We begin learning about good nutrition in school. We use pictures of healthy foods to figure out how to put together balanced meals. Messages from “food is fuel” to “you are what you eat” drove the message home. When addiction is at play, nutrition and health are not a priority. Most people don’t get enough to eat or choose the right foods when they are battling substance abuse.

Once someone seeks treatment and begins the healing process, they need to realize that nutrition can play a key role. If poor nutrition and lack of exercise have negative effects on an otherwise healthy person, imagine what they can do to someone struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. You can’t be truly healthy if parts of you are still sick.

The problem is so prevalent that the American Dietetic Association (ADA) has officially recognized it, saying, “Many debilitating nutritional consequences result from drug and alcohol abuse. Chronic nutrition impairment causes serious damage to the liver and brain, which reinforces the craving for more drugs and alcohol and perpetuates the psychological aspect of addiction.”

Those entering treatment often do so with health issues related to their substance use. Their immune systems may be weakened. Muscle tone is compromised. Nutritional deficiencies are common. Skin tone, energy levels and sleep patterns may all be negatively affected. That’s why what you eat during treatment is important. The healing properties of organic fresh foods allow the body to reach a balance that helps to reduce cravings, create strength, calm emotions and bring clarity of mind.

The experts agree. “Nutrition makes a difference in the rate and quality of physical recovery, which prepares individuals to function at a higher level in treatment – cognitively, mentally and socially,” according to the ADA.

Back to the Beginning

Residential treatment provides a perfect opportunity to start new habits related to food. Focusing on fresh, whole foods gives someone the best possible fuel for their recovery journey and sets the stage for a healthy life post-treatment.

If you or a loved one is struggling with a co-occurring disorder, call us today.