Nutrition Therapy

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Nutrition Therapy

Substance abuse and dependence are comprehensively devastating issues that severely compromise every area of life – from physical health to mental and emotional well-being. Active addiction often leads to a wide range of health-related concerns and conditions. Many clients enter into our program of recovery extremely malnourished, essentially incapable of taking care of themselves in any capacity. They are deficient in the vitamins and nutrients needed to maintain physical health, these deficiencies lead to a range of serious complications. Not only are men and women who suffer from addiction incapable of engaging in self-care, but regular alcohol and drug use makes it more difficult for the body to absorb the nutrients it needs to function at a basic level. Deficiencies lead to a range of issues like skin problems, significant weight loss, digestive issues, stunted growth and development and even psychological issues like dementia. At Guardian Recovery we offer nutrition therapy as part of our comprehensive program of clinical care. Licensed nutritionists lead group therapy sessions that focus on preparing nutrient-dense meals, which food facilitate recovery and the role that nutrition plays in the maintenance of long-term sobriety.

There are several predominant goals when it comes to Nutrition Therapy for the treatment of substance abuse and dependence.

The goals of Nutrition Therapy:

  • Healing the physical body from the devastation caused by active addiction
  • Helping stabilize and regulate mood
  • Providing some degree of stress reduction
  • Reducing the intense psychological drug and alcohol cravings that are generally experienced during early recovery
  • Addressing and treating mental health concerns that have stemmed from substance abuse
  • Encouraging the development and maintenance of a healthy lifestyle
  • Encouraging an ongoing dedication to self-care in recovery
At Guardian Recovery we provide a wide range of heavily researched and evidence-based therapies to each and every one of our clients. To learn more about our Nutrition Therapy program or to learn more about the ways in which nutrition impacts recovery contact us today.

More About Nutrition Therapy

Malnutrition and unhealthy eating habits increase the risk of relapse after treatment. In order for sobriety to be maintained long-term, clients must learn how to grocery shop for themselves and prepare healthy, nutrient-dense meals and snacks. Focusing on well-rounded meals that are rich in the vitamins and nutrients necessary to physical, mental and emotional health greatly impacts – and improves – overall quality of life.

Here are several ways in which diet and nutrition impact comprehensive well-being and leads to a more effective addiction recovery process:

  • Regulating neurotransmitters and improving mood
  • Craving reduction
  • Assisting with weight management
  • Making pharmacological intervention more effective
  • Promoting comprehensive and lasting attention to self-care

The Impact of Chemical Substances on Physical Health

Active addiction affects physical health in a variety of ways, and different chemical substances affect people differently.

Ways in which specific substances can impact physical health and wellness:

  • Alcohol abuse – According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “Alcoholics often eat poorly, limiting their supply of essential nutrients and affecting both energy supply and structure maintenance. Furthermore, alcohol interferes with the nutritional process by affecting digestion, storage, utilization, and excretion of nutrients.” The same study suggests that many alcoholics ingest up to 50 percent of their daily caloric intake through alcohol, neglecting the foods they need to supply them with energy, maintain cell structure and function and prevent serious diseases and illnesses.
  • Opioid abuse – Men and women who abuse opioids often suffer from a range of health-related issues like malnutrition, slowed digestion and chronic constipation. An article published by the US National Library of Medicine tells us that, “The intake of opiates and their dependence cause significant damage to health, increase mortality and morbidity and make a poor quality of life. Psychoactive substances including illicit drugs constitute 8.9 percent of the total burden of diseases which is recorded by the World Health Report in 2002.” Heroin is known for causing glucose intolerance, which can throw blood sugar levels completely out of whack.
  • Stimulant abuse – Stimulant drugs – including cocaine, methamphetamine and prescription stimulants like Adderall or Ritalin – often lead to a significantly decreased appetite and subsequent weight loss. When an individual suddenly stops using a stimulant drug he or she might experience a severe decrease in electrolytes, and extreme dehydration is also liable to occur. This is why medical detox is necessary in the case of stimulant abuse even though withdrawal symptoms are rarely life-threatening. Men and women who abuse methamphetamine often suffer from severe dental decay, and our Nutritional Therapy program offers education to support dental health for this reason. One study suggests that roughly 43 percent of all methamphetamine users suffered from dental decay and that 60 percent had one or more missing teeth.

Comprehensive Approach to Recovery

At Guardian Recovery we provide a comprehensive approach to addiction recovery, meaning that we tackle the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual implications of active addiction. Our team of dedicated substance abuse and mental health professionals developed a recovery program rooted in therapeutic intervention – one that is demographic-specific in order to provide the most focused and individualized clinical care available. Breaking clients down into more focused groups allows clients to open up about topics and concerns that they might not otherwise be comfortable speaking out while providing them with the opportunity to relate to and support their peers on a deep and authentic level. While adequate nutrition is important for everyone regardless of their sex, age or personal background, some nutrition-based topics apply more to one demographic than another. For example, women are more likely than men to engage in disordered eating patterns and suffer from body image issues. Men are more likely than women to engage in excessive weight lifting/bulking and take anabolic steroids in order to increase their ability to gain muscle. We thoroughly cover all nutrition-related topics.

Begin Your Recovery Journey Today

At Guardian Recovery we remain dedicated to providing the most comprehensive clinical addiction treatment available. Our program of recovery was developed to leave no stone unturned, and to provide each of our clients with the vital life skills and tools they need to maintain continued success in sobriety for years to come. While it is always recommended that a client completes medically monitored detox and inpatient addiction treatment, we understand that addiction is not a one-size-fits-all disease and that the level of care that most benefits one client might not be ideal for another. For this reason, our therapeutic programs – including Nutrition Therapy – are offered during every phase of the addiction recovery process, from medical detox through outpatient treatment.

If you or someone you love has been suffering from a substance abuse disorder of any type or severity, we are available to help. The moment you contact us we begin developing a straightforward plan of action, which begins with a brief pre-assessment that can be completed over the phone in a matter of minutes. The pre-assessment includes a series of questions geared towards helping our clinical team determine which level of care is the most appropriate for each unique case. Next we go over coverage options, running a free, no obligation health insurance benefit check whenever necessary. Finally we set a date and time for intake and iron out all of the finer details. Contact us today to get started.

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave


Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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