Everything You Should Know About Nutrition and Addiction

Drug or alcohol use takes a massive toll on your body. Drugs and alcohol can affect the way that your brain regulates neurotransmitters, and the health of your cardiovascular system. But too often, the impact of addiction on nutrition gets overlooked.

Most people who are actively using don’t have the bandwidth to focus on eating healthy. When you’re living in the chaos of active addiction, you’re unlikely to go through the extra steps of preparing a meal that nourishes your body. Even when people get sober and enter recovery, the day-to-day demands of maintaining sobriety can push healthy nutrition to the back burner.

However, eating well can help your body repair the damage done by drug or alcohol abuse. That’s why more treatment centers are incorporating nutrition into their accommodations and lessons. Proper balanced nutrition can give you the energy to face the demands of recovery, and help you feel valued and deserving.

Here’s what you should know about addiction and nutrition, and how to get yourself back on track.

Addiction is linked with poor nutrition

Many people who abuse drugs or alcohol also have poor nutrition, research has shown. There are a few reasons for this: people with substance use disorder may not be educated about the importance of nutrition. Even if they know what they should be doing, they often live in environments that make it difficult to prepare nutritious foods, research shows. If your housing isn’t secure, for example, you’re less likely to think about creating healthy meals.

The habits developed during a period of active use can be hard to break. People who are in treatment for opioid addiction eat fewer fruits and vegetables than the general public, but eat more sweets and foods that do not have a significant vitamin content.

Using can leave your vitamin and nutrient stores depleted

Over time, using drugs or alcohol frequently affects the stores of vitamins and minerals in your body. People who abuse alcohol have lower levels of these vitamins:

  • Vitamins B6
  • Vitamin A
  • Thiamine
  • Riboflavin
  • Pantothenic acid

Drug use is also linked to mineral deficiencies, including:

  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Chromium
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium

Together, these deficiencies can have a big impact on your health, causing symptoms that range from depression, confusion, skin issues, hair loss and anemia. They can also make the symptoms of withdrawal worse, so some researchers recommend incorporating nutritional supplements into medically-assisted treatment and withdrawal.

Nutrition can impact your recovery

What you’re eating during the withdrawal and treatment process can impact your outcomes. Research shows that eating more protein and complex carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables and whole grains can boost the success of a methadone program.

“Methadone maintenance treatment, itself, is not a favorable approach until it is coupled with proper diet, due to negative role of vitamins and minerals deficiencies in the withdrawal process,” researchers wrote in one study.

Eating healthy isn’t about weight loss

Let’s be clear — eating healthy has lots of great benefits. While a balanced diet can help you maintain a proper weight, the real benefit of eating well in recovery isn’t about a number on the scale, but about nourishing your body and healing it. A balanced approach to nutrition lets you have treats, but also learning to give your body all the nutrients and vitamins it needs. So don’t worry about the scale, which might leave you discouraged. Instead, focus on how healthy eating makes you feel.

Where to start

Completely revamping your approach to eating can be overwhelming, especially in the midst of trying to achieve and maintain sobriety. So, when it comes to building good nutrition, don’t be afraid to start small.

Here are a few steps that can help replenish your body:

  • Take a multivitamin. Although this isn’t the same as getting your recommended daily nutrients from food, it’s a simple, easy step to help build up nutrients and avoid deficiencies each day.
  • Add more fruits and vegetables. One simple way to build more nutrients into your diet is by focusing on fruits and vegetables. Challenges yourself to incorporate a fruit or vegetable into every meal. Cut up health plant-based snacks and leave them outside so you’re more likely to grab those when you’re hungry.
  • Focus on color. If your plate is colorful, changes are you’re getting an array of different vitamins. See how many different colors and textures you can incorporate into your meals and snacks.
  • Talk to your doctor about nutrition. Open a dialogue with your treatment professionals about nutrition. If you’re open to it, ask for a referral to a nutritionist who works with people in recovery. He or she will be able to help you identify meals that satisfy your taste buds, while also nourishing your body.

