If you have been abusing drugs and alcohol for a long period of time, that lifestyle can end up drastically damaging both your short-term and long-term health. Many addicts do not eat nutritious food, or much food at all, and the vitamins and minerals from any food they do eat are often not properly absorbed.
Alcohol and drug abuse take a major toll on the human body. Various drugs will cause harm to your body in different ways – and abusing substances for a long period of time will leave a mark on your physical health. For example:
- Heroin – Can lead to collapsed veins, infections, abscesses, arthritis
- Meth – Causes lung, liver, and heart problems, dental issues, insomnia
- Cocaine – Can lead to gastrointestinal problems, difficulty swallowing, nasal passage problems, insomnia
- Alcohol – Can cause stomach and heart issues, muscle cramps, damage to digestive track, weakened immune, skeletal, and muscle systems, pancreatic and liver issues
Eat Good, Feel Great
Recovering from alcohol or drug abuse is a gradual process and getting healthy after addiction requires attention to your mind, body, and spirit. Beneficial for all three and a good start to getting your health back on track is your nutrition. Nutrition is one of many issues that require attention. Food is vital in helping the body rebuild itself and maintain health.
Food influences the way the brain functions. When your body isn’t producing enough brain chemicals or the chemicals are out of balance, you can feel irritable and anxious. You can suffer from food cravings, anxiety, and an inability to sleep. The resulting stress can also affect memory and/or make people paranoid, tired, dissatisfied, or depressed.
Once you’ve started detoxifying from substances, consuming certain foods can help your body and mind to heal in the best way possible. Particular foods such as fruits and vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats, are able to repair physical damage, lift your mood, decrease withdrawal symptoms and ease cravings.
In addition to getting your nutrition back on track in recovery, exercise also helps to repair the body by encouraging new muscle tissue growth – and improving the body’s overall physiology. In addition to repairing the body, exercising after addiction also helps to restore brains – as it provides a sort of “high” as natural chemicals in the brain are released in healthy amounts.
When you are going through recovery you probably have met a couple of sober people through support groups such as AA, NA, or another group. It is important to stay connected with others in the program. When you are sober life will still show up and you don’t have your drink or drugs to deal with it anymore. That is what these groups, friends, supports, whatever you want to call them, are there for.
Staying connected works because it allows you to see that others are working through similar problems as you. Sometimes, you may feel like you are the only one who deals with various issues, such as financial or family struggles. However, these people in recovery show you that you are not alone. Furthermore, they will help you build your resolve to stay away from the substance you were on before as a means of coping with your problem. In addition, you may gain long-time friends that you may have never had before.
Slow and Steady
More times than not, it is often that a person who has recently recovered from addiction assumes that he or she is ready to charge back out into the world and take life by the horns, only to fall flat on his/her face and relapse. You may feel great, reinvigorated, and recharged, and you should absolutely live life to its fullest now, but don’t take on more than you can handle yet. The pace of life is likely to be quite different now, and it is very well worth it to take some time readjusting.
We at Garden State Treatment Center can help you get on the right track to living healthy again or for the first time. We are an outpatient and partial care addiction treatment facility that offers nuanced levels of care for individuals struggling with the horrors of substance abuse. It is our explicit goal to help addicted clients rebuild their lives from the inside out and reintegrate themselves back into society. Get back to living today.
How to get healthy after an addiction?
Recovering from addiction and regaining health is a multifaceted process that often requires a combination of medical, psychological, and lifestyle interventions. Here are steps that can be taken to get healthy after struggling with addiction:
- Detoxification: The first step often involves detoxification to rid the body of the substance. This process can have withdrawal symptoms and should be done under the supervision of a healthcare professional who can provide the necessary support and, if needed, medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms.
- Professional Treatment and Counseling: Engage in a treatment program that may include therapy, counseling, and possibly medications. This can include inpatient or outpatient treatment programs, depending on the severity of the addiction and the resources available.
- Support Groups and Peer Support: Attend support groups or engage in peer support. Twelve-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are common, but there are also other non-12-step options available.
- Physical Health: Focus on physical health by eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and ensuring adequate sleep. This can also include consulting a physician to address any physical health issues that may have arisen due to addiction.
- Mental Health: Address any underlying mental health issues. Addiction often co-occurs with mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety. Therapy, medication, and other interventions can be helpful in addressing mental health concerns.
- Building a Support Network: Surround yourself with supportive friends or family members. Having a support network is important for providing encouragement and accountability during the recovery process.
- Engage in Meaningful Activities: Find hobbies or activities that are meaningful and enjoyable. Engaging in positive activities can help to build a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
- Develop Coping Skills: Learn and develop coping skills to deal with stress, cravings, and triggers that might lead to relapse. This might include mindfulness, meditation, or learning how to manage negative thoughts.
- Continuous Monitoring and Relapse Prevention: Understand that recovery is an ongoing process. Continuously monitor for signs of potential relapse and have a plan in place for how to deal with them.
- Set Goals: Setting short-term and long-term goals can help provide direction and motivation in the recovery process.
It’s important to remember that recovery is often a non-linear process, and it can have its ups and downs. It’s also individual, and what works for one person might not work for another. Seeking the guidance and support of professionals and loved ones, and being proactive in taking steps towards health is critical.