When selecting a drug rehab center, there are many factors to consider. A program's cost, location, duration and philosophy all should factor into your choice. For people struggling with an opiate addiction, though, there's another important criterion. If you're looking for a recovery center to help address an opiate addiction, ask each place you consider whether they have a nutritionist on staff.
Opiates Often Cause Poor Nutrition
According to the University of Maryland's Medical Center, opiate addictions are often accompanied by malnutrition. Opiates affect the intestines and cause constipation. In turn, this can lead to poor dietary habits. Even the food that is eaten may not be properly digested. In order to address the malnutrition that often accompanies an opiate addiction, the Medical Center recommends eating well-balanced meals that are rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates.
Some foods that are rich in both fiber and complex carbs are:
- minestrone soup
- steamed broccoli or Brussels sprouts
- whole-wheat pasta with tomato sauce
- stone-ground oatmeal
- guacamole on whole-wheat tortillas
A rehab center's staff nutritionist would be able to take this general advice and design a specific dietary plan that would help the recovering person get all the nutrition they need, including the fiber and carbohydrates.
Nutritionists Work with Doctors
The Medical Center also notes that during recovery, opiate addicts might suffer from nausea and diarrhea. For individuals that suffer from these symptoms during withdrawal, a physician may be able to help alleviate them by prescribing medication. As the individual's intestines return to normal, however, these medications may be phased out.
Of course, any prescribed medications, as well as any food recommendations from the doctor, would have to be taken into account by the nutritionist. Few doctors, however, have the time to help their patients device complex meal plans that detail every meal of every day. With the doctor's advice in mind, the nutritionist can help the individual create a daily menu that includes the physician's recommendations. They can also help the individual follow the dietary plan on a day-to-day basis.
As you interview drug rehab centers, be sure to ask whether they employ a full-time nutritionist. Dietary issues are common among opiate addicts, and they can be a major struggle during recovery. Many recovery centers have medical doctors on staff, but a nutritionist will be there on a daily basis to help the person recovering through any nutritional or dietary challenges they face. Visit websites like http://www.olalla.org for more information.