The Role of Nutrition in Addiction Treatment

Published on March 13, 2019
Mountainside Canaan Aerial Shot

Canaan, CT – March 13th is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day, a time when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics acknowledges those who have made a commitment to advancing public health. Today, Mountainside treatment center celebrates the contributions of Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Dr. Joyce Faraj, who inspires individuals to overcome addiction by forming healthy dietary habits that promote sobriety.

Registered dietitian nutritionists – also known as RDNs – provide assistance across multiple community settings, including hospitals, schools, and addiction rehabilitation facilities. These food and nutrition experts offer critical aid to populations in need by working with them to shape nutritional habits that foster overall well-being.

At Mountainside, Dr. Faraj draws from her background in nutritional psychiatry to help clients integrate nutrition into their treatment plans. She guides clients on their journey to recovery through nutrition education groups and individual sessions designed to help them restore their physical health, find mental clarity, and achieve emotional balance.

“Recovery from substance use disorders often starts with choosing foods that provide energy and nourishment. During active use, people may have difficulty establishing regular eating patterns or choosing nutrient-dense foods,” says Faraj. “By understanding which foods to eat and when, people in recovery can form the foundation for a happy, healthy life.”

In her nutrition plans, Dr. Faraj encourages clients to eat regularly, listen to their bodies’ internal hunger and fullness signals, and prepare balanced meals that are rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fats as well as vitamins and minerals. By following these guidelines, clients learn how to fortify their physical well-being as well as regulate their mood and reduce cravings.

“When people in recovery ignore their ‘internal hunger button,’ their blood sugar levels can drop and can trigger increased feelings of lethargy, anxiety, cravings, impaired decision-making, and increased aggressiveness,” says Faraj. “It’s important to practice intuitive eating. By doing so, people are able to better dictate how much they need to eat and the nutrition their bodies need. By listening to their bodies, they’re able to sense what foods make them feel good and what foods make them feel sluggish.”