Nutrition at SafeHouse Rehab Center in Thailand is of great importance, and part of an overall “Welcome to recovery!” No great alcoholism, addiction or recovery story started with “Well I was eating a salad and…” In fact, few amongst us has probably even thought about the damage we were creating by our dietary and nutritional deficiencies. Damage not only to our external lives, but also to our minds, bodies, and spirits. The insights here are offered by Lauren Gale – NT Dip CNM MBANT, a Naturopathic Nutritionist who is responsible for guiding and advising on all elements of nutrition at SafeHouse.
Nutrition at SafeHouse Rehab – The Overview, The Problem
Nobody stumbles into a rehabilitation centre brimming with optimum health; clients always arrive sick and malnourished to a lesser or greater extent, and most have been so absorbed in their addiction and alcoholism, they don’t even know it! Whilst drinking and using drugs, our bodies are prevented from absorbing vitamins and minerals. Substance abuse damages the whole stomach and gastrointestinal tract. The damage displays as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and/or constipation, so it is no surprise that malnutrition can follow. It presents in many ways, from dry skin and missing teeth to heart problems and poor liver function.
Many addicts and alcoholics skipped meals altogether, for days at a time. When they did eat, it was because they felt they had to, not because they particularly wanted to, especially when money was tight and should be put to ‘better’ use feeding the addiction. Consequently, addicts and alcoholics invariably reach for cheaper foods full of sugar and fat with no nutritional content at all.
Drug and alcohol addiction have serious effects on the brain. Opiates disrupt normal communication within the brain, and confuse and usurp normal neurotransmitters. And stimulants flood the brain with neurotransmitters- usually dopamine- causing a serious, unhealthy, and dangerous imbalance.
Drug and alcohol addictions are very difficult for the body to cope with. In many cases, through the progressive addiction process, essential vitamins and minerals are totally depleted, depriving the body of optimum function.
Although some issues may cause life-long health and well-being issues, many problems can be reversed through proper nutrition.
Nutrition at SafeHouse Rehab – Countering Heroin and Opiates
All opiates affect the brain’s ability to produce dopamine and neurotransmitters (the feel-good chemicals). Many transmitters are affected. For example, serotonin, which helps regulate appetite and sleep, and when working sub optimally in your body causes nutritional problems.
When detoxifying and withdrawing from opiates it is suggested that an increase of Vitamin C will help decrease cravings and support the immune system. When supplemented by Vitamin E it may also help cognitive function. Vitamin C and E are powerful antioxidants and help the body recover from stress on the heart.
5HTP is a supplement that helps clear the mind and induces good sleep hygiene. It also helps the brain produce serotonin and melatonin. It can be useful for depression and migraines.
Vitamin B complex helps decrease stress and fatigue, which are very common in the withdrawal process.
Magnesium and calcium are natural muscle relaxants. They calm the body and therefore nourish the central nervous system. Magnesium also assists the detoxification process and aids sleep. SAM-e may also be used. It is known to treat depression and boosts serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain. These are the most common vitamins and minerals to help counter heroin and opiate addiction although supplements may vary due to client’s recovery plan.
Any habitual user of heroin or other opiates will recognise – and genuinely (if somewhat irrationally) – fear these manifestations of withdrawal. Of course, standard detox methods are used, but when supplemented by the correct elements of Nutrition at SafeHouse Rehab, the withdrawal passes easier. And the same goes for withdrawal management of all categories of drug and alcohol.
Nutrition at SafeHouse Rehab – Countering Cocaine and Other Stimulants
Cocaine addiction depletes the body of important nutrients, which can lead to serious organ damage. Hence supplementation is important to the recovery process. Vitamin C has been found to reduce the body’s addictive state and is helpful in the detoxification process. It can reduce cravings, strengthen the immune system, and, as an antioxidant, helps protect the organs and tissue from further damage. It is imperative to supplement with L-glutamine as depleted glutamate affects memory and focus.
When withdrawing from cocaine, fatigue is very common. So, a B vitamin complex, and B12, is very important. These will help detox and sleep, and heal the damage that has been done to the nervous system and liver. Magnesium may also be taken to aid detoxification and sleep. It is available in supplement form, and is also present in Epsom salts, for the bath.
Nutrition at SafeHouse Rehab. Countering Alcohol
Physically, alcohol inhibits the liver’s ability to produce digestive enzymes. It is therefore difficult for the body to absorb proteins, fats, B vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins. A lack of these nutrients leads to a myriad of health issues, including liver (Cirrhosis and fatty liver), cardiovascular and neurological problems. Alcohol abuse is known to damage the pancreas, which regulates blood sugar, and can lead to pancreatitis. The digestive system is also compromised in many ways.
Neurologically, alcohol abuse seriously changes the brain’s chemistry over time. Accordingly, when alcohol is eliminated withdrawals occur, invariably including depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, fatigue, seizures, fevers, and hallucinations. It’s a very depressing scenario, and therefore, it is no surprise that Nutrition at SafeHouse Rehab is high on the agenda towards countering addiction and withdrawals and moving towards the alcoholic’s renewed well-being.
Supplementing with L-glutamine reduces cravings and balances blood sugar levels. Deficiencies in A B and C vitamins are important to address with supplements. Evening primrose oil, which is an essential fatty acid known to support brain function may be helpful in reducing symptoms of withdrawal. Fish oil supplements Omega 3 and 6, being antioxidants which reduce inflammation in the body, are very useful.
After the initial withdrawal process the body’s systems will need to be rebuilt. Vitamin B injections should be given, until the body has reached a more optimum level. Then supplementation can occur. Vitamin B6 is known to help reduce anxiety and stress, while vitamin B5 aides detoxification.
Nutrition at SafeHouse Rehab – A Healing Diet
Generally, it is vitamins B and C, along with minerals Calcium and Magnesium that are the most useful supplements used in the withdrawal process. Once past that point, the healing process will begin, and a new awareness of diet and self-care occurs.
The best way to maintain consumption of minerals and vitamins is through a proper, balanced diet. A nutrient dense diet rich in lean protein is vital for the recovery process, and is inherent in Nutrition at SafeHouse Rehab.
Vitamin B rich foods include dark leafy green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and kale, as well as lentils, beetroot, and liver. Vitamin C rich foods include citrus fruits, green peppers, strawberries, and brussels sprouts. It is always suggested that a Vitamin C supplement is taken along with the foods. Foods that are rich in Amino Acids include lean red meats, poultry, and seafood. For vegetarians, there are plant based sources including quinoa, tofu, beans, and seeds. Magnesium rich foods include dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, and seeds. It is really important to ingest wild salmon and tuna, and avocado, as these are great sources of Omega 3 and 6. And there we default diet that will be provided to offer the best Nutrition at SafeHouse Rehab.
Reaching optimum health after a life of drinking and using will take time, so be gentle on yourself, give your body the time and healing it deserves, and let the Nutrition at SafeHouse Rehab help ease along the process. The SafeHouse diet and supplement regime will add the vitamins and minerals imperative to the recovery process.
Highly processed foods and sugar rich foods and drinks will be largely avoided as these have no nutritional value and can cause blood sugar fluctuations that will frustrate and compromise the whole nutrition process.
Nutrition at SafeHouse Rehab Center Thailand is recommended by qualified Naturopathic Nutritionist Lauren Gale – NT Dip CNM MBANT, who will also be available to conduct individual nutrition intervention for those who arrive at SafeHouse in a state of severe and unusual malnutrition.