Maintaining a drug habit can be costly in more ways than one, including the loss of your health and well-being. Often, people who enter addiction treatment have vitamin deficiency stemming from inconsistent mealtimes and choosing foods that lack sufficient nutrients.
The Link Between Addiction and Malnutrition
Long-term drug and alcohol abuse causes vitamin deficiency by preventing your body from absorbing essential nutrients from the foods you eat. Addiction also tends to accompany other unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as poor eating patterns, lack of exercise and sleep disruptions. These compounding factors increase the risk of developing long-term health problems, including metabolic syndrome, diabetes, hypertension, weight fluctuations and eating disorders.
When taking drugs, you might skip meals, and the food choices you make will likely be unhealthy, consisting primarily of processed foods instead of fresh fruits and vegetables. As a result, you may experience weight fluctuations, digestive issues and metabolic changes.
Substance abuse also increases your body’s dopamine levels, which can suppress your appetite and cause a diminished interest in food. Without your body sending you the appropriate signals, you might forget to eat. As a result, you will probably develop other severe health issues alongside the disease of addiction.
How Does Food Affect Your Mood?
Besides causing vitamin deficiency, eating an unhealthy, imbalanced diet that lacks essential vitamins and minerals can also cause or worsen mood disorders like depression and anxiety. The resulting irritability, sadness or stress might lead you to seek relief in negative coping mechanisms like drinking and drug use, thus precipitating a more rapid progression of addiction.
The truism “You are what you eat” applies equally to your physical and mental health. Eat more of the following foods to experience a boost in your mood and energy level throughout the day.
- Sources of omega-3 acids, which include fatty fish, walnuts and flaxseed
- Fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi and kefir
- Folate-rich vegetables, like spinach, avocados, broccoli and lentils
- Whole grains, including quinoa and brown rice
The Consequences of Vitamin Deficiency
Malnourishment can affect your body in various ways. For example, a vitamin D deficiency can cause depression-like symptoms, while a vitamin B12 deficiency can make people anemic and lead to impaired brain function. The long-term effects of malnutrition include a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes.
You can start reversing some of the effects of vitamin deficiency by eating a balanced diet consisting of fresh produce, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and lean protein. However, after years of substance misuse, you may not know how to solve your nutritional issues alone. That’s why it’s essential to find a treatment program that emphasizes a balanced diet in recovery.
Nutrition’s Role in Substance Abuse Treatment
Substance abuse takes a toll on your physical and mental health, inflicting multifaceted damage on organs and tissues. At Cumberland Heights, we offer a unique treatment environment in rural Tennessee, right outside Nashville. We provide supervised detoxification, medical care, psychosocial therapies, exceptional dining and spiritual, expressive and recreational therapies.
Many members of our clinical team have 10 or more years of experience in recovery care. To start a private consultation with our addiction specialists, please request help today.