Drug Abuse and Nutrition
Substance Abuse disorder is a disease that is characterized by an inability in an affected individual to modulate the consumption of the drug, despite the overwhelming negative physical and social effects. This degenerative disease affects over 11 percent of the U.S. population, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In recent years, substance abuse has increased amongst teenagers, with almost 15 percent reporting having used illegal substances.
Risk factors for substance abuse are varied and can include socio-economic standards, genetics, mental health diseases. If untreated, it can lead to a patient being unable to maintain their commitments to their career or loved ones. There is a stigma around addiction and this can lead to many addicts never seeking treatment. There can also be a lack of access to rehabilitation facilities, like drug rehab Austin, or a lack of information about treatment in general.
Drug Addiction can trap users in a cycle where they constantly have to increase their intake of the drug. This occurs as a product of the simultaneous increase in the tolerance to the drug that occurs as a result of regular drug use and the withdrawal symptoms that are felt when patients stop taking the drug. This is why addiction is a particularly difficult condition to overcome without professional help. Professionals likewise, should consider every factor that plays a role in recovery. Nutrition is one factor where its role in the recovery process is overlooked. Given that nutrition can affect our mental health and our body’s ability to handle the rigors of the recovery process, it is worth looking at how addiction affects nutrition and how nutrition affects recovery.
Substance Abuse and Malnutrition
Given the degenerative nature of the disease, the National Institute of Health’s studies has shown a clear link between high levels of malnutrition in those affected with a substance abuse disorder. Long-term use of drugs affects the uptake of nutrients, the regulation of hormones, and decreased appetite in addicts.
Addiction can almost inevitably lead to a user spending a majority of their earnings on the drug they are addicted to, rather than on necessities like medication or food. Their diet can be poor and high in sugary foods, which could increase the risk of developing high blood sugar or diabetes. They are also more prone to being underweight due to the imbalance of carbohydrates and proteins in their diets, which could put them at risk for other diseases. Intravenous drug users are at an increased risk of developing HIV/AIDS and other bloodborne diseases, and malnutrition could lead to the disease progressing faster in the body.
According to research by the Many Hands Sustainability Center, patients can present with the following symptoms:
- Depleted neurotransmitter levels.
- Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar could lead to poor adrenal function.
- Digestive and intestinal problems
- Food allergies.
- Nutritional deficiencies
Nutrition and Recovery
Nutrition plays a clear role in recovery, as it affects a person’s mental health, metabolism, and the functioning of vital organs, according to Medline. This can also affect their ability to endure the symptoms of withdrawal without help at a facility, such as drug detox austin tx.
Alcohol Abuse was linked to malnutrition in its users, specifically causing anemia and diseases caused by a lack of vitamin B and B12. Other complications could include diabetes, cirrhosis, seizures to name a few.
The long-term use of stimulants is tied to a decrease in appetite, memory impairment, and weight loss. The drug also suppresses sleep and can cause chemical and electrolyte imbalances in users.
Opiates, like heroin, can affect the digestive system, leading to problems like diarrhea and vomiting, leading to dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances.
There has been an increase in the study of the links between diet and recovery. Studies done by the Health Recovery Center and by Radiant Recovery in 2009 showed a success rate of between 70-90 percent when dietary factors, like digestive issues, nutritional imbalances, and sugar sensitivites to name a few, were taken into consideration during recovery, alongside the psychological factors.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a Substance Abuse Disorder, reaching out and seeking help is the first step in your road to recovery. Getting in touch with medical help or a rehabilitation facility like drug detox austin, where trained help will ensure the best chances of recovery.