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Substance abuse of any kind can produce significant short-term health problems. Even worse, some addictions also cause long-term complications that significantly impact one’s quality of life.
One of the main ways addiction affects the body is by interfering with good nutrition. Over time, substance abuse robs the body of essential nutrients and can encourage self-destructive behaviors that lead to long-term health problems. Nutrition recovery is one of the most important parts of any early treatment plan for individuals struggling with addiction.
How Drugs Affect Users’ Bodies
Every set of chemicals has its own unique effects on the body. While some addictive drugs are toxic on their own, others substances hinder a user’s judgment. Abusing these substances increases their likelihood of engaging in destructive behaviors or neglecting their personal health.
People who abuse alcohol, for example, risk internal organ deterioration and damage to their liver and pancreas. Over time, alcohol damages these organs to the point that the body can no longer control blood sugar levels, metabolism or fat absorption. People with advanced alcoholic tendencies often suffer malnutrition and dehydration as a result.
Likewise, opioid withdrawal entails very unpleasant symptoms including seizures, vomiting, nausea and digestive problems. The body may struggle with nutrient and fluid levels during the detoxification process, making medically assisted detox a crucial part of effective, early-stage opioid recovery.
Unhealthy Lifestyle Patterns
Some drugs cause nutrition issues because of how they change the users’ daily habits. For example, stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine often decrease users’ appetites. People who struggle with stimulant addiction often neglect eating and can quickly become underweight. Stimulants also cause users to stay awake longer and increase their energy output. This can easily cause electrolyte imbalances, dehydration and sleep deprivation.
Nutrition Therapy in Substance Abuse Treatment
The first phase of most substance abuse recovery processes is detoxification. During detoxification, patients are monitored while the drugs in their system pass from their body.
The process of detoxifying patients occurs in tandem with medical professionals restoring their nutrients and hydration levels. Treatment can be extensive, but starting recovery with a healthier body makes the process much easier to handle. After detox, rehabilitation follows.
A Scary Wake-Up Call
Malnutrition and dehydration lead to various health problems and it’s vital to correct these issues as early as possible. In many recovery cases, individuals who struggle with addiction see the effects of their habits on their bodies. This realization startles them enough to acknowledge their problems and seek out treatment.
Drugs and alcohol slowly poison the body and it’s important that those struggling with addiction to recognize this reality before rehabilitation can truly begin. Some people in recovery worry that they’ll never be “normal” again after experiencing substance abuse, but the human body is incredibly resilient. Full recovery is a path that every person who struggles with addiction can strive for.
Nutrition Boosts Recovery
Nutrition isn’t just an essential part of the early stages of rehabilitation; it’s also vital to ongoing healthy living. It’s much easier to stay sober with a healthy body. Many people who have recovered from their addictions report that making healthier nutrition choices encourages better choices in other areas of life as well, helping them to avoid relapse.
At Family First Intervention, we believe that nutrition is essential to overcoming substance abuse. Even when people struggling with addiction feel hopeless about the effects of drug abuse on their bodies, proper nutrition and healthier lifestyle choices make the recovery process much easier.
You can learn even more about hope for the future by checking back on our blog for the latest updates on interventions and recovering from addiction.