Drug addiction continues to be a growing problem for American families. In fact, according to recent statistics compiled by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), illicit drug use has increased more than eight percent since 2002. For families and friends forced to watch a loved one struggle with the pain of drug addiction, these numbers can be particularly unsettling and leave them looking for more information for dealing with drug addiction. Some of this information includes the role of nutrition and how it can affect someone caught in a cycle of drug abuse.
Does nutrition play a role in beating drug addiction?
People who become dependent upon drugs often lose all interest in maintaining a healthy diet. In fact, some drugs, including methamphetamine, often remove the urge to eat and cause drastic weight loss to occur. Starving the body of the nutrients and calories it needs to maintain normal body and brain function are known to negatively impact mood, which can make it more likely that a drug abuser may mistake signs of hunger for drug cravings, and strengthen the addiction problem.
What foods and nutrients are helpful for those battling addiction?
The poor eating habits typically associated with those who are dealing with drug addiction issues often cause deficiencies of the important vitamins and minerals needed to maintain good physical and mental health. These deficiencies include vitamins D, C, E, A and iron, as well as other important trace minerals found in a healthy, balanced diet.
When people battle addiction, they often find themselves eating whatever foods are convenient or avoiding food altogether. Convenience foods are typically highly processed and filled with potentially harmful ingredients like corn syrup, artificial flavors and colors, unhealthy fats and oils, and preservatives. When substance abusers eat these foods they may find themselves feeling a sugar rush and then crashing afterward. For addicts, this rush followed by a crash effect may even help to stimulate cravings for the drug they are battling as they seek to restore the rush or high.
Combating the effect of dietary deficiencies relating to drug abuse can be helped by eating a diet of whole, fresh foods that are minimally processed. Fruits, vegetables, eggs, meat, and healthy carbohydrates, such as root vegetables, rice, and beans, will provide plenty of fiber, protein, and energy required for the stable blood sugar levels that may help the substance abuser avoid cravings.
For more information on drug addiction help, including the importance of good nutrition, consider speaking with a reputable counseling program in your area. They will be able to offer you information that may be helpful in getting your friend or loved one to enter a treatment program and work toward a healthy, drug-free life.