Detoxification is a critical medical procedure to treat addiction to drugs and alcohol. Typically, any substance use disorder treatment begins with detox, a set of therapeutic interventions intended to manage acute intoxication and withdrawal. The process involves elimination of toxins from the body of a patient. Detox aims at minimizing the physical damage caused by the presence of psychoactive substances in the body, either deliberately or accidentally.
Depending on type of the substance abused and severity of symptoms, various detox approaches may be considered for different patients. It can be performed in a wide range of settings and at multiple levels of intensity. Conventionally, detox uses medications to remove toxins from the body. However, it is noteworthy that drug and alcohol abuse causes nutritional deficiencies in the body, which need to be replenished for a healthy recovery. Therefore, health experts, nowadays, are recommending nutrient-based detox therapies. Here are some vital nutrients that people undergoing detox should consume:
- Vitamins B and C: Vitamins B1, B3 and B5 aid body in converting sugar into energy, while vitamins B6 and B12 help produce blood cells. Heavy alcohol consumption and drug use impair body’s ability to absorb these nutrients. Therefore, individuals struggling with an addiction should take adequate dosage of B-group vitamins for healthy recovery. The anti-addiction property of B vitamins is used by detox clinics to treat people with addiction. Vitamin therapy, also referred to as NAD IV therapy, is a natural holistic detox procedure to help patients manage withdrawal symptoms while preparing their body for subsequent treatment. NAD or nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide is a coenzyme present in almost every cell in the body and helps metabolize fats, carbohydrates and amino acids. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) deficiency makes people feel fatigued or depressed, which can make withdrawal symptoms worse. Patients undergoing detox treatment should increase their vitamin C intake to negate unpleasant feelings caused by withdrawal symptoms.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: From boosting heart health to helping alleviate depressive symptoms, omega-3 is known to offer a multitude of benefits. According to a study published in the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, the anti-depression properties of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) may be attributed to its anti-inflammatory effects and their role in bringing about structural changes in the brain. Drug addiction treatment centers are now using omega-3 fatty acids in their detox programs for natural and sustained recovery. Flaxseed oil, fatty fish, walnuts, soybeans and oysters are some of the rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Proteins: Hundreds or thousands of amino acids together form proteins that regulate several functions and play an important role in maintaining living system. Proteins exist in seven types, including enzymes, antibodies and some hormones like insulin. Talking about the mental health, tryptophan, an essential amino acid, is known to influence mood by producing the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin, also called nature’s Prozac, is associated with depression. Foods such as meat, dairy products, fruits and seeds are abundant in tryptophan. Many detox clinics use amino acid therapy to help patients get rid of harmful toxins without causing protein deficiency.
- Calcium: Studies suggest a positive association between calcium intake and lower depression levels. Calcium may also have a calming effect on many mental health conditions and sleep- related problems. It is also known to have a protective effect on difficulty in falling asleep, anxiety and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Seeking specialized treatment
Adequate intake of aforesaid nutrients is important for people struggling with addiction. However, it is advised to approach a credible detox rehab for sustainable recovery.