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Nutrition has a significant impact on people’s recovery from substance use disorder (SUD). According to Nutrition Reviews, “Chronic substance use affects a person’s nutritional status and body composition through decreased intake, nutrient absorption, and dysregulation of hormones that alter the mechanisms of satiety and food intake.” Clinicians help clients monitor their nutrition and mental health during recovery. West Coast Recovery Centers encourages clients to use nutritional coaching and other tools to develop healthier diets during substance abuse treatment. 

The Connections Between Nutrition and Mental Health

Mental health plays a vital role in recovery from substance abuse. Many people with SUD have co-occurring mental health disorders. In some cases, nutritional deficiencies caused by substance abuse affect cognition and stress levels. Integrative treatment improves outcomes and reduces the risk of relapse during continuing care. 

Nutrition impacts mental health in several ways, including: 

  • Individuals with poor nutrition may experience mental health symptoms, including depression or anxiety 
  • Mental health disorders may cause people to develop unhealthy eating habits 
  • Malnutrition and other dietary issues may affect physical health and the severity of symptoms 

Everyone has unique nutritional needs. Individuals recovering from SUD benefit from taking steps to improve their diet. Chronic substance abuse often influences what people eat, their dietary habits, and the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Dietary choices directly affect gut health, moods, and emotions. According to, “[T]he gut produces 90 percent of the body’s serotonin and half of its dopamine.” Eating a balanced, healthy diet increases emotional resilience and stress tolerance. 

Side Effects of Substance Abuse

SUD may impact many areas of a person’s health, including appetite. Some substances cause people to under or over-eat. Other substances may interfere with the body’s absorption of essential vitamins and minerals. 

A few of the known health side effects of SUD include: 

  • Chronic dehydration 
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Increased risk of malnutrition 

Healing from the effects of substance abuse involves addressing dietary issues caused by chronic substance abuse. 

Addressing Nutrition and Mental Health During Treatment

Mental health symptoms or side effects may interfere with treatment for substance abuse. Finding ways to improve mental health helps people heal and move forward in their recovery journey. Eating balanced meals and creating healthy daily routines to improve self-care are a few ways clients prioritize their mental health. The clinical team provides guidance, education, and resources to ensure clients have the tools to develop a healthy diet. 

Furthermore, according to MedlinePlus: 

The following tips can help improve the odds of a lasting and healthy recovery:

  • Eat nutritious meals and snacks.
  • Get physical activity and enough rest.
  • Reduce caffeine and stop smoking, if possible.
  • Seek help from counselors or support groups on a regular basis.
  • Take vitamin and mineral supplements if recommended by the health care provider.

Many people need guidance from a nutritionist or other healthcare professional to determine if they need to make any dietary changes. Eating healthy is about more than avoiding saturated fats, empty calories, and processed foods. Every person has different health needs. A nutritionist or other professional can determine what a person is missing from their diet and the best foods to reduce symptoms of SUD or co-occurring disorders. West Coast Recovery Centers provides clients with resources, referrals, and nutritional education to ensure people make educated decisions about their health and diet. 

Connection Between Nutrition and Managing Co-Occurring Disorders

Many people with substance use disorder have co-occurring conditions impacting their physical and mental health. According to the Journal of Clinical Medicine, “Quality of life, well-being, and psycho-emotional balance are closely related to the quality of the diet, the level of physical activity, [and] the quality of rest.” A healthy diet reduces the symptoms and side effects of co-occurring disorders by ensuring people have a lifestyle supporting their overall well-being. 

Nourishing diets have a positive effect on co-occurring disorders by doing the following: 

  • Increasing focus and energy 
  • Ensuring body systems receive enough nutrients to function optimally 
  • Supporting physical healing and recovery 

Mental health disorders often cause increased stress levels. Proper nutrition lowers stress by reducing the production of stress hormones in the body. 

Nutrition and Mental Health at West Coast Recovery Centers

The care team at West Coast Recovery Centers helps clients build healthy eating habits to promote positive physical and mental health. During recovery from SUD, people use various methods to improve their diet and overall health. Clinicians provide essential support, guidance, and resources to clients who want to develop a more nutritious diet. 

Clients in treatment learn to do the following: 

  • Identify areas of their diet interfering with recovery
  • Recognize hunger and fullness cues 
  • Identify healthy and unhealthy foods

Individuals in treatment benefit from developing a Healthier relationship with food. Being more mindful of nutrition and dietary needs allows people to manage their condition and heal more effectively. 

Individuals recovering from chronic substance abuse may experience malnutrition or other health issues. Eating balanced meals every day helps people heal more effectively and may reduce some of the symptoms of SUD. Nutrition is essential to recovering physical health during treatment and continuing care. The clinicians at West Coast Recovery Centers provide clients with nutritional counseling and resources for creating a healthier relationship with food. Many people in treatment have physical side effects of substance abuse. Eating balanced meals reduces the side effects of SUD and makes it easier for clients to focus on developing healthy routines for long-term sobriety. To learn more about our programs and services, call us today at (760) 492-6509

West Coast Recovery Centers ( 370135CP), Valid through July 31, 2025
Jackson House Visalia (540056AP), Valid through May 15, 2025
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