Nutrition Education for Veterans
When you think of dieting, you probably think of losing weight or building muscle. And while nutrition plays a large role in both of those processes, it can also help you recover from drug and alcohol addiction. Additionally, healthy eating habits can improve your mental well-being, which is critical for military personnel.
Let’s discuss how we use nutrition education to help improve the lives of veterans at our addiction treatment center in DeLand, Florida.
Healing the Damage of Addiction
When veterans come to us for treatment, it’s usually because their addictions have caused devastation to their lives. Often, this devastation includes physical issues brought about by drug and alcohol abuse.
For example, chronic alcohol abuse can damage your liver, kidneys, and even your brain. The longer and the more often you drank, the more damage you’re likely to have as a result. Drug abuse can have similar effects, and in some cases chronic drug use can damage vital organs like your heart and lungs. All of these issues create hurdles to recovery, because they put more stress on you, which can drive you toward substance abuse as a coping mechanism.
There is good news, however. Given time without substance abuse, your body can begin to naturally heal from the damage of most (but not all) health issues caused by addiction. In many cases, how much you recover will come down to a variety of factors. Age, genetics, and lifestyle all play significant roles in the healing process.
But another factor to consider is nutrition. By eating meals that are filled with key nutrients and vitamins, you’re giving your body the building blocks to begin healing. And if you’ve been abusing drugs or alcohol for a long time, then your body might be in desperate need of proper nutrition.
Even ignoring the damage that drugs and alcohol can do directly to your body, they can also lead to a loss of proper nutrition. This can come from:
- Making poor dietary choices while drinking or using drugs
- Damaging your stomach lining, which can make it harder for your body to absorb nutrients
- Losing nutrients via vomiting or diarrhea
As you can see, chronic substance abuse can make it much harder for your body to have access to the proper nutrition. So as part of our rehabilitative care, we share information about how to take care of yourself following treatment.
Recovering from Mental Health Issues
Addiction isn’t the only thing that can take a toll on your body. As a veteran, you may experience military-related issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or military sexual trauma (MST). And unfortunately, those issues can make it harder to care about important issues like proper nutrition.
For example, many people with PTSD struggle with issues of self-worth. If this sounds familiar, you might have trouble eating healthily because you don’t feel like you’re worth the effort. Additionally, untreated mental illness can make it hard to hold a job, which in turn makes it harder to access higher quality foods.
As part of our drug and alcohol treatment, we help veterans work through their trauma and learn valuable new coping skills. Part of that includes explaining best nutrition practices and how to eat healthy. But just as important, we’ll show you how to commit to valuing yourself and respecting your body.
Not only can this help your body function better, but it can even improve your mental health. Many studies have indicated that the food you eat can affect your mental well-being. In this way, behavioral health practices can improve your mental health by giving you coping skills and encouraging you to eat better and fuel your brain. While the root of many military-related mental health conditions is trauma, having a mind in peak performance can go a long way in helping you recover.
Nutrition Education Can Help
At Heroes’ Mile in DeLand, Florida, we don’t advocate fad diets or unhealthy eating practices. We are not here to tell you how or what to eat. Rather, our goal is to share facts about nutrition and give you new ways to make sure you’re taking care of your body. We do this both to help with your addiction recovery as well as to show our respect and care to the people who have served our country.
Would you like to learn more about how we help veterans with substance use disorders, PTSD, and MST? Give us a call at 888-838-6692 or fill out a confidential contact form and we’ll be happy to answer your questions. Remember, nobody has to face addiction alone. We’ve got your six!