Learning about nutrition, exploring new dishes and finding out what works for you can be a fun pastime in early recovery, and leave you feeling much better. 

Learn more about Oceanside Malibu at http://oceansidemalibu.com/. Reach Oceanside Malibu by phone at (866) 738-6550. Find Oceanside Malibu on Facebook.

By: The Fix staff
Title: Everything You Should Know About Nutrition and Addiction
Sourced From: www.thefix.com/everything-you-should-know-about-nutrition-and-addiction
Published Date: Mon, 15 Mar 2021 07:54:06 +0000

At New Horizon Drug Rehab, we understand addiction. If you or a family member are afflicted with addiction or substance abuse we can help. We work with the top centers throughout the US to provide the best detox and addiction treatments available.

Call Now: (877) 747-9974

Intimacy and Alcohol

My EX-WIFE WAS the only person I was ever intimate with in the absence of alcohol. She was the only person that I trusted and loved so completely that I felt free being me. But when alcohol and its destructive aftermath reached its limit, she left me and my world went to pieces.

I don’t blame her. I was difficult to be with. A recovering alcoholic can be a handful.

One year after my divorce, I started dating again. I thought I was ready to deal with life and seek out new relationships. It became increasingly clear that alcohol was my shell, my protection from having to be the true me, whoever that was. I had to face new relationships without alcohol in my system.

I felt like a hermit crab that just outgrew its shell and felt totally exposed.

On the dating scene I felt cheated. I couldn’t sip wine over romantic dinners or laugh easily at light moments. I felt defective, as though I didn’t fit the mold my date was looking for. Sex was so easy drunk. you could be or act any way you wanted, and then blame it on the alcohol.

I entered into several relationships and found myself pulling away. I was scared. I was unable to successfully achieve intimacy. I was so embarrassed. The questions swirled. how do I let myself get close to someone that I don’t completely trust—knowing it’s just me, myself and I, with no buzz, no protection? If the woman I date drinks alcohol but seems to accept me, how do I know it will last? Will she get tired of me like my ex? If I date someone who doesn’t drink alcohol, how do I open up? how do I enjoy myself knowing it’s just us? If I give in and drink alcohol, I know I will die.

I am now nearly nine years into sobriety, and it’s been four years since my divorce. I am starting to learn to love again. It took time, self-care, therapy and patience. No magic formula. I can’t tell you that I still feel entirely comfortable. Sometimes I want to get drunk and just let loose. But that’s my problem. Those are my hang-ups and they come from lack of self-love. I am a work in progress. I am so happy I don’t give in and drink again. Sobriety is a journey with many chapters.

I sometimes feel like I am missing my shell. I am coming to the realization that hermit crabs need shells for survival. I am not a hermit crab. The only thing hiding in a shell will accomplish is keeping me from being the man I am supposed to become.

Excerpted from Through a Sober Lens: A Photographer’s Journey by Michael Blanchard, available at Amazon or Michael Blanchard’s website.

By: Michael Blanchard
Title: Intimacy and Alcohol
Sourced From: www.thefix.com/intimacy-and-alcohol
Published Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2021 09:05:37 +0000

At New Horizon Drug Rehab, we understand addiction. If you or a family member are afflicted with addiction or substance abuse we can help. We work with the top centers throughout the US to provide the best detox and addiction treatments available.

Call Now: (877) 747-9974

Treating an Opioid Use Disorder Is Difficult. A Pandemic Doesn’t Help.

Getting treatment for an opioid use disorder can be complicated, often requiring daily visits to receive addiction medication under the supervision of a provider. While guidelines have been relaxed to reduce barriers for those seeking care, it’s not clear how effective the changes have been.

“Their barriers are huge here,” said Kim Brown, the founder of Quad Cities Harm Reduction (QCHR), “and they’ve been exacerbated by the pandemic.” QCHR distributes supplies, including naloxone, the medication used to reverse opioid overdoses, to drug users across Illinois and Iowa.

