Almost all alcohol-addicted individuals have somehow damaged their health. Due to their addiction, they might have deprived themselves of proper food and nutrition. To understand this further, it should be noted that only fat has more calories/gram than alcohol. As such, when one drinks alcohol, a person feels like he or she has just eaten, even if alcohol contains “empty calories.” Obsessive alcohol intake keeps the body from getting the right nutrients and from properly flushing out toxins.
Alcoholics usually experience gastrointestinal ailments such as constipation or diarrhea. Those suffering from alcohol addiction therefore have unique nutrition needs. They most likely need food that are extra-rich in nutrients to help their bodies repair damaged organs or tissues.
Nutrition in alcohol addiction treatment and recovery programs
Every good alcohol addiction recovery program recognizes the fact that proper nutrition has a bearing on a person’s chances of gaining his or her health back. Establishing proper eating habits can also help a person deal with alcoholic cravings.
Alcohol bars the body from processing crucial amino acids — tryptophan and tyrosine. These amino acids produce serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin and dopamine compounds act as neurotransmitters which are important for mental clarity and emotional stability. A decrease in the levels of these compounds can negatively affect a person’s mood and behavior.
Aside from acting as neurotransmitters, serotonin is important in establishing good sleeping habits. Serotonin is found in milk, bananas, and sunflower seeds.
Other health-related effects of alcoholism
Excessive alcohol levels in the body affects two major organs related to metabolism: the pancreas and the liver. The liver detoxfies harmful substances, while the pancreas controls the blood sugar. The impairment of these two organs would create an imbalance of electrolytes, calories, and fluids. Another possible effect of alcoholism is permanent liver damage, or cirrhosis. To further motivate alcoholics to let go of their drinking habits, such health effects may be explained to them during treatment sessions.