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Addiction, also known as substance use disorder (SUD), is explained by the American Psychiatric Association as a complex, neurological “condition in which there is uncontrolled use of substance despite harmful consequence,” and, is listed as such in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). An individual struggling with addiction will prioritize satisfying his or her substance cravings above all else and neglect important components of daily health. Although the characteristics of each substance of abuse and their respective effects vary, many of them disrupt physiological functioning and impair the body’s ability to receive proper nourishment. Hence, it is not uncommon for people that struggle with addiction to become malnourished and lack essential minerals and nutrients. Adhering to a healthy diet throughout the recovery process can be beneficial in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Restore nutritional deficiencies: a healthy diet can help an individual in recovery restore necessary vitamins and minerals that were likely depleted during one’s active substance use.
  • Boost mental clarity: certain foods can increase the production of dopamine and/ or norepinephrine that enhance one’s ability to think more clearly and remain more alert.
  • Increase energy: including certain foods (e.g., those rich in complex carbohydrates, protein, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals, etc.) into one’s diet can help to increase energy levels.
  • Improve memory: studies show that integrating certain foods into one’s diet can help protect against and possibly reverse cognitive decline associated with addiction.
  • Enhance immunity: eating a varied and balanced diet can help to improve one’s immune system and strengthen immunity.

It is important to note that the neurotransmitters (chemicals that are responsible for regulating behaviors) in one’s brain are controlled by what an individual ingests. During recovery it is often recommended that people eat meals that integrate foods that are high in carbohydrates, especially the complex carbohydrates found in starchy foods like legumes (e.g., beans, lentils, and peas), root vegetables (e.g., potatoes and carrots), pastas and breads, along with protein. Cultivating healthy nutrition habits is essential for any individual and can play a crucial role in one’s recovery process, as a nutritious diet can enhance physical and mental health and improve one’s emotional wellbeing.

For Information and Support

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcomed to contact anytime us via email at admissions@hhtxc.com.