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What is a Nutritional Therapy Program?
Nutritional therapy programs are created to help those people in substance abuse recovery or recovery from other disorders. It’s to prepare them for their new and improved lives. The therapy program is uniquely designed to fit your needs and is run by a qualified and experienced nutritional therapist. They develop an eating plan that helps you reach your goals of wellness and rebuild your body through proper nutrition and exercise.
After months or years of substance abuse, your body suffers the consequences. Studies show that diet and general wellness are connected, so implementing a program after detox for substance abuse users can help them become physically healthy again. The therapist monitors your progress throughout the program and encourages you to continue eating healthy.
Before initiating a nutritional therapy program, the therapist reviews your health history, physical condition, and eating habits. They take into account allergies or intolerances when developing the plan to ensure there are no problems with the diet. One goal of nutritional therapy is to fit your diet into your life and daily routine easily.
How Substance Abuse Disrupts Nutrition
When someone abuses drugs or alcohol, it depletes their body of essential nutrients and creates a state of malnutrition, meaning the body can’t absorb nutrients. Many people ignore their dietary needs and, instead, rely on the drug or alcohol to “feed” them, both emotionally and physically. When they are using, they can’t distinguish the difference between hunger or something else.
During recovery, individuals may find it difficult to differentiate between malnourishment and withdrawal. Also, weight gain is a concern for those in recovery since malnutrition also results in weight loss. Alternatively, with weight loss, some people may gain weight because they try and replace drugs with food.
Alcoholics are deprived of an important vitamin called thiamine. Every tissue in the body uses this vitamin, including tissues in the brain, heart, liver, and kidneys. Without thiamine, the tissues can’t function as they should. This, in turn, can increase the risk of heart attacks and heart failure. A person’s brain also suffers from deficiency. They are more likely to experience dementia and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.
Another condition from thiamine deficiency is metabolic syndrome, which is associated with elevated blood sugar and pressure, high cholesterol, and too much body fat. The syndrome also increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
When taking opioids, it slows the body down, making people feel sleepy. It also slows down digestion and metabolism, meaning the body can’t efficiently process nutrients from the food they eat. The most telltale sign is indigestion, thus increase of constipation. Opioid withdrawal can disrupt a meal plan, so people may feel nauseated and vomit or have diarrhea during withdrawal. Moreover, these symptoms can prevent food and water consumption at crucial times when the body needs energy.
Those who chronically use stimulants, such as methamphetamines, cocaine, or prescription ADHD medications can drastically lose weight—a primary concern of developing eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa. Individuals who go on cocaine or crystal meth benders can go days with eating or sleeping, so when the bender ends, they’re starving and will often binge eat. This cycle can be brutal on the body and lead to malnutrition. Besides, meth users increase their risk of oral disease and develop more cavities as a result.
Counseling and therapy, along with other holistic treatments, are part of an overall addiction and mental health treatment plan. Coupled with a nutritional therapy program that is structured to meet the needs of the individual, maintaining sobriety is easier. With comprehensive meal plans as critical components of addiction treatment, this can help prevent relapse and assist in recovery.
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