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Addiction and Malnutrition

It is impossible to overstate the myriad effects that substance use disorders can have on the mind—and on the body. One that does not generate nearly enough attention or concern is malnutrition. Those who struggle with addiction tend to not eat well and to not receive nearly the right balance of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients—the effects of which can be perilous, even life-threatening.

The problem is most pronounced among those who are addicted to alcohol. Wine, beer, and other alcoholic drinks are all filled with calories; the problem is, these are empty calories, not offering any real nutritional value. Thus, the individual may drink a great deal, feel full and not eat anything, all the while failing to get the proper nutrients for necessary bodily functions.

Likewise, those who struggle with addiction typically fail to drink enough water. Unintentionally—because they do not feel thirsty—they will avoid water, and therefore they will become dehydrated. Among the many problems with this is the buildup of mucus, which can in turn lead to a heightened risk of infection. Dehydration can also cause exhaustion and even delirium.

Meanwhile, the lack of proper nutrients puts the body at greater risk for cancer, liver disease, and a whole host of other issues. It can cause deterioration of the skin, and can also cause problems with the teeth. All of these symptoms come on gradually, and may initially be easy for the individual to miss.

During the recovery process, restoring proper nutrition is imperative. Good diet is central to effective recovery, as it provides the body and the mind with the strength they need to tackle new challenges. As you pursue recovery from substance use disorders, make sure you work on consuming a well-balanced, varied and nutritious diet.

To ask about treatment for addiction, reach out to WestBridge today.

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