Proper nutrition plays an important role at our drug and alcohol detox center
Both drugs and alcohol can do a real number on your body. They are often referred to as “mind altering” substances but you wouldn’t be wrong to call them “body altering” as well.
“Substance abuse generally leads to a lack of proper nutrition, either as a result of not eating enough throughout the day or eating foods that are low in necessary nutrients,” Alyssa Salz, MS, RD, LD, explains in a paper published in Today’s Dietitian. “Certain substances, such as stimulants, may suppress appetite and disrupt metabolic and neuroendocrine regulation, leading to improper calorie consumption and impaired nutrient processing. Other substances may lead to an increase in appetite, causing weight gain.”
It may be the weight gain or loss that you and those close to you notice, but the impact of poor nutrition resulting from addiction has very real consequences that won’t be so obvious.
“Nutrition is a process that serves two purposes: to provide energy and to maintain body structure and function. Food supplies energy and provides the building blocks needed to replace worn or damaged cells and the nutritional components needed for body function,” the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) explains. “Alcoholics often eat poorly, limiting their supply of essential nutrients and affecting both energy supply and structure maintenance.”
But that’s not all! The NIAAA goes on to say that, “Alcohol interferes with the nutritional process by affecting digestion, storage, utilization, and excretion of nutrients.” In other words, alcohol robs your body of the essentials it needs to function.
By robbing your body of proper nutrition, alcohol can weaken your immune system. As the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reports, “A weaker immune system will have a harder time fighting off common infections (such as a cold), as well as HIV-related infections.”
Of course, alcohol isn’t the only addiction that’s harmful to your body. The VA goes on to say that, “Smoking marijuana (pot) or any other drug irritates the lungs. You may be more likely to get serious lung infections, such as pneumonia.”
According to the VA, “Other common recreational drugs, such as cocaine or crystal methamphetamine (“meth,” “speed”), can leave your body dehydrated and exhausted, as well as lead to skin irritation. All of these things can make it easier for you to get infections.”
Most people understand that alcohol abuse can seriously damage the liver, but not everyone knows that drugs are also a threat. “The organ in your body that alcohol and other drugs affect most is your liver. The liver rounds up waste from chemicals that you put in your body. Those chemicals include recreational drugs as well as prescription drugs,” the VA says. “A weaker liver means less efficient ‘housekeeping’ and, probably, a weaker you.”
Because the damage done to the body by drugs and alcohol is usually done gradually over time, those struggling with addiction may not have realized quite how much their illness has impacted their health. And that means they may not realize how much better they are going to feel once they are providing their body with the proper nutrition it needs.
At Spring Gardens Recovery Center in Florida, nutrition plays an important part in our alcohol and drug addiction treatment. It is one of the many ways we go above and beyond the typical Florida detox protocols. Vitamin and supplement infusions are also used to help the body heal and support your efforts at recovery. If you have questions about the many other ways Spring Gardens Alcohol and Drug Detox Center by Tampa can help you or your loved one, please call (866) 244-9556.
About the Author
Kelly Fitzgerald is a sober writer based in Southwest Florida who is best known for her personal blog The Adventures of a Sober Señorita. Her work has been published across the web including sites like The Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, Ravishly, SheKnows, Elite Daily, The Fix, Brit + Co, Addiction Unscripted and AfterPartyMagazine. She is currently writing a memoir.