Nutrition Therapy for the Addicted Brain – David Wiss
Thu, Aug 13, 2015 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM PDT
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Presenter: David Wiss MS RDN, is the founder of Nutrition in Recovery providing nutrition services to drug/alcohol treatment centers and founding clinical member of Breathe Life Healing Centers in Los Angeles. His Masters Thesis “Nutrition and Substance Abuse” was an investigation into the special needs of addicts/alcoholics within the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System.
Recent research has highlighted similarities between drug addiction and food addiction. Regardless of whether an addiction is behavioral or substance-related, nutrition therapy should consider the impact of food choices on the brain and on behavior. This presentation will highlight the importance