The old saying goes “you are what you eat.” And while drugs and alcohol aren’t strictly eaten, the phrase still holds true. Addicts who consume immense quantities of these harmful substances are doing damage to their bodies and are often extremely malnourished as a result. This poor nourishment leaves a body feeling sick and tired, which may spur an addict into using to make this feeling go away. While traditional drug addiction rehab is necessary for these people, a full recovery requires introducing a therapeutic nutrition program as well.
A balanced diet free of processed foods will give the addict long-lasting energy and regular digestion. This feeling may have been missing from the addict’s life for weeks, months, or years. This improved sense of general well-being helps recovering addicts appreciate being drug-free, and helps them resist going back to using.
Since addiction is a disease of the brain, an addict’s diet should be rich in foods that promote brain health. Foods like meats, nuts, beans, and cheese are rich in amino acids, the building blocks of protein. The body uses these acids to repair neurotransmitters in the brain damaged by drug use. Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of healthy fat found in fish and grains like flaxseed, promotes the production of dopamine, a pleasure-causing chemical in the brain that is deficient in addicts’ brains. Consuming these nutrients and helping to repair the brain can make it easier for an addict to abstain by reducing the effects of addiction on the body.
Some rehabs for drug addiction, such as The Ridge, keep chefs on staff to ensure that patients are getting the blend of vitamins, proteins, and unprocessed foods they need for a strong, recovery-based diet. This way, programs like The Ridge can work on healing the body while they focus on healing the mind. Some of our best success stories feature clients gaining five to fifteen healthy pounds after they were emaciated by years of drug or alcohol abuse. But even aside from diet’s therapeutic value, eating delicious, multi-course meals every day has the more immediate effect of making rehab for drug addiction much more enjoyable!