Recovery from substance abuse involves several areas of treatment, among them nutrition. The role that vitamins and nutrients play in substance abuse recovery are significant, as will be seen in the summary that follows detailing some of the vitamins and minerals that physiologically benefit those in substance abuse recovery.
Nutrition and Substance Abuse Recovery
Recovery from drug addiction or alcoholism is experienced differently for every person who goes through it. There are multiple components to recovery, but the most fundamental requirement is a committed desire to recover. This is the case no matter the approach to recovery, whether it is a 12-step program or otherwise. Other essentials for substance abuse recovery are a belief that one can succeed, prioritizing one’s mental health, and having the support of others who believe that you can recover.
Nutrition is a component of recovery that is often not highly prioritized. Substance addiction alters the structure and functioning of the brain, and taking in nutrients is one element of correcting these negative changes. Furthermore, substance addiction is often accompanied by a poor diet, which only reinforces the nutrient deficiencies that can occur from chronic substance abuse. For these reasons, taking in vitamins and nutrients is a worthwhile component to the recovery process.
Supplements for Substance Abuse Recovery
Each of the following herbs and supplements have the potential to serve as a helpful nutritional component in physiological recovery from substance abuse. These are not a replacement for the other parts of the recovery process, including a good diet, but are meant to supplement them.
Vitamin B1 supplementation can be helpful to those recovering from alcoholism. This is because B1 deficiency is common among those struggling with alcoholism. This vitamin is necessary for healthy brain and nervous system functioning, as well as digestion and the flow of electrolytes.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats, and supplementing with these provides a range of positive benefits. One of these is the ability to help relieve anxiety, and this can be particularly useful for those recovering from substance abuse. Studies have shown that individuals recovering from cocaine addiction who relapsed had significantly lower levels of Omega-3s than those who did not. Omega-3s can also help those recovering from nicotine addiction, and it can also help those recovering from alcoholism.
Zinc is an essential mineral, and supplementing with it can benefit those recovering from alcoholism. Chronic alcohol consumption can lead to zinc deficiency, causing chronic stress, which in turn can lead someone to continue drinking to find relief. It’s a vicious circle. For this reason, zinc is an essential mineral for recovering alcoholics. Zinc can also help reduce the intensity of morphine dependence, based on some animal studies.
Magnesium is a very helpful mineral for those recovering from alcoholism, because alcoholics are frequently deficient in magnesium. Magnesium deficiency can lead to nausea and vomiting, which can also occur with alcohol withdrawal. Other accompanying symptoms can include fatigue and muscle spasms.
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that drug addicts tend to be deficient in. Studies show that taking in high doses of vitamin C can increase endorphin levels. Vitamin C, taken in high doses, can bring relief to those recovering from heroin addiction, as well as those weaning off opioids. Vitamin C can also bring relief from stress, depression, and anxiety.
Substance abuse recovery is a process that takes commitment, support, and various nutrients to complete it successfully. The nutritional needs of a recovering addict are very important. If you or a family member are in recovery, talk to your healthcare provider about these supplements for more specifics on their respective benefits.