Diet and Nutrition
Educating patients about nutrition is an integral part of the individualized alcohol and drug treatment recovery program.
The Caron Texas dietary team is involved in teaching, monitoring and advising patients and helping to improve their chances for recovery and their quality of life through healthy eating habits.
Our clinical staff knows that nutrition has a major impact on recovery. They understand that alcohol and drug addicts become malnourished. In terms of alcoholic treatment, for example, only fat contains more calories per gram than alcohol. As a result, alcoholics while drinking experience a sense of fullness having eaten very little or nothing through the course of the day. These "empty calories" lead to poor eating habits and malnutrition.
Like alcoholics, drug abusers experience similar issues with malnutrition, not because of the sugar creating a sense of fullness but because they may have poor eating habits and malnutrition. For instance, stimulants (i.e. cocaine, methamphetamine) give people lots of energy and they may not want to eat. Marijuana on the other hand makes people lethargic and increases appetite. All leading to poor nutrition.
Alcohol and drugs actually keep the body from properly absorbing and breaking down nutrients and expelling toxins. This leads to a host of health problems. In addition to a poor appetite, addicts experience gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea, constipation, and an inability to digest foods properly. This results in a special need for foods that are high in nutrients to rebuild damaged tissues, organs and regain appropriate functioning of the various systems including the nervous and gastrointestinal systems. Research shows that a diet with the right types of high protein and high carbohydrate-rich foods can make a big difference in dealing with the cravings for alcohol and drugs that addicts experience.
The chemicals contained in the foods we eat affect our mood, which can be directly related to the recovery process, as well as mental health issues. Along with amino acid deficiency, diets lacking nutrients like folic acid and other B-complex vitamins have a serious and negative impact on drug and alcohol treatment and patient recovery. Other substances like sugar and caffeine are known to contribute to mood swings, so we encourage the reduction of these during the early stages of recovery.
Caron Texas has a registered dietician available to meet with patients throughout the substance treatment process and available to the counselors and other clinical staff to assist in individual patient recovery. We offer at each meal what is seen as traditional comfort foods, as well as healthy food options, such as fresh fruits and vegetables and a salad bar. All meals are designed by our onsite dietician to provide a variety of choices throughout a patient's stay.
We believe that teaching patients about the benefits of healthy nutrition is an integral part of both the treatment program, and the patient’s recovery. Caron’s on-staff dietician provides one-on-one and group dietary education and planning. Nutrition lectures as also part of the educational series. Patients who require specialized diets for health or religious reasons will find that we are able to meet their needs.