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How is Nutritional Counseling Used in Addiction Treatment?

Addiction is often referred to as a tri-fold disease that affects the mind, body, and spirit. To overcome addiction, patients must get treatment for each aspect of themselves. While behavioral therapy and counseling help treat the mind and spirit, the body deserves comprehensive, holistic healing, too. 

At Mandala Healing Center, our nutrition program ensures that each and every patient has the resources and guidance they need to begin consuming a healthier diet that will benefit their recovery. By using nutritional counseling in addiction treatment, our team helps patients access the whole-person healing they deserve.

Applications of Nutritional Counseling in Addiction Treatment

Nutritional therapy helps set the stage for a transition away from addiction and into wellness. Since long-term substance abuse combined with a poor diet can affect a person’s health and immune system, it’s important that one’s health and nutrition are a top priority during rehab.[1]

Nutritional counseling is incorporated into drug and alcohol rehab by:

Licensed Nutritionists and Dieticians

Many addiction treatment centers in West Palm Beach have nutritionists or dieticians on staff who can meet with patients to help identify and treat their nutritional needs. They may help with meal planning, education, and hands-on cooking classes.

At Mandala Healing Center, the expert dietician evaluates each new patient and provides continuous re-evaluations throughout the treatment process. These private sessions are designed to help instill healthy eating habits in recovery. 

A dietician or nutritionist can help patients identify poor eating habits and come up with a plan as to how to change them into healthier habits. They can also monitor patients’ progress throughout treatment and make adjustments to their health plan, as needed.

Vitamins and Supplements

If a person has been depleted of a certain vitamin or supplement, the dietician may order nutritional supplements to be taken with the patient’s daily medication. Dieticians work closely with the medical team to analyze lab results and prescribe any supplements needed. Some of the most commonly used supplements during rehab include B-complex, Zinc, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C.

Healthy Meals

Nutrition plays an important role in early recovery. Eating a healthy, balanced diet can reduce symptoms of withdrawal and improve mental health. It can also provide patients with the long-lasting energy they need to participate in therapy and spend all day being active and attentive in treatment. As a result, healthy meals are a crucial part of nutritional counseling in addiction treatment.

A chef may cook homemade nutritious meals and/or patients may be responsible for making their own meals with the help of a nutritionist. These meals should also be sensitive to any food allergies such as peanuts, gluten, and more because the patients’ wellbeing is at the top of mind.

Nutrition Education and Counseling

Healthy eating doesn’t always come naturally–especially when someone is early. People in early recovery often crave sugars, carbs, or processed food. This is because sugar can release some of the same endorphins in the brain as drugs and alcohol do.[2] 

Unfortunately, too much sugar or junk food can worsen depression, exacerbate mood swings, and lead to unwanted weight gain. As a result, it’s important for patients to learn about healthy eating and lifestyle habits. 

At Mandala Healing Center, the dietician facilitates a variety of educational and therapeutic activities that help patients embrace healthy eating habits. Patients may participate in group sessions, games, cooking classes, meal planning, grocery shopping, educational workshops, and more.

Who Can Benefit From Nutritional Counseling in Addiction Treatment?

Nutritional therapy is diverse and flexible. It can be applied to the treatment plan of any individual who goes to addiction treatment. However, it is most useful in the following situations:

Anyone Who is Malnourished After Addiction

Malnutrition is a term that describes a state of imbalance that leads to changes in the body that negatively affect the health of an individual.[1] Studies have found that the vast majority of people who struggle with drug or alcohol use disorder are mal- or under-nourished.[3] 

Participating in nutritional therapy during substance abuse treatment can help these individuals get healthy again.

People Who Struggle With Co-Occurring Eating Disorders

Addiction rarely exists by itself. In most cases, people have co-occurring mental health conditions that make them more susceptible to substance abuse. One type of co-occurring condition is eating disorders.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, up to 35% of individuals who are addicted to drugs or alcohol also have an eating disorder.[4] Whether a person struggles with anorexia nervosa, bulimia, or binge eating disorder, they deserve compassionate treatment that helps them overcome their eating disorder. 

Nutritional counseling is a vital aspect of addiction treatment for people who struggle with disordered eating. Dieticians can work closely with these patients to help them develop healthy eating patterns as well as overcome the urge to act out on their eating disorder.

Those Who Want to Lead a Healthier, More Fulfilling Lifestyle

People don’t have to be malnourished or affected by an eating disorder to want to live a healthier lifestyle. Anyone who wants to improve their eating habits and learn how to fuel their body appropriately can benefit from nutritional therapy during drug and alcohol rehab.

Embrace a Holistic Approach to Recovery at Mandala Healing Center in West Palm Beach

Here at Mandala Healing Center, we believe that total healing begins from the inside, which is why proper nutrition is essential for every individual in recovery. That’s why nutritional therapy is an important aspect of our holistic addiction treatment program.

We treat more than just the symptoms of addiction. We help you heal your mind, body, and spirit so you can recover from addiction and never look back. Don’t wait any longer to get the help you need. Call now to start your recovery journey.