Can a Bad Diet Influence Recovery?

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It seems as though almost anything can cause an individual to either develop an addiction or experience a relapse — from the stress of natural disasters or the loss of loved ones to struggling with communication or dealing with a mental health condition. When it comes to relapsing specifically, many people find that if they do not maintain a healthy diet, that they quickly find themselves back in the throes of addiction.

Food? Really? I know what you are thinking. Most people relapse because something terrible happens to them, or they can no longer fight their cravings… right?


Relapse can happen at any given minute and for any given reason. Since each recovering user is different, his or her causes of relapse can vary. For many people, surprisingly enough, a bad diet can completely threaten what was once a successful recovery period.

How Are Diet and Relapse Connected?

When in rehab, one of the most important things that an individual learns is that without stability and structure after rehab, recovery can quickly be threatened. One of the best ways to keep that structure in every day life is to foster a healthy, balanced diet.

For example, a good diet can help keep an individual’s physical health on point, and by eating healthy, he or she can receive the essential nutrients and vitamins needed to both be healthy and feel healthy. Feeling healthy is so incredibly crucial during recovery. When the body is inundated with junk food and empty calories, it is probable that an individual will begin experiencing feelings of sadness, depression and possibly even anxiety. The body needs to be cared for in a specific way, and if it is not, psychological effects can develop.

In addition, a good diet can serve as just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to maintaining structure post-rehab. When things become too chaotic in life, and very little structure is put in place, it can be easy for a recovering addict to fall back into his or her old ways. With that being said, even something as seemingly small as a bad diet can serve as a catalyst for additional lack of structure in other areas of an individual’s life.

What You Can Do

If you are unsure of how to adopt a healthy diet, work with a nutritionist to learn the ins and outs of good eating. You can also attend cooking classes, or pick up a few cookbooks that can help guide you. By doing this, you are doing everything you can in every area of your life to maintain the sobriety that you have worked so hard to obtain.

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