On this episode of the podcast we speak with Brown about how the pandemic is affecting access to opioid treatment as providers navigate a new regulatory landscape.

Since January 2020, Direct Relief – through a donation by Pfizer – shipped 863,680 doses of naloxone to harm reduction groups, clinics and health centers across the United states, including Quad Cities Harm Reduction, which received 650 doses of naloxone, as well as personal protective equipment for their volunteer staff.

Listen and subscribe to Direct Relief’s podcast from your mobile device:
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Getting treatment for an opioid use disorder can be difficult. During a pandemic it’s even harder. People are navigating a changing landscape with shuttered programs and ambiguous new treatment guidelines. And they’re doing it even as overdoses are on the rise.

BRENDAN SALONER: I think what’s really changed is that with the pandemic many programs, frankly, just shut their doors.

Brendan Saloner is a professor of health policy and management at Johns Hopkins University. He studies access to treatment for those with opioid use disorders.

SALONER: I think, you know, there was a moment of panic back in March when places realized this was spreading very fast and nobody really knew how to contain it. So, in that immediate aftermath of the emergency, there was this move to completely shut off these points of connection with care. And for many patients that was very devastating. People lost one of their main sources of continuity, not only with medication and with treatment, but also with the community of people that was there for them and part of their support network.

For many opioid treatment involves taking one of two drugs: methadone or buprenorphine. These are both opioids that act by binding to the same receptors in the brain as heroin or oxycodone, but they don’t have a euphoric effect. They help by reducing cravings and preventing withdrawal symptoms.

During the pandemic, the federal government has lifted certain regulations around the prescription of these drugs. The intention is to reduce barriers as social distancing and shutdowns make getting to a doctor’s office more difficult, but it’s not clear how effective these measures have been.

RAFANELLI: What regulatory changes have been made around prescribing addiction medication?

SALONER: So it’s still the case that patients can only get methadone through opioid treatment programs. What happened under the regulatory changes is that patients can now get more days of what’s known as take-home methadone, meaning methadone that they’re allowed to take out of the clinic and give to themselves at home, so that was a big deal. And that was done very deliberately to try to reduce crowding in the clinical setting. For buprenorphine, right now it’s still is the case that not every doctor or clinician can prescribe buprenorphine. It’s also regulated under a separate set of federal regulations called the X waiver. So to get buprenorphine a doctor has to have this additional credential or license from the federal government. So the X waiver still exists, even though there was some attempt recently to get rid of it. But what has changed is that doctors that prescribed buprenorphine right now are not needing to meet the same kinds of face-to-face requirements around initiating patients and then continuing patients in their treatment. So there again the intention has been to try to limit the number of times the patients actually have to come into their doctor’s office to get their medication.

But the new laws are somewhat ambiguous leaving it up to providers to interpret.

SALONER: The real tricky thing is that, although there has been some greater allowances of this take-home methadone–you know, allowing patients to not have to take the medicine every day in the clinic under observation–not a lot of guidance is out there about who should be eligible for take-home methadone. The federal regulation is pretty ambiguous about what a “stable” patient is who would be eligible to get up to 28 days of take-home methadone. And that ambiguity has, I think, given rise to very, different kinds of treatment protocols in different clinics. Some clinics are having those patients coming in very often to get their dispensed medication.

That’s been the experience of Kim Brown who runs Quad Cities Harm Reduction in Iowa and Illinois. The group distributes supplies to people who use drugs, including Naloxone or Narcan–the medication used to reverse opioid overdoses.

KIM BROWN: I founded QC Harm Reduction officially in 2015, but we were out on the streets slinging Narcan from 2012 onward. I’d get my hands on Narcan one way or another and it went to the drug users in our community.

She says during the pandemic, many of those enrolled in opioid treatment programs haven’t benefited from the new rules.

