When a person struggles with a substance use disorder (SUD), it’s not just their mental functioning and relationships that suffer. Many people struggling with addiction also experience severe physical consequences—such as malnutrition, tooth decay, or unhealthy weight changes. Sadly, these physical setbacks may give rise to more substance abuse, creating a vicious cycle.
Fortunately, people recovering from SUDs can regain mental and physical well-being with holistic treatments like nutrition counseling programs. If you’d like to learn more about this approach, contact NuLife Behavioral Health at 888.568.2057 or online. Our caring staff looks forward to discussing our effective mental health treatment and addiction recovery services with you.
What Are Some Common Physical Effects of Addiction?
Addiction truly is a many-headed beast. Those struggling with it face many significant mental and emotional setbacks that affect daily functioning, responsibilities, and relationships, and they also suffer physically. While the specific effects of each commonly abused substance are unique, there are a few common impacts of struggling with addiction on the body—such as:
- Greater likelihood of stroke, heart attack, and elevated blood pressure
- Increased risk for multiple types of cancer
- Malnutrition due to nutrient deficiencies
- Organ damage that can lead to full-out organ failure
Addiction may also strain the body’s natural filtering systems, such as the liver and kidneys.
How Are Diet and Addiction Treatment Connected?
In nutrition counseling, a client in addiction recovery typically meets individually with their provider to develop a customized dietary plan. Ideally, this is also paired with counseling on exercise and lifestyle. Together, healthy food and physical activity support elevated mood, emotional coping, and the ability to avoid relapse.
Certified nutrition counselors consider any individual dietary needs their clients may have. These may include food intolerances or sensitivities and the unique features of their recovery journey. As noted, different substances cause different types of damage and thus require specialized nutrition approaches.
Ensuring the body receives the nutrients needed for healing means more energy is available for the rest of the treatment. Nutrition counseling has the highest success rates when part of a comprehensive program, which may include other vital offerings—such as mental health counseling, medication monitoring, and group or family therapy.
What Are the Benefits of Nutrition Therapy to Substance Use Disorder Recovery?
Beyond being a great addition to a more extensive treatment protocol, nutrition counseling is directly relevant to the healing process. Below are just a few of the advantages those in recovery stand to gain from this offering.
Many abused substances leave clients nutrient deficient and malnourished. This state only fuels further cravings for the abused substance. Addressing diet ensures clients get the amino acids, protein, and vitamins required for the challenging, necessary detoxification and recovery process.
Greater Nutrient Absorption and Medication Effectiveness
Nutrition counseling not only focuses on food but on hydration. Getting enough water and other hydrating fluids into clients’ diets helps ensure two critical aspects of recovery. Firstly, the body can fully absorb and use nutrients, and toxins are flushed out. Secondly, any medication clients receive for cravings or pain during detoxification is more effective with adequate fluids to transport and diffuse it.
Reduced Depression and Anxiety
Dips and spikes in blood sugar caused by improper or irregular eating can wreak havoc on mood. Moreover, without adequate dietary amino acids, the body cannot produce sufficient natural mood regulators such as serotonin and dopamine. Unfortunately, depression and anxiety often result. It’s thus essential during treatment to create a dietary protocol supporting consistent and complete nutrition and hydration. Combined with regular exercise, this is a robust foundation for a stable mood and increased emotional coping.
Find a Nutrition Counseling Program in Massachusetts at NuLife Behavioral Health
Don’t wait to learn more about the profound connection between nutrition and addiction recovery. NuLife Behavioral Health’s qualified team is eager to answer your questions about our nutrition counseling program and other offerings. We serve clients in Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, and Massachusetts—and can also offer referrals. Contact NuLife Behavioral Health today at 888.568.2057 or reach out to us online to get started.