Detox for the body is not finished with a weeklong stay at detox. The body is healing from years of malnutrition and damage from active use. In general people have been under-eating, eating junk food,
The brain takes a year to return to “normal” after addiction. It needs time to heal the physical structures in the brain and restore proper chemical balance. Post-acute withdrawal or PAWS includes psychological and emotional symptoms and can last for months. They can come and go triggered by people, places and things. A person can experience unclear thinking/ trouble focusing, cravings, irritability, anger, sleep problems, tiredness, stress, anxiety and panic attacks, depression, low-motivation, and mood swings.
Many people in recovery have had a brain injury that preceded their addiction or was a result of their addiction. People who have head injuries are more susceptible to develop addiction. People in active use get head trauma from getting into accidents, domestic violence and overdoses.
Alcohol is the only drug to damage all body systems. It leeches’ nutrients from the body making it deficient in many important vitamins. It specifically causes deficiencies in potassium, B vitamins, zinc, magnesium and vitamin A. Alcohol also dehydrates the body creating an imbalance in electrolytes. Diabetes is exacerbated with alcoholism because alcohol damages the pancreas and kidneys. Alcohol breaks down into sugar causing a person to get too much.
There are more bacteria housed in our bodies than there are human cells. The human body is in fact an ecosystem. The types of bacteria living in colonies in our guts determine how well our immune system will function. People eating a modern diet high in carbs and sugars have imbalanced gut bacteria. The digestive system is a thriving colony of bacteria that survives from the foods we feed it. When we have been feeding our gut bacteria carbs and sugar, they will continue to crave more of it. To reestablish healthier gut bacteria, we must feed it whole natural foods. This will cause the unhealthy bacteria to die, and the healthy bacteria to take over. Our gut flora manufacture neurochemicals. 95% of the body’s serotonin is made in the gut bacteria. Many people take probiotics to encourage healthy gut bacteria. Certain foods contain good probiotics like yogurt and fermented foods and drinks. Olive oil and garlic help the digestive tract.
People struggle with a lot of other health problems besides recovery from drugs and alcohol that need time to heal. STDS need to be tested and addressed. A healthy immune system is needed to clear HPV viruses from the body. Mushroom supplements and anti-viral foods and herbs are beneficial for HPV treatment. Many people have contracted hepatitis C and need to coordinate the treatment with insurance and a gastroenterologist. Seizures from alcohol and benzo withdrawal can happen weeks following last use and medication can be taken to prevent them. Blood pressure is also an issue that can be addressed in sobriety.
Drinking large amounts of water helps the body to flush out accumulated toxins. Some people begin their recovery drinking a nutritional beverage like Ensure. Good quality vitamins should supplement healthy food choices. There are herbs that heal certain parts of the body and can be reviewed with a primary care doctor.