Tag Archives: Nutrition

Alcohol Detox And Nutrition

Alcohol Detox And NutritionAlcohol is abused more than any other legal substance in the nation. In fact, almost a quarter of the population admitted to binge drinking sometime within the past month. There are significant fatalities and injuries every single day due to alcohol. Because of the negative short- and long-term side effects, many people are seeking treatment for alcohol dependence to get their lives back together. Detoxification is a necessary first step in the fight against alcohol addiction.

The process of detoxing cleanses the body of toxins while still managing withdrawal symptoms. However, ending an alcohol addiction can be dangerous. Sudden changes to the body are even fatal in some cases, and stopping drinking should always be supervised by an experienced medical facility. Going “cold turkey” should never be attempted without medical assistance from someone experienced in addiction treatment.

Once an individual chooses to detox, it’s completed in either inpatient or outpatient environments—typically dependent on the severity and duration of the addiction. There are three stages of this process: evaluation, stabilization, and transitioning to treatment. Each of them are an important part of ending an alcohol dependency safely and effectively.

Why Proper Nutrition Is Key

Detoxing from alcohol is a delicate time for the body because it’s going through so many changes. Although a reduced appetite may make food one of the last things on your mind, the best way to ensure quick recovery and overall health is to pay careful attention to your diet. The right foods can provide the nutrients necessary to heal and condition you for a future free from addiction.

  1. Stay hydrated - Lots of fluid is lost as your system flushes out and your blood alcohol level returns to normal. Withdrawal can present fatigue, anxiety, nausea, depression, and loss of appetite on its own. Any time these symptoms are coupled with dehydration, they’re exacerbated. It’s important to drink as much water as you can.
  1. Depend on liquid foods like soup - The initial detox period can be very taxing, and it’s not unusual for patients to have difficulty keeping food down. If you rely on liquids during this period, vomiting will be easier and more comfortable if it happens. You can also drink juices to help maintain your caloric needs.
  1. Don’t neglect your vitamins - Alcoholics tend to have several vitamin and mineral deficiencies because alcohol inhibits absorption. B vitamins are most commonly missing, and they’re needed to make energy. Vitamins A, D, E, and K should be supplemented as well. Aside from capsules and pills, they’re found in:
  • Fish (Vitamin A and D, if the fish is fatty)
  • Milk (Vitamins A and D)
  • Almonds and other nuts (Vitamin E)
  • Vegetable oils (Vitamin E)
  • Olive oil (Vitamin K)
  • Leafy greens (Vitamin K)
  1. Avoid excess sugar - Many people who are detoxing find themselves craving sweets and sugary snacks. Avoid eating empty sugar calories, like sodas, and instead opt for fresh fruits. Too much sugar can disrupt your metabolism, and in essence, slow the recovery process.
  1. Balance your diet - Consume a healthy number of fruits and vegetables. Moderate dairy and proteins as well as healthy oils like coconut oil.

Getting The Right Amount Of Exercise

Improving your physical fitness is beneficial as well. Conditioning the body will strengthen your systems, but exercise can also be a way to cope with the effects of addiction. Most people find relief and even euphoria after a workout. People benefit greatly if they can switch their urges to more constructive habits, like swimming or running.

Begin your exercise at a level you’re comfortable with that still offers a bit of a challenge. Rely on past experience to give you a starting point if you’ve ever routinely worked out before. If not, take small steps and set frequent goals. Reaching multiple, modest milestones can fuel a hunger for success and help a person achieve larger goals. These aims, along with the increased physical benefits of exercise, will fight off depression and make it easier to resist temptation in the future.

Detoxification is a fantastic time to build better habits and help your body recover. Focusing on a proper diet and exercise plan could be a crucial factor in the beginning of a new, alcohol-free lifestyle.

The Importance Of Good Nutrition During Detox and Recovery From Addiction

Pathways-- The Importance Of Good Nutrition During Detox and Recovery From Addiction -- 08-23-16Proper Nutrition During Drug And Alcohol Detox

The majority of people entering into a drug and alcohol detox program are suffering from poor nutrition which unless corrected will make their drug and alcohol detox harder than it needs to be, and the difficult side effects of withdrawals during drug and alcohol detox are one of the primary causes that people decide to quit their drug and alcohol detox program early and go back to using or drinking.  In fact it is becoming apparent that proper nutrition during drug and alcohol detox can drastically reduce the withdrawal symptoms and therefore allow for a better likelihood that the person undergoing drug and alcohol detox will complete their addiction treatment and continue to pursue a clean and sober lifestyle.

Alcoholic Vitamin Deficiency

Alcoholics, for instance, are typically low on thiamine (Vitamin B1) in their system as a result of their drinking, and if this deficiency is left untreated it can lead to wet brain syndrome.  This lack of thiamine is usually due to a poor diet, damage to the digestive system from drinking, and the fact that alcohol prevents the absorption of thiamine in the brain.  Therefore, it has been shown that providing large doses of thiamine during drug and alcohol detox can prevent the onset of wet brain syndrome, or at least shorten the time that the person needs to suffer the symptoms of wet brain syndrome during their drug and alcohol detox.

Opiate Addiction Nutritional Deficiencies

Opiate users, on the other hand, are known to suffer from a wide variety of nutritional deficiencies due to poor eating habits during their addiction as well as the physical side effects of heavy opiate abuse, and providing vitamins and supplements during drug and alcohol detox has been shown to lessen the withdrawal symptoms during opiate detox.  This is especially true for methadone addicts.  Methadone is one of the harshest forms of drug and alcohol detox and providing a well-balanced diet as wells as nutritional supplements during the drug and alcohol detox has been shown to shorten the duration of the side effects associated with methadone detox and therefore improve the odds that the person will complete their drug and alcohol detox and pursue further addiction treatment to remain clean and sober.

A Holistic Approach to Treating Addiction Through Nutrition

Addiction is a mind, body, and spiritual disease.  If we can reduce the anxiety and stress during drug and alcohol detox through the use of proper nutrition as well as nutritional supplements, then the person’s mind will be in a better place to cope with the behavioral changes that will be necessary for pursuing a clean and sober lifestyle after their drug and alcohol detox.  Of course, we also need to bring the body along for the ride during drug and alcohol detox or we are setting ourselves up for failure.  By providing proper nutrition as well as nutritional supplements during drug and alcohol detox, we can restore the proper balance to someone’s body chemistry which will reduce many of the physical symptoms associated with drug and alcohol detox and therefore improve someone’s overall feeling of well-being.

As for the spiritual side, it is critical that proper counseling be provided during drug and alcohol detox otherwise treating the mind and the body with proper nutrition will be useless.  Low self-esteem, for instance, is a common factor amongst addicts and alcoholics and it is important to start to identify the issues behind this during drug and alcohol detox.  If the spiritual side is not treated during drug and alcohol detox, then treating the mind and the body with proper nutrition will be fruitless.

At Pathways, we believe in an holistic approach to addiction recovery, and stress the importance of nutritional rehabilitation in the process.