Drug and alcohol addiction almost always means malnutrition of some kind. Whether it’s because the drug decreases the appetite or because the cost of the drug sucks up the food budget, few active drug and alcohol addicts get the nutrients they need through food. Dehydration is also a common issue. Without enough water, the body can’t properly process food and absorb the nutrients necessary to function. It becomes very important during drug and alcohol rehab for patients to get nutritional counseling and focus on eating the right foods as they undergo drug detox and addiction treatment.
Each drug behaves differently in the body and causes malnutrition and associated disorders in different ways. For example, alcohol generally makes up more than 50 percent of the calories ingested by alcoholics, and few who drink regularly eat enough of their calories to get the nutrients they need. Additionally, alcoholism impairs the liver and the pancreas, making it difficult for the body to process toxins out of the system and destroying these two organs. Alcohol also depletes the body’s stores of vitamins B, A and C, and without the right foods to replenish these essential nutrients, other health problems develop.
Those who are living with a heroin addiction, OxyContin addiction, Percocet addiction and addiction to other painkillers will experience an extreme slowdown in their gastrointestinal system. Many opiate-addicted patients have constipation during addiction and then diarrhea when they attempt to stop using their drug of choice during opiate detox. Any disturbance to the gastrointestinal system means that nutrients are not absorbed properly – even when the addicted patient eats properly, which is rare.
Crack, cocaine, meth amphetamine and stimulant prescription medication all work to decrease the appetite. In fact, that’s a common reason for abuse – hope for weight loss. Unfortunately, not eating enough means not getting enough nutrients or calories for the body’s organ systems to function properly. Just like anorexia, stimulant addiction can kill its victims through malnutrition as the body shuts down.
A common issue among those living with marijuana addiction is a craving for carbohydrates. Nutritionally speaking, this can cause a lot of problems. Issues that come with being overweight or obese are not uncommon and though more than enough calories are being consumed, they often aren’t the right kinds of calories. Foods that contain necessary antioxidants, vitamins and minerals are often overlooked in favor of high-calorie, high-carb foods. The problem of malnutrition strikes in this type of addiction as well.
Every drug rehab program should include at least a cursory look at the nutritional effects of addiction on the body. Learn more about drug detox and drug addiction treatment options near you by calling us today.