RAFANELLI: Can you talk about the regulatory changes and how they’re affecting the drug users that you know?

BROWN: Folks with an opioid use disorder, who are a protected class under the ADA, were supposed to get take-homes for a month, at the least take homes for two weeks, to keep them safe. They didn’t follow those mandates. If somebody had drugs in their urine, they refused to give them take homes and demanded that they get on the city bus or try to find a ride to get to the clinic every day between 6:00 AM and 12:30 to get their dose during a pandemic. Those are the barriers that have been placed in front of our participants.

According to the law providers are allowed to administer urine tests to patients undergoing opioid treatment. When and how frequently is up to their discretion. And because guidelines around what is considered stable and unstable are vague, some providers may use a urine test to decide. As Brown has found, those deemed unstable may not be eligible for multiple weeks’ worth of take-home medication, meaning they need to go to a clinic every day to take their prescription.

While the pandemic has made accessing daily treatment more difficult, providers are experiencing challenges of their own.

RAFANELLI: Tell me a little bit about how the pandemic is affecting your operations at QC Harm Reduction and the people that you reach.

BROWN: In January and February we were really getting up and running over in Rock Island, getting all our services set up and we were paying attention to the pandemic, but I don’t think anybody realized the significance of it, right, until it got significant. So, I think part of the struggles for our drug users is many of them are unhoused. The shelters decided to house all of our unhoused folks–well, as many as they could–in the motels on the outskirts of town. They could be in Davenport, they could have been over here out by the airport, they could be in Bettendorf, but they housed them in motels to help people stay physically distanced from other folks and to try to keep folks safe. Once that happened, it was kind of like everybody scattered. Does that make sense? Once they were in the motels, then they had rules to follow. It was almost like everybody quit moving around in the Quad Cities. And when we went out on outreach to find the folks that were moving around, they were very seldom where they always were before the pandemic started. They were indoors door shut away, following rules and not out engaging with us on a weekly basis.

Across the nation, drug overdoses have increased substantially during the pandemic, according to data released by the CDC.

Drug related deaths were up 20% in the 12 months leading into spring 2020. While the numbers show death rates rising before the pandemic, the biggest spike occurred between March and May of last year. The CDC attributes these increases primarily to the polluted drug supply.

RAFANELLI: I know there’s been disruptions in the drug supply chain. How have these disruptions affected drug users in your community?

BROWN: In this area, they’re encountering a lot of adulterated methamphetamines, a little bit of heroin. We don’t have that much heroin here in our area right now. It’s almost all fentanyl. And they were reduced to buying the methamphetamines, a little bit of heroin here and there, but by and large, most of the drug supply that came in through here was adulterated with fentanyl. And if people weren’t testing their dope, they were overdosing and dying because they weren’t familiar with the amount of fentanyl that was present in that particular batch of dope. I know in Illinois overdose death rates went up approximately 19%–those numbers could have changed. And I believe Iowa’s went up to like 35 or 36%. And it was because people were using, they were self-isolating, right? So they were using alone. You never use alone, but they were using alone because they were isolated in motel rooms. They were isolated in housing apartments. They weren’t with people. They were using extremely adulterated dope, not testing it if they didn’t have the strips. But if you’re alone and you’re isolated and you can’t get somewhere, you’re going to do what you do. And what they were doing is using alone with no one there to look after them in the event of an overdose.

RAFANELLI: So you think isolation is the main driver behind the national increase in overdoses?

BROWN: I think it had a lot to do with it. Don’t you?

This transcript has been edited for clarity.

By: Amarica Rafanelli
Title: Treating an Opioid Use Disorder Is Difficult. A Pandemic Doesn’t Help.
Sourced From: www.thefix.com/treating-opioid-use-disorder-difficult-pandemic-doesnt-help
Published Date: Tue, 09 Mar 2021 08:08:24 +0000

At New Horizon Drug Rehab, we understand addiction. If you or a family member are afflicted with addiction or substance abuse we can help. We work with the top centers throughout the US to provide the best detox and addiction treatments available.

