Management of substance abuse disorder
Nutritional support can play a critical role in the management of substance use disorder. Often, the process involves treatment and counselling by an integrative team. Functional medicine health coaches, healthcare professionals, psychologists can all offer foundational and specific support to an individual suffering from addiction. An important aspect to remember is that this is no time to create division between modalities. Instead together we want to educate and build a bridge based on trust, compassion, knowledge and understanding. Family support also plays a vital role in ensuring the long-term success of the treatment in such cases.
Factors that can lead to addictions
The treatment of substance use disorder involves identifying and eliminating the factors that can lead to or contribute to the worsening of the addiction. Thus, it is important to be aware of these factors as they can also trigger a relapse in the future even after the patient has recovered.
Some factors that can trigger addictions include:
- A desire to be part of a group
- To relieve stress
- To cope with an unfavourable or challenging problem
- To relieve physical pain or psychological trauma
- To overcome boredom
As with most other health conditions, the treatment of substance use disorder also needs to be planned and customized keeping in mind the unique physical, emotional, and nutritional needs of the person.
It should be noted that each person is unique and hence, requires comprehensive assessment for the identification of co-existing conditions. Therefore, the treatment of substance use disorder may also involve social, physical, dietary, and psychological assessments.
The role of sound sleep in maintaining optimum health should not be neglected. Research studies suggest that sleep disturbances might increase the risk of substance use. These factors may also influence the effectiveness of the treatment.
Also, disruptions in the sleep pattern and disturbances in the circadian rhythm are often at their worst during the most critical initial phase of withdrawal. Treatment aimed at balancing the levels of hormones in the nervous system such as melatonin, progesterone, and adenosine and modifying light exposure could help to maintain the normal circadian rhythm and help the patient sleep well and avoid the symptoms of withdrawal.
Additionally, most drugs act as neurotoxins, particularly when used over several weeks to months. These drugs can affect the nutritional status of the body. Hence, there should be an emphasis on correcting nutrient deficiencies, improving gut functions, promoting heavy metal and chemical detoxification, and controlling cellular inflammation and oxidant stress to support faster recovery.