Exercise and Nutrition Instead of Alcohol and Drugs
Substance abuse changes your body and brain. Chronic use of alcohol, for example, impedes nutrient breakdown and assimilation resulting in nutrition deficiency. consistent opioid use can cause gastrointestinal issues and opioid induced constipation. During opiate withdrawal, the body can experience severe vomiting and diarrhea resulting in nutrient depletion. Drugs such as stimulants also wreck havoc on the body suppressing appetite which can lead to an insufficient intake of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Recovering from alcohol or drug abuse is a gradual process, and nutrition is one of many issues that require attention during this process. Nutrition plays a vital role in the addiction recovery process and food is key in helping the body rebuild itself and maintain health. Proper nutrition during the detox and recovery process helps recovering addicts to restore the bodies nutrients, give the body energy, help build and repair organ tissue, and strengthen the immune system. Addiction destroys vital organs during the course of abuse. Proper nutrition provides our clients with the nutritional building blocks they need to begin restoring these damaged tissues. Like proper nutrition, exercise can help with your recovery by lessening potential post-acute withdrawal symptoms you may experience by helping rebuild your body worn down by your alcohol or drug use.
The Role Of Exercise in Recovery
Exercise offers many benefits during the recovery process. Research shows that exercise can increase the amount of new nerve connections in the brain, which will help your brain heal from the harm your drug of choice has been causing. It is important to repair the psychological and physical damage of chemical dependency as well as the damaged mind-body connection. Exercise has been shown to alleviate both physical and psychological stress, but when you exercise your body releases endorphins which create a natural high and calm. The same endorphins released during physical exercise are the same endorphins released while you abused substances. However, the consistent abuse of drugs and alcohol cause chemical imbalances that interfere with a person’s ability to feel pleasure, happiness, and satisfaction. Physical activity during detox and recovery will help you reintroduce natural balanced levels of endorphins in your brain. This not only helps you feel better, but reteaches your brain that it is capable of regulating it's own chemistry and mood in healthy, natural ways.
How Nutrition Plays An Important Role In Our Mental Health
Did you know nutrition also plays an important role in your mood? Research suggests that when changes are made in your diet it can alter brain structure both chemically and physiologically, and influence your behavior. Food influences the way the brain functions. When your body isn’t producing the proper levels of neurotransmitters or if the chemicals are imbalanced, you can feel irritable and anxious. This imbalance can cause mood swings, irritability, anxiety and the inability to sleep. Resulting stress can also affect memory and/or make people paranoid, tired, dissatisfied, depressed, and can even cause relapse. Physical withdrawal symptoms are only the first stage of detox. We often forget about the emotional and psychological withdrawal symptoms that can make long-term sobriety so difficult to achieve. The Emotional and psychological symptoms that occur are often part of the second stage of withdrawal, called “Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome” or P.A.W.S. There is no set length of time that these symptoms may linger. It depends on variables such as age, drug of choice, length of use, environment, and recovery program.
This means while in detox and throughout the recovery process food can be used to help you feel better physically (as the body receive the nutrients it needs to repair damage) and mentally (with foods that can enhance mood and overall well-being). During the recovery process you should consume a diet that will balance the levels of serotonin and dopamine (a hormone that helps with relaxation and the hormone associated with happiness ) in the brain. This involves eating foods high in carbohydrates. Foods high in complex carbohydrates like starchy foods, legumes (e.g., beans, lentils and peas), root vegetables (e.g., potatoes and carrots), pastas and breads work best. Eating these foods in combination with a balanced amount of protein will keep you at your best both physically and mentally.
Post Acute Withdrawl Syndrome
While detoxing from drugs and alcohol, fewer nutrients are available to satisfy nutritional needs since a lot of those nutrients are being used to detoxify your body. Often present during detox, malnutrition deprives the body of its ability to absorb nutrients leading to prolonged or protracted withdrawal symptoms that can last for months and sometimes up to a year. People who consume a large amount of an intoxicating substance for a long time are more likely to develop this physical symptoms associated with the condition, called post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). Proper nutrition can help to relieve these physical symptoms and shorten the duration of the symptoms.
IV Vitamin Therapy Reduces Cravings Withdrawls & PAWS
As a person abuses drugs and alcohol the natural amount of NAD, or nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide is depleted. NAD is a naturally occurring co-enzyme of niacin that helps cells in our bodies produce energy. It does so by converting the energy we get from food into cellular energy. Through administering lab-produced NAD, the levels of NAD are boosted flusheing out all of the drugs that are still in the user’s system, reducing withdrawal side effects and curbing the cravings. Intravenous NAD therapy has been shown to increase neurotransmitter levels such as dopamine and serotonin. Many patients who suffer from anxiety depression and PTSD report that their symptoms are much better after just one treatment.
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