For alcoholics and drug addicts, it’s common (even typical) for their physical health to be negatively affected. Drug and alcohol addiction can cause nutritional deficiencies and a lack of desire for healthy foods. In fact, addicts are often malnourished when they start outpatient drug rehab in Phoenix. The chaotic, unpredictable lifestyle of an addict can also complicate physical health, as addicts often eat processed or fast foods at odd hours of the day.
The only way to stop and ultimately reverse the damage is through quitting drugs and alcohol and leading a healthier lifestyle. To be successful, you’ll need to go through a detox program and start a healthy regimen that includes the right mix of diet and exercise. Your treatment team will start you on this path, but it will be up to you to continue it when you return home.
Why is it Common for Addicts to be Malnourished?
People who struggle with addiction usually have some form of malnourishment. Undernutrition is a condition that occurs when the body doesn’t get enough protein and calories. Overnutrition occurs when the body gets too many calories. Most drugs cause undernutrition.
Here are some of the reasons why addiction and malnutrition are closely intertwined.
- Addicts substitute drugs for food. It’s common for addicts to forgo eating and use drugs and alcohol instead. This deprives them of essential nutrients.
- Alcohol lowers B vitamins. Drinking alcohol directly lowers the body’s supply of B vitamins such as thiamine, folic acid and pyridoxine. This can lead to nervous system dysfunctions and anemia.
- Alcohol damages the liver and pancreas. When these two organs can’t function properly, it affects the body’s ability to absorb and use proteins, carbohydrates and fat.
- Marijuana causes overconsumption. Even without a physical dependence, marijuana users are at a higher risk for weight-related health problems because they tend to indulge in foods rich in fat and sugar.
- Stimulants suppress the appetite. Some people start out with stimulants to manage their weight. Over time, these drugs end up suppressing the appetite and nutrient intake.
- Opiates slow down the body. Opiates cause the stomach and small intestine to slow down. Not only does this make it difficult to absorb nutrients, but also the body can’t extract nutrients and pass them into the bloodstream.
The Dangers of Malnutrition During Alcohol Rehab in Phoenix
As you can see, there are many reasons why addicts struggle with malnutrition. While there are many effective ways to get back on track, the detox process comes first. This process rids the body of drugs, alcohol and toxins. However, it’s incredibly hard on the body, particularly for those who are already dealing with malnutrition.
For this reason, many detox centers offer IV therapy to help addicts go through the detox process. IV therapy helps purge drugs and toxins out of the body while replenishing it with depleted fluids and nutrients. By adding these essential nutrients to an IV drip, people in detox can lessen withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings and promote healing.
IV therapy is safe and effective, which is why it may be used later in substance abuse treatment in Phoenix. Continuum Recovery Center offers a wide range of naturopathic therapies to support the recovery journey, including IV therapy. Our IV treatments include an individualized blend of amino acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to ensure optimal physical health.
What Vitamins are Most Important for People in Recovery?
Ideally, you should get the majority of your vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat. Over time, this will happen. But until you get to this point and are eating a balanced, nutritious diet, it helps to take supplements. Your outpatient rehab in Phoenix can determine the best mix of vitamins to take each day, but here are some to familiarize yourself with:
- Vitamin B1. B1 is essential for the healthy functioning of the brain and nervous system. It also assists with digestion and the flow of electrolytes. You can find this nutrient in fortified foods like bread, cereal and milk.
- Vitamin C. Vitamin C protects the cells and maintains healthy skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage. It’s found in citrus fruits, green peppers, tomatoes and broccoli. If you’re not consuming these foods regularly, you may need a supplement.
- Vitamin B12. This nutrient keeps the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA. B12 also prevents anemia. You can find B12 in animal products (meat and diary) and fortified foods.
- Folic acid. Folic acid has a wide range of functions in the body. It helps tissues grow, forms red blood cells and creates new proteins. This B vitamin can be found in leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, beans and fortified foods.
- Magnesium. Magnesium is a nutrient that regulates muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels and blood pressure. It also makes protein, bone and DNA. Dairy products, fortified foods and whole grains are good sources of magnesium.
Additional vitamins and nutrients that drug rehabs in Phoenix often recommend for recovery are Vitamin A, Vitamin D and zinc. The benefit to IV therapy is that you can receive the perfect blend of nutrients for your body and physical needs.
Follow Your Aftercare Plan for the Best Results
When you return home from outpatient alcohol rehab in Phoenix, be sure to follow your aftercare plan. It will include the vitamins and minerals you should be taking to avoid malnutrition. Most people are eventually able to get this from a well-rounded diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy products.
Hydration is important as well, as thirst can sometimes be mistaken for drug cravings. Staying hydrated also ensures the body is able to function properly and rid itself of waste products. We do recommend staying away from foods that are high in fat, sugar and carbohydrates. These do little to fill your appetite and nourish the body.
To learn more about the naturopathic remedies available through Continuum Recovery Center, please contact us today. We offer vitamin therapy, B-12 shots, supplement and nutrition education to help our clients rebuild their physical health.