Any type of mental health issue, including substance use problems, can lead to severe nutritional deficiencies and related medical conditions. Nutritional therapy for individuals struggling with these kinds of issues needs to be highly specialized because the dietary problems associated with specific conditions — and in the case of addiction, particular substances — vary dramatically. Unfortunately, few people associate addiction or mental health issues with the need for nutritional counseling. In fact, in terms of addiction, specialists have indicated that nutritional services are among the most critical building blocks of a long-term recovery program.1 And this is why GIA’s nutritional program is one of the central components of our education program.
With proper nutrition, the improvement in physical health leads to improved mental well-being. As numerous studies have demonstrated, there is a direct correlation between the lack of nutritional health and several common mental health issues, including anxiety disorders and depression.2 This means that nutritional therapy is not just important early in the healing process, but it can also help you avoid issues later in the healing process.
The Importance of Nutritional Therapy in Addiction Treatment
There is a very clear link between poor nutrition and substance abuse in particular, and it is common to see nutritional deficiencies among people who abuse drugs and alcohol.
- Opiate addiction can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, which all lead to nutrient deficiencies and electrolyte imbalances.
- Alcohol abuse damages pancreatic and liver functions, which can result in severe electrolyte, protein, and fluid imbalances.
- Alcohol abuse can also result in B1, B6, and folic acid deficiencies essential for brain function. Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to high blood pressure, malnutrition, and even diabetes.
- Cocaine and stimulant abuse can cause weight loss, memory loss, and malnutrition.
- Chronic marijuana abuse can cause cravings for fatty and sugary foods, which can cause weight gain, poor nutrition, and even diabetes.
Proper attention to nutrition and hydration is, quite simply, a critical component of everyone’s physical and mental health, and it is vital for those recovering from addiction issues. People struggling with addiction rarely get the nutrition they need as substances chemically suppress or increase your appetite or do not allow your body to adequately process the nutrients it is receiving.3
Nutritional Therapy at GIA Miami
Maintaining a healthy diet is an essential aspect of a person’s social, emotional, physical, and mental well-being. Maintaining a healthy diet and giving your brain and body the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids it needs to function is of vital importance in the “reprogramming” your brain will undergo as you address your overall mental wellness or addiction issues. Mental wellness and physical wellness go hand in hand, and nutrition is a crucial component that cannot be overemphasized.
After a detailed evaluation and review of your biochemistry, nutritional habits, and preferences, you and your nutrition specialist will devise an aggressive plan to optimize your dietary and nutritional needs. You should view this as a fundamental part of rehabilitation as optimizing nutrition will lead to:
- Physical healing – A healthy diet will replenish lost nutrients and enhance physical healing.
- Emotional well-being – Proper nutrition can enhance mood and behavior and actually assist in reducing depression and anxiety.
- Increased energy – Replenishing your body’s nutritional deficiencies leads to more energy.
- A better immune system – When the body is well-nourished, immunity increases, which protects you from sickness, infection, and disease.
We Give You the Tools You Need
GIA’s nutritional therapy program focuses on replenishing the nutrient deficiencies that damage the mental and physical health of patients struggling with psychological issues or battling addiction. This means providing you with the tools you need to eat consistently balanced, calorically appropriate, nutrient-rich meals. Among the focuses of our program are:
- Personalized nutrition plan – Learning what your body needs, how it processes your food, the importance of balance, and the benefits to your overall health
- Kitchen basics – Focusing on setting up and stocking a kitchen properly, and the basics of cooking, so that you can be self-sufficient and not rely on others for your nutritional needs
- Planning and creating satisfying meals – Planning and preparing balanced, nutritious meals, learning how to shop efficiently, and how to be creative with your diet
- Your diet in the world – Understanding the relationship that your food choices have on your body, the rest of the world, and the environment
- Understanding how to make healthy choices when eating out
By focusing on these and other essential aspects of your physical and mental health, the team in the nutritional therapy program at GIA Miami can help lay the foundation for your future health and happiness.
Reach Out to GIA Health Today
At GIA, our mission is to give you the tools you need to address your mental health and addiction issues. But the process is more complicated than just helping you go through counseling. A life anchored on a foundation of mental wellness must naturally involve treatment of this kind. But it must also balance that with the establishment of routines that will be the bedrock of your long-term healing. Contact GIA online or by calling 833.713.0828 to learn more about our nutritional therapy program.
Journal of the American Dietetic Association – “Nutrition Education Is Positively Associated with Substance Abuse Treatment Program Outcomes”
Harvard Health Publishing – “Nutritional Psychiatry: Your Brain on Food”
Dietetics in Developmental and Psychiatric Disorders Practice Group of the American Dietetic Association – Psychiatric Nutrition Therapy: A Resource Guide for Dietetics Professionals Practicing in Behavioral Health Care