Call Now: (877) 747-9974

9 Things You Should Know About Women and Addiction

On International Women’s Day (March 8), people from around the world come together to focus on advancing women’s rights and equality. This year the theme is #choosetochallenge, which invites men and women alike to stand up for gender equality.

Although addiction can touch anyone, gender differences often influence a person’s experience with both addiction and recovery. Because of that, accessing a recovery program that is focused on women can be beneficial in helping females achieve and maintain sobriety.

Here’s what you should know about women and addiction, including how we can create more effective treatment targeted toward females.

1. Women are just as likely to develop a substance use disorder.

Addiction has typically been thought of as a male problem. Treatment for addiction has focused largely on men, while not recognizing the scale of the issue in women. Although men are more likely to use illicit drugs, men and women are equally likely to develop a substance use disorder as their male counterparts.

2. Binge drinking rates are rising among women.

When it comes to binge drinking, women are leveling the playing field in a way that is anything but healthy. Binge drinking for women is defined as consuming 4 drinks or more in 2 hours. While binge drinking increased for most groups between 2006 and 2018, the most significant increase was among childless women ages 30-44, whose drinking rates doubled during that period.

3. Women use drugs, too.

In the U.S., nearly 20 million adult women use illicit drugs each year. Women tend to start using drugs for different reasons than men do, including to fight exhaustion, lose weight, or manage mental health problems. Divorce, the birth or loss of a child, and the pressures of motherhood can all contribute to female mental health conditions, which in turn increases risk for drug use.

4. Women may become addicted more easily.

Some research indicates that women can become addicted to drugs after using smaller amounts of the drugs, or using for a shorter amount of time. This could be because drugs and alcohol have a large impact on the female body, including the brain and cardiovascular system. Since women, on average, have more body fat than men, their bodies store alcohol, which prolongs the time that their organs are exposed to alcohol.

5. Addiction presents unique challenges for women.

Women who use and abuse drugs or alcohol might find themselves in unsafe situations. Women with substance use disorder are more likely to be in abusive relationships or to be forced into sex work.

6. Substance use affects women’s mental health.

Women who use or abuse substances are more likely than those who don’t to experience depression, anxiety, and panic attacks.

7. Women’s substance abuse affects generations.

Women who use substances face a risk that men don’t: injuring their fetus if they become pregnant. The rates of substance abuse among pregnant women have risen for drugs ranging from opioids to marijuana.

8. Women are more likely to die of overdoses.

Although more men than women die from drug overdoses, the risk of serious injury or death is higher for women who use drugs than for men who use drugs. Female drug users are more likely to go to the emergency room for overdoses. It’s not just illicit drugs that are dangerous: research indicates that rates of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder are likely higher than previously thought. Up to 5% of American children may have the condition, which can cause lifelong disabilities, including cognitive impairment.

9. Recovery can be harder for women.

There’s not enough research on recovery from substance use disorder for women. However, the research that’s out there is alarming. It indicates that women are more likely than men to experience cravings, which leads to a greater risk of relapse.

Leading medical officials in both the United states and Canada have called for more research to better understand women and addiction. Although substance use disorder has been studied in men for decades, there’s a dearth of research when it comes to females impacted by addiction. Learning more about why women abuse substances, how their bodies are affected by substance abuse, and what treatment modalities are most effective for them can help us provide more equitable, accessible and effective treatment for women.

Sunshine Coast Health Centre is a non 12-step drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in British Columbia. Learn more here.

By: The Fix staff
Title: 9 Things You Should Know About Women and Addiction
Sourced From: www.thefix.com/9-things-you-should-know-about-women-and-addiction
Published Date: Mon, 08 Mar 2021 06:20:02 +0000

At New Horizon Drug Rehab, we understand addiction. If you or a family member are afflicted with addiction or substance abuse we can help. We work with the top centers throughout the US to provide the best detox and addiction treatments available.

