When you are in the throes of addiction and struggling with constant cravings, it may seem as if nothing could alleviate your symptoms, let alone a few tweaks to your diet and lifestyle. Addiction is a disease just like diabetes or cancer, and like many diseases, proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle are an integral part of recovery. The right lifestyle changes can help you feel happier and healthier, and reduce your need to rely on drugs or alcohol to cope with stress, low self-esteem, or mental health challenges.
At Toronto Addiction Centres, we will listen to what you need and then help you find a facility that offers the right rehab program for you.
Why Your Lifestyle Matters
The food you eat is like the fuel you put in your car. Put the right fuel in, and you’ll have a healthy brain and body. Fill up on processed garbage and your brain will be like an engine filled with sludge. Likewise, the environment to which you expose your body and brain matters. People who are subject to an endless stream of trauma and dysfunction are more vulnerable to addiction. Bored addicts are more likely to relapse to get some entertainment, and addicts with a history of weight issues may turn to binge eating to cope with withdrawal.
Lifestyle remedies alone are unlikely to cure you, and a simple change to your diet won’t magically make withdrawal symptoms disappear. But a healthy mind and body are better equipped to grapple with the challenges of withdrawal, and more likely to weather the long-term storms of recovery. When you fill your body with healthy food and find healthy ways to enjoy your life, your temptation to use drugs and alcohol will steadily diminish, eventually disappearing altogether.
Don’t buy into quick-fix programs and Internet hype. There is no such thing as a miracle cure when it comes to nutrition. The nutrition adjustments you need to make are unique: there is no diet plan that works for everyone. No matter where you are on your recovery journey, a few nutritional facts are always true:
- Caffeine and other chemicals that make you anxious can make it harder to recover
- Regular, high-nutrient meals can help distract you from your cravings
- Everyone needs a balanced diet that incorporates lean proteins, vegetables and proper hydration
Addiction is, among other things, a lifestyle disease. It fundamentally alters your relationships with loved ones, your ability to do your job, and how you think of yourself. A good rehab team will work with you to assess which parts of your lifestyle are working, and which could use some work. Some strategies that may be recommended include the following:
- Exercise. Research consistently draws a strong correlation between physical activity and the alleviation of depression and anxiety. Exercise also offers a healthy “addiction” to replace drugs or alcohol.
- A regular schedule. Many addicts find that knowing what to expect out of their day—and knowing how to properly manage their time—can greatly reduce stress and control cravings.
- A new hobby. A new activity keeps your thoughts off of your addiction, and can help you locate a sense of purpose.
- Better relationships. Strong relationships make recovery less challenging, but many addicts destroy their closest relationships. In rehab, you can learn how to make amends, repair fractured bonds, and begin building new connections with people who only know you as a non-addict.
Toronto Addiction Centres will assist in finding a rehab program that will help you shape a life of purpose and meaning, where connection is the norm and loneliness is the exception. It is never too late to learn strategies for getting clean while establishing a life you can permanently embrace. When you love your life, endangering it with drugs and alcohol begins to seem less appealing.
Exercise as a Potential Treatment for Drug Abuse: Evidence
Diet & Substance Use Recovery
Nutrition as a Holistic Recovery Approach to Addiction