The Importance of Good Nutrition in Addiction Recovery

When an individual is trying to recover from drug abuse and addiction problems, they often find that it is not as simple as abstaining from drug use for some period of time, and discussing their feelings and emotions with others. In order to fully recover from drug use, the individual finds that they have to recover from the extensive physical, mental and emotional effects created through drug use. While none of these aspects of recovery should be neglected, none may be so critical to resolve immediately as the individual’s physical health, since it is often their poor health and their physical discomfort that can trap an individual in their addiction, or even cause them to abandon their hard-won sobriety and relapse back into drug use again in the future.

How Good Nutrition Helps With Recovery

Drug use, abuse and addiction can destroy the individual’s physical health both directly and indirectly. Since drugs are chemical substances that interfere with and alter the normal functions of the human body, they can create chemical imbalances in the body that destroy the individual’s physical health condition. Furthermore, since an individual who is addicted to drug substances usually thinks of little else besides obtaining, using and recovering from these substances, they will neglect their dietary needs and further exacerbate their physical health issues. In the case of full-blown drug dependence and addiction, the “normal” an individual experiences while not under the effects of drug substances is so terribly uncomfortable that they remain trapped in drug use indefinitely. It is because their nutrition is so horribly neglected that the individual’s sober “normal” is so uncomfortable, and therefore good nutrition can markedly help with an individual’s full recovery. Good nutrition has even been known to greatly reduce the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms.

The body is actually quite an amazing thing, and can rebuild itself quite well after suffering many different types of damages – even the extensive damages that can be caused by drug abuse and addiction – as long as it receives the proper tools by which to do so. According to “End Your Addiction Now: The Proven Nutritional Supplement Program That Can Set You Free”, herbs, amino acids, vitamins and other vital nutrients as well as high protein, low starch and low sugar foods can help restore the proper chemical balance in the brain, as well as the overall physical health and comfort of the body. “Natural Highs” goes even further, outlining how an individual can experience the benefits of a sharp mind, happiness, calmness and energy through very specific doses of various herbs, amino acids, nutritional supplements and foods.

Whatever path the individual chooses to help rebuild their good nutrition, amino acids are critical to their success. One of the primary ways that drug substances affect an individual is by interacting with, stimulating or even suppressing the natural brain messenger chemicals known as neurotransmitters. Drug use causes a suppression of the body’s natural ability to produce these neurotransmitters, and amino acids can help in recovery by providing the nutrition necessary for the body to successfully re-establish natural neurotransmitter production, thereby helping to reduce the deficiencies that can lead to drug cravings and relapse. Some specific examples of the relationship between drug substances, amino acid deficiencies, supplements and resultant improved behavior include the following:

  • Heroin, alcohol, marijuana and tobacco can lead the individual to feel sensitive to physical or emotional pain and crave comfort or pleasure through drug use. By taking D-Phenylalanine or DL-Phenylalanine, the individual can experience reward stimulation and a lessening of cravings and depression. They may also experience increased energy, some pain relief and natural pleasure.
  • Caffeine, speed, cocaine, marijuana, alcohol and tobacco can lead the individual to feel depressed, un-energetic and without focus or concentration abilities. By taking L-Phenylalanine or L-Tyrosine, the individual can experience reward stimulation, a lessening of cravings and depression. They may also experience increased energy and better focus.
  • Alcohol, ecstasy, marijuana and tobacco can lead the individual to feel low self-esteem, exhibit obsessive and compulsive behaviors, poor sleep, cravings, negativity and more. By taking L-Tryptophan or 5 hydroxytryptophan, the individual can experience lessened cravings and depression. They may also experience better sleep, better appetite control and an improved mood.
  • Valium, alcohol, marijuana and tobacco can lead the individual to feel stressed out and nervous, with tense muscles and difficulty relaxing. By taking GABA, the individual can experience calmness and relaxation.
  • Alcohol can lead the individual to feel stressed and experience mood swings. By taking L-Glutamine, the individual can experience lessened cravings and lessened stress, they can also experience better moods.

There is no doubt that good nutrition is critical to an individual’s full recovery from drug abuse and addiction problems, and that this alone can greatly improve their physical comfort and therefore their outlook on a better, happier future.

5 Factors for Predicting Relapse

Imagine you find a single, flowering weed in your backyard. You are tempted to pull it, because it is a weed, but on the other hand it’s rather pretty and you don’t feel it’ll hurt to leave it there. Then imagine that when you walk outside the next day your entire yard is nothing but weeds, that single weed having taken over everything else in record time. Obviously you’d feel surprised, confused, frustrated and perhaps even overwhelmed. It is safe to say that had you known this was going to happen, you wouldn’t have hesitated to pull that weed out. Drug addiction can feel similarly surprising, confusing, frustrating and overwhelming to an individual – when they first turned to drug use they innocently believed that drugs may be able to help them with one specific problem they had in their life, they didn’t knowingly and deliberately step onto the path that would lead them into overpowering drug addiction. However, as time went on they learned that drugs provided them with relief, which was helpful, and then drugs failed to create the same desirable effects they once did.

As time progressed even further, the individual began to believe that they truly couldn’t live without drug substances as they helped them feel “normal” and able to function through each day. Then one day the individual wakes up to the fact that they have lost control over their drug use, and indeed their life, and they can’t think about anything except obtaining, using and recovering from drugs. They begin to recognize the extensive damages drug use has caused in their life, and they begin to desire freedom and sobriety. Unfortunately, this is far easier said than done, and the drug addict may soon discover that no matter how many times they wake up in the morning and make a personal promise to “quit”, they simply cannot fight the cravings that dictate their every thought, decision and action in life. They may even come to realize they need rehabilitation treatment, but this too can prove to be very difficult, further depressing the individual’s already low self-esteem and self-confidence.

Obviously, it is quite clear that the entire process of drug use, abuse, dependence, addiction and recovery can be frustrating, confusing, overwhelming and quite difficult for the individual to comprehend and manage. That said, there may be nothing quite so frustrating as working long and hard to achieve one’s freedom from drugs, only to relapse back into drug use again at some point in the future. However, if an individual can learn to predict a possible relapse, they can learn how to take action and prevent that relapse from actually occurring.

Predicting and Preventing Relapse

There are several key signs that indicate a relapse into drug use may be forthcoming:

  • Depression.
  • Cravings.
  • Stress.
  • Irritability.
  • Sleep problems.

Each of these factors can cause the individual to believe that drug use is necessary to reverse these undesirable sensations, which can press them into relapsing. Many individuals are under the impression that if they have participated in rehabilitation treatment and then feel like relapsing in the future, this must mean that full recovery is actual impossible for them to achieve. Luckily, they are wrong in this assumption. Full recovery is an ongoing process, not simply a state of existence that “magically” occurs at the conclusion of a rehabilitation treatment program. Ideally, rehabilitation treatment will not only help the individual address the physical, mental and emotional causes and effects of their drug use, but also aid them in developing the skills and abilities they need to carry on with life, overcoming challenges, difficulties and obstacles without returning to drug use. However, this does not mean that an individual who completes a rehabilitation treatment program is automatically guaranteed against all future relapse triggers. As they transition back into normal life environments and routines they may find that they experience familiar feelings or difficulties that press them to reconsider drug use. With strong, supportive aftercare services and individuals, the individual can not only learn to identify relapse triggers, but successfully address and resolve them so that they do not steal away the individual’s hard-won sobriety.

The journey to full and lasting recovery can be long and difficult, but the effort and time put into it is well worth it. After all, an individual’s life is priceless.