Substance abuse and nutrition

The holidays can snowball and crash in substance abuse!

With the slue of holidays around the corner, it may be a good idea to make preparation for more than just the usual entertainment and festivities.  For many the holidays can bring on feelings of depression, loneliness and abandonment, and these feelings can result in dependence on alcohol and other drugs.  Michigan State University Extension suggests that you pay attention to the use or abuse of alcohol and other drugs, and be aware of the impact it can make on your nutrition and general health.  Some of the effects on the body are:

  • Nutrition, eating behavior and substance abuse:
    • Skipping meals or binge eating.
    • Making unhealthy choices, like eating more junk food.
    • Eating at all or any hour of the day or night.
    • Flavor of food can be affected, resulting in adding more salt, fat or sugar.
    • Eating patterns can be impacted by upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.
    • Illness or disease, like stomach ulcers and certain cancers can affect food metabolism, organ function, eating patterns and habits.
    • Nutrient deficiency, resulting from poor eating habits can affect normal body and brain function.
  • Exercise, physical activity and substance abuse:

    • Affects balance and the way the body moves.
    • Erratic schedules can interfere with exercise routines.
    • Skipping or neglecting exercise routines, impacts overall health.
    • Risk of injury may be increased when exercising under the influence.
    • Fatigue, depression and substance abuse-induced mental health issues can reduce important body signals, leading to unwise physical activity.

Watch your diet and physical activity habits during the holidays, and avoid confusing food hunger with craving alcohol or other drugs.  A poor diet can lead to a host of physical and mental health issues, in the short and long term.   Make provisions for your health and happiness over this holiday season.  Eat, drink and be merry the safe way!

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