Nutritional Education In Addiction Recovery

Addiction recovery is one of the most pressing and most vexing issues facing modern psychology. Combining what we know about the neurobiology of addiction with the often highly individualized psychological circumstances preceding that presents no easy formulas, and ‘one size fits all’ approaches are probably never going to be devised. This makes things problematic for treatment centers, which often rely on group mores and therapies simply because they don’t have the time or the resources to treat all patients individually. One thing we can do with a degree of certainty, however, is help addiction recovery patients to improve their physical health. Where nutritional health is concerned, there is some evidence that this may also aid the recovering addict with their substance abuse battle.

Health And Recovery

Many recovering addicts are in a poor state of physical health. What is more, many of them display little concern about this. For years, they have been knowingly damaging their health, and felt this a worthy price to pay (one of many prices) in order to feed their addiction. Subsequently, their bodies may take on a low priority in their minds – indeed, some even appear to revile their bodies. Others are tangibly distressed by the state in which they find themselves, and are upset at the knowledge that they have, through their own action, damaged their bodies or made themselves ‘ugly’. Still others aren’t particularly bothered in any way about the health or otherwise of their physical forms. All three of these groups, however, despite the disparity in their attitudes, can benefit from nutritional education. Research has shown that ‘nutritional interventions’ aid the recovering addict in more ways than one, and the effects are often consistent across the board (a rare phenomenon in the field of addiction psychology!)

Confidence And Vigor

Part of the benefit of nutritional education is, of course, the fact that a good diet leads to good overall health. Improving the health of addicts makes them feel brighter, livelier, more energized, and generally more able to face the challenges of recovery. The impact of good nutrition works not simply upon the body, but upon the brain as well, and can potentially minimize (or, at least, render the addict more resilient to) the physical and psychological stressors inherent in addiction and recovery. Giving addicts greater knowledge about how what they put into their bodies affects them can help them to resist cravings. Giving addicts the skills they need to feed themselves more effectively allows for a modicum of control over their lives which they may otherwise lack. And helping them back to physical health can enable a degree of body confidence which helps greatly to defeat the kinds of anxieties which may lead to relapse. Of course, such ‘nutritional interventions’ will never work in the same manner for every addict, and they’re far from the be all and end all of recovery – but they can bring more positive effects than one would perhaps expect from something so simple!

Authored by: Mel Silver

Mel comes to her new career as a writer after a battle with EDNOS, which she’d suffered from since her teens. Prior to this, she’d actually spent a lot of time helping other sufferers of eating disorders and addictions. In her free time she still volunteers with charities to give something back to the people who helped her when she was ill.