Weight gain during recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction can be a significant source of stress and suffering on individuals who have overcome addiction. Almost 65 percent of people gain weight after going through rehab for drug or alcohol addiction while 20 percent of people who have overcome their drug or alcohol addiction become obese due to post-addiction weight gain. Many more individuals also struggle with compulsive overeating after rehab which can lead to health issues later in life including diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Why do People Struggle with Post-Addiction Weight Gain During Recovery?
People struggle with weight gain during recovery from an addiction for several reasons. When you are recovering from addiction, you can have a reduction of dopamine receptors in the reward center of the brain.
This leads to lack of impulse control and emotional regulation. Given these brain changes don’t instantly happen after you stop using, it can be tempting to turn to processed junk foods for the dopamine rush that using drugs and alcohol once provided.
Drug and alcohol addiction can have the dopamine rush and similar effects on the brain as processed foods. Substance abuse and consuming processed foods with added sugars, salt, and fat activate the reward center of the brain.
This stimulates natural opioids and triggers the feel-good hormone dopamine. While consuming unhealthy foods that have this effect on the body can be a tempting replacement for alcohol and drugs, it can result in overeating and weight gain.
What Should You Eat For Optimal Health and Wellness During Recovery?
When you’re recovering from addiction, you need to give your body the right fuel to ensure it is healthy during and after your recovery. Make sure you are eating healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and unprocessed proteins throughout the day.
Eating these foods in three meals along with regular healthy snacks will keep your energy levels consistent and encourage your brain’s ability to produce feel-good chemicals (neurotransmitters) like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Ensuring you eat regularly throughout the day will also combat the temptation to binge eat after a stressful day.
Many people who have had a drug or alcohol addiction also end up deficient in important nutrients and vitamins. Having a nutrient deficiency can lower your energy levels, resulting in the temptation to overeat and make poor food choices. Talk to your doctor to determine if you are deficient in any key nutrients and vitamins.
Common nutrients that people with addiction are often deficient in include vitamin B, vitamin D, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, and amino acids that contribute to good gut health.
Along with eating healthy, unprocessed foods and ensuring you’re getting all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs, make sure you’re moving your body with a workout or yoga class to further condition your body and establish healthy habits for good health.
Recovering from addiction is difficult and it requires significant amounts of dedication and discipline. Keeping the steps above in mind and remembering to nourish your body with healthy foods every day will keep your body healthy and minimize your risk of post-addiction weight gain.
Are You Struggling in Your Addiction Recovery? Find Help Here
If you are working through your personal addiction recovery and are experiencing uncontrollable post-addiction weight gain, you are not alone. By using Drug Treatment Center Finder, we will connect you with a treatment center that caters to your specific needs. From facilities that have professional chefs and licensed nutritionists on staff to others that practice more holistic methods, our goal is to help you integrate with a community that will strengthen your battle against your addiction.