Call Now: (877) 747-9974

4 Things You Should Know About Resilience

In the year or two before the pandemic, a new word started popping up in my writing about addiction, mental health and wellness: resilience. All of a sudden, the word seemed to be everywhere, from my reporting on childhood traumas to my discussions about what can help people succeed in recovery.

The more I learned about resilience, the more interested I became. When the pandemic hit, and continued to drag on and on, it seemed that resiliency was more important than ever.

At this point, most of us have heard the buzzword, but we might not really understand what resilience means. Here are 4 things that you should know about resilience, according to the team at Sunshine Coast Health Centre in British Columbia.

  1. What Resilience Is

Oftentimes, words get tossed around without people really taking the time to think about or understand their true meaning. So it’s important to start by defining our terms. Resilience is defined as the ability to recover shape and size after being compressed. With time, a second meaning has emerged: the ability to recover from, or adjust to, misfortune or change.

From a psychological perspective, the American Psychological Association defines resilience as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress.”

Just like a physical item that is put under stress, the mind can get bent out of shape by stress or worry. But, like a putty that returns to its original shape, the mind also has the ability to rebound and recover from stressors and trauma that it encounters.

  1. Resilience Is Protective

As we go through life, we encounter all sorts of adverse experiences that may cause mental and emotional pain or suffering. These can include adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) like divorced parents or abuse. But adversity doesn’t stop during childhood: as adults we experience deaths, the loss of dreams, financial strain and other causes of stress.

Resilience can help protect us from the impact of these negative events. Resilience doesn’t mean that you won’t experience circumstances that cause you pain or suffering — it just means that you’ll be able to deal with them better than someone who has less resilience. For example, resilient people are living through the same pandemic as people who are less resilient, but the changes and adjustments that we all have to make have a lesser toll on people who are resilient.

  1. Everyone Has The Potential For Resilience

Mental health professionals believe that everyone has the potential for resilience. However, there’s no doubt that people have different levels of resilience. That’s why some people are able to recover from even the worst tragedies, like the death of a child, while others struggle to regain a level of normalcy after these events.

In general, people are resilient. However, you can take steps to foster resilience in your life, even as an adult.

  1. Resilience Is A Learned Skill

It’s important to recognize that resilience can be developed. Many people have learned that firsthand this year, as they’ve had to build more resilience than they ever expected to need.

The following can help develop resilience:

  • Building connections: Connections are important to recovering from adversity. This can be a personal connection, like the relationship with a loved one, or a societal connection, like being in touch with organizations that can help support you during adversity.
  • Focusing on wellness: Taking time to indulge in self-care including exercise and mindfulness can ensure that you’re in a healthy state and able to “bounce back” from life challenges.
  • Finding meaning: People who are connected with their personal definition of a meaningful life often have the self-determination and drive to be resilient.
  • Accepting change: Simply accepting that change and adversity are part of life can make them easier to cope with.

Since resilience takes effort, it’s not surprising that sometimes we get tired of being resilient. This is common a year into the pandemic, with vaccines still months away for many people. In moments where you struggle to feel resilient, look at the progress that you’ve already made. The last year has presented an enormous amount of challenges. Just surviving that, let alone doing it sober and with a desire to continue improving yourself, is an accomplishment worth celebrating.

Sunshine Coast Health Centre is a non 12-step drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in British Columbia. Learn more here.

By: The Fix staff
Title: 4 Things You Should Know About Resilience
Sourced From: www.thefix.com/4-things-you-should-know-about-resilience
Published Date: Tue, 02 Mar 2021 07:57:19 +0000

At New Horizon Drug Rehab, we understand addiction. If you or a family member are afflicted with addiction or substance abuse we can help. We work with the top centers throughout the US to provide the best detox and addiction treatments available.

Call Now: (877) 747-9974