Addiction or not, good nutrition is the need of all. However, if you are suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, it is even more vital. A healthy diet is one of the most essential factors that are needed for lasting recovery. 

When people are active in drug or alcohol addiction, most of them tend to develop poor nutritional routines. Some cases are even worse as addiction causes serious eating disorders in them.

Once you understand the link between recovery from substance addiction and good nutrition, you will know the role of proper dietary habits in defeating the ghost of addiction. In this article, we will discuss how drug and alcohol addiction takes a major toll on your body and how nutrition can be the hero you need in such difficult times.

Effects Of Drug And Alcohol Addiction On The Body

The impact of drug and alcohol addiction on the body is disastrous. Your long-term health and nutrition get badly affected due to addiction. For example, many of us know how alcoholism can lead to liver diseases. Unfortunately, addiction just does not stop at damaging your physical state. It goes well beyond that and can create a wide range of psychological problems such as the inability to absorb crucial minerals, vitamins, and amino acids.

The following are the most common side-effects of alcohol and drug addiction:

Damage To The Organs

Alcohol and drug addiction have the power to damage the organs that are vital for digestion and absorbing minerals and vitamins, such as stomach linings, intestines, pancreas, etc. 

Over Eating

Several substances like alcohol, cocaine, and marijuana can lead to excessive appetite. It can cause sudden weight gain and related health conditions.

Lowered Appetite

Many addicted individuals tend to avoid or forget eating when they are under the influence of a substance and experiencing withdrawal symptoms. This lowers their body weight and can lead to related health conditions.

Malfunctioning in Immune System

A good amount of minerals, vitamins, and amino acids are necessary for the immune system to function properly. Lack of these essential elements can lead to dangerous infections and several other health conditions.

Poor Diets

Most addicted individuals often neglect proper diet as they are busy arranging or taking substances most of the time. Their only priority is to find and take drugs or alcohol. Even if they eat on time, they consume unhealthy diets such as junk foods, expired foods, and foods that have nutritional deficiencies.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Addiction to drugs and alcohol leads to severe health issues related to the GI tract such as leaky gut syndrome, digestive tract inflammation, and irritable bowel syndrome.

How Nutrition Plays A Vital Role In Recovery From Alcohol And Drug Addiction

Substance addiction can severely damage the metabolism and functionalities of the body. It also prevents organs from absorbing the required amounts of minerals, vitamins, and amino acids. In turn, addicted individuals are more likely to fall prey to vitamin deficiencies, sudden weight loss or gain, etc. Overall, their body becomes the host for several health issues. 

For this reason, it is highly important to recognize the need for good nutrition in addiction recovery. It not only kick-starts the repair of affected organs but also supplies the required amounts of energy to the body.

Different Stages Of Addiction Recovery And Substance Addiction

Every stage of your alcohol drug addiction recovery process is different and the nutritional needs of each stage are different as well. You need to keep this fact in mind so that you have the right dietary tools to boost your recovery process.

Nutrition During Detoxification

Out of all the stages of your addiction recovery, detoxification is the most demanding and challenging. It involves several physical side effects such as fatigue, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, etc. This is why the intake of great nutritional food is necessary during the detox to improve the energy levels, health, and overall mood of the patients. 

Make sure you keep the following things in mind when undergoing the detoxification process:

  • Detox can affect your appetite and may decrease your food intake. If you don’t feel like eating hard food, consider other nutritional alternatives such as smoothies or protein shakes.
  • Drug and alcohol addiction leads to deregulation of your digestive system and it can make your body forget what hunger actually feels like. Many addicted individuals often mistake hunger as craving from the substance when in recovery. For this reason, you should plan your diet accordingly. Consider eating three meals per day with necessary snacks. This will help to re-calibrate your digestion and metabolic system. If you fail to eat three meals a day, make sure to work on bringing your body back to the normal routine. 
  • When in detox, nausea is almost inevitable. For this reason, consider foods that are not hard to eat. Increase the intake of easily eatable foods such as yogurt, chicken soup, and Jell-O.
  • When in active addiction, you are more likely to experience vitamin deficiencies. Your nutritionist may recommend or prescribe you vitamins such as vitamin D and B, folate, iron, zinc, etc.
  • If you are suffering from constipation during this stage, consider eating foods that are rich in fiber. Some examples of these are whole grains, leafy greens, and fruits.
  • Remember — many addicted individuals tend to replace their addiction with another addiction. Make sure you do not use your eating habit to fill the internal void so that you won’t face excessive weight gain and other related health issues.

Nutrition Post Detox

Long-term nutritional strategies should be considered once you are done with the detox. Consider working on learning new healthy behaviors, attending counseling sessions, and recognizing triggers. A healthy diet plan is your reliable way to stay strong throughout this process and keep the relapse at bay. Do not forget the include the following activities in your recovery process:

  • Follow a strict diet routine 
  • Keep an eye on your sugar levels
  • Exercise daily
  • Say NO to caffeine
  • Increase your fiber and protein intake
  • Increase complex carbohydrates
  • Take supplements and vitamins


You may be struggling with addiction and you may also be fearful or anxious about the common myths about rehab. We can help you to clear your doubts and assist you in achieving long-term recovery. You are welcome at our treatment center. Give us a call today! We look forward to talking to you.