good nutrition, whether during therapy, during detox, or after recovery allows patients to become physically and mentally healthier, and establish an environment that will help them maintain sobriety.
Nutrition Assists in Detox
The first way good nutrition helps in recovery is that it can ease the detoxification process. Certain herbal supplements and vitamins have been shown to reduce withdrawal symptoms and more quickly cleanse the body of toxins. Antioxidants during detox help heal the body from the damage that occurred during addiction. Not only must patients add vitamins and supplements to help the body through detox, but by eliminating other ingredients such as starches and sugars, the body will more quickly stabilize its brain chemistry. Patients who participate in a nutrition-based detox process often find that they can cleanse more easily and get on with the rest of their treatment and recovery.
Nutrition Therapy Restores Balance
The second-way nutrition assists in recovery are during therapy itself. A treatment program that makes use of nutrition therapy will provide patients with healthy, balanced meals, and also supplement their diet with vitamins and amino acids. By supplementing with amino acids, patients replenish neurotransmitters in the brain, which actually help reduce cravings for drugs. With the help of supplements, those in recovery can restore deficiencies in the brain and assist in their recovery and prevent relapse. The right supplements, along with healthy, well-balanced meals, serve as the building blocks for the patient’s new life of sobriety.
When used in addiction therapy, nutrition helps patients balance the body with healthy foods and supplements. Nutrition therapy should also encourage the patient to develop healthy food prep skills themselves. Therapy consists of identifying needed nutrients in certain foods and learning how to prepare healthy foods in order to keep the body free from toxins. Cooking classes are offered for those who want to improve their nutrition during and after treatment. Nutrition therapy not only helps individuals create a healthier lifestyle, but it gives them something positive to focus on other than their addiction.
Nutrition Helps with Relapse Prevention
Nutrition therapy continues to provide benefits to the patient long after treatment. Because drug and alcohol addictions deprive an addict of nutrients, it is even more important during and after recovery to continue to replenish the body and mind with healthy substances. In order to prevent relapse, a newly sober individual should continue to strive for the nutritional balance they worked so hard for in therapy. Keeping the body in balance helps heal vital organs like the liver and kidneys, helps rejuvenate the mind, and helps discourage relapse.
Nutrition therapy is very effective when used in combination with psychotherapy and behavioral modifications. Many individuals find nutrition to be a key component on their road to recovery.