What is Your Position on the Use of Dietary Supplements?
Even though it appears to offer some physiological advantages; immediately bombarding a drug addict who has entered treatment with pills and other supplements may not support recovery. The use of supplements should be used with caution, as drug addicts are likely to prefer a “quick fix” approach to recovery and avoid a painful introspective recovery process.
Additionally, nutritional supplements may give patients the idea that as long as they are taking their pills, they have no need to improve their eating habits. Finally, street drugs can exert a tremendous strain on the liver, and supraphysiological doses of nutrients may actually conflict with the healing process.
Eating behavior should always be the primary intervention and supplements should be used secondarily. The emphasis of Nutrition In Recovery is on long-term behavior change. However, micronutrient supplementation may be indicated in many cases, but should be based upon laboratory tests.
A daily multivitamin can be useful but should often be discontinued around six months of sobriety once eating behavior is normalized and intake becomes balanced. In other cases, supplementation can be warranted but should always be assessed on an individual basis as opposed to overzealous administration.
- Mr. Wiss has written a chapter on nutrition therapy for eating disorder, substance use disorder and addictions, which can be ordered on Amazon HERE
- Read an article by David Wiss MS RDN: Understanding Nutrition in Addiction Recovery
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