The effects of alcohol and drug abuse are devastating to the human body. Recovering from alcohol addiction is a gradual process, and one of the many concerns that must be addressed is nutrition. Alcoholism is particularly tough to overcome since the detoxification process is complicated (requiring close monitoring, support, and medication). A treatment center usually provides excellent treatment and recovery services for any individual experiencing alcohol and drug abuse problems.
Generally, alcohol is usually difficult to avoid in normal social situations. Food is essential for the body’s reconstruction and maintenance of health. Alcohol addicts tend to:
- Lose appetite and consume less food
- Increase nutritional loss due to vomiting and diarrhea
- Consume less nutritious foods and/or skip meals
- Damage their gut, and it becomes challenging to properly absorb nutrients
Food has a significant impact on how the brain works. You may feel anxious and irritable if your body does not produce enough brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) or if the chemicals are out of balance. Also, you may experience food cravings, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. The tension that results can impair your memory and make you feel paranoid, fatigued, unhappy, or depressed.
Effects of alcohol addiction on nutritional behaviors
Individuals who abuse alcohol are often unconcerned with their diet. Even people who were previously healthy tend to lose track of their good eating habits as their desire to find and take alcohol intensifies. This causes a two-fold nutritional issue because, even if someone eats healthy and acquires all their nutrients, alcohol hinders them from being absorbed effectively.
The pancreas and liver are two critical digestive organs that are also adversely affected by alcohol consumption. The pancreas produces enzymes that aid in the digestion of lipids, proteins, and carbohydrates. It also generates hormones that help to keep blood sugar levels under control.
Toxins, including alcohol, are broken down by the liver, and if it stops functioning efficiently as a result of heavy drinking, the alcohol will remain in the bloodstream for a long time causing damage to the digestive system.
The deficiency of these nutrients causes anemia, making the individual feel cold, frequently dizzy, and lethargic. Additionally, they may also experience shortness of breath and severe headaches. Thiamine deficiency is usually dangerous since it increases the chances of individuals developing neurological disorders such as Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome.
Alcohol addiction typically results in severe deficiencies in essential nutrients such as:
- Thiamine, or B1
- Vitamin B6
- Folic acid
Importance of healthy nutrition in alcohol addiction treatment
Without the right diet, your overall health deteriorates if you suffer from substance abuse. The body and brain need food to function normally. Food is primarily known to fuel the body throughout the day when it’s broken down to glucose which is usually stored in the body for future use or released into the bloodstream to generate energy. Persistent alcohol use and poor diets quickly result in malnutrition.
Healthy nutrition is a crucial tool in alcohol addiction treatment. Complex carbohydrates provide an individual with steady and long-lasting energy. Alternatively, vitamins A, B complex, C, and zinc rich diets help restore deficiencies. It’s also essential to drink plenty of water frequently to avoid dehydration caused by alcohol use. Consumption of foods high in proteins and fibers helps rebuild your muscles initially weakened by malnutrition.
As the body begins healing from the inside out, the individuals in recovery start feeling the difference that the healthy diet makes, such as:
- Increased energy
- Improved mood
- Stronger immune system
- Reduce risks of diseases
- Better memory
- Repair of damaged body tissues and organs
A healthy diet a key aspect in addiction treatment; it helps the person recovering from alcohol addiction to feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically. Active alcohol addiction usually causes a significant amount of stress to the body and brain. Thus, a proper nutritional guideline will help both the body and mind to recover from the damage of prolonged alcohol consumption.
Maintaining a proper diet is important in the healing process required to stay and become sober. So, without a healthy eating strategy, the individual may trigger a relapse and begin using alcohol again. When the mood of the recovering person is boosted, they get a more positive outlook regarding recovery, which in some cases reduces the risks of having a relapse.
There are many benefits associated with diet and nutrition during alcohol addiction recovery. Generally, it’s not about reaching goals but finding the balance of body, mind, and spirit in sobriety.
Alcohol addiction treatment centers tend to use holistic approaches to help alcohol addicts recover from substance use. Healthy eating habits are crucial for everyone, but they are especially critical for persons who are recovering from alcohol addiction. Even short-term addiction can be extremely damaging to the body, as it’s forced to work extra hard to eliminate the toxic substances and protect itself against the
damage they cause. In order to restore the damage that addiction causes to the body, it is important to achieve a nutritional balance.