Individuals suffering from drug addiction cause destruction in every aspect of their lives. They lose friends and family, a home, a job, and their own sense of self. One of the most damaged entities of an addict is their bodies. The substances they abuse significantly change and destruct the body and brain. It is the combination of that destruction and the negative life choices that are a result of drug addiction. Addicts have severely irregular eating habits and very poor diets. It is also true that you do not see many addicts at the local gym or jogging down the street in efforts to stay healthy. In reality, it is the exact opposite. Addicts rarely move, although when they do it is to get more drugs or money to get the drugs. Each drug has a different impact on the body and its nutrition. Drug rehabilitation, therefore, must take into account this damage that is caused. Diet is a crucial part of the drug addiction recovery process.
Opiates are a type of opioid derived from the poppy plant. Opiates are prescription pain medications, codeine, Oxycontin, heroin, and morphine. Opiates are one of the most dangerous drugs to be addicted to. They affect the gastrointestinal system. Opiate addicts often suffer from constipation. Addicts going through withdrawal will experience diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. This can lead to a lack of enough nutrients and an imbalance of electrolytes. Balanced meals are important for these individuals recovery, although it can be difficult as a result of nausea. Professionals recommend a high fiber diet that contains complex carbohydrates like whole grains, vegetables, peas, and beans.
Alcoholism is one of the leading causes of nutritional deficiency in the United States. Pyridoxine (vitamin B6), thiamine, and folic acid are the most common nutritional deficiencies. The lack of these nutrients causes anemia and nervous system problems. Korsakoff’s syndrome, also known as wet brain, happens when heavy drinking leads to a lack of enough thiamine. Alcohol also damages two major organs that contribute to metabolism and nutrition; the liver and the pancreas. The liver removes toxins from harmful substances, and the pancreas regulates blood sugar and the absorption of fat. Damaging these organs lead to an imbalance of fluids, calories, protein, and electrolytes. Alcohol also complicates diabetes, high blood pressure, permanent liver damage, seizures severe malnutrition, and shortened life expectancy.
Using stimulants such as crack, cocaine, and methamphetamine reduces appetite and leads to weight loss and poor nutrition. Stimulant addicts can stay up for days at a time. Dehydration and reduced electrolytes can happen during these binges. The loss of weight can be difficult to make up. Long-term stimulant use can result in memory problems that could be permanent.
Marijuana can cause overeating and laziness. Marijuana users could become overweight and must reduce fat, sugar, and total calorie intake. Long-term marijuana use also affects memory.
Diet in Recovery
Due to the harmful effects of drugs on the brain and body nutrition is a major part of the recovery process. Recovering addicts are encouraged to return to eating at normal meal times. They are given healthy diets that are low in fats. To regain strength and body weight, it is important they eat protein, complex carbohydrates, and dietary fiber. In support of a healthy complete body system, they must increase consumption of vitamins and minerals. They could also have benefited from taking vitamin and mineral supplements. Recovered addicts are more likely to relapse if they are not eating well-balanced meals. In conjunction with a balanced meal, recovering addicts are encouraged to get plenty of physical activity and enough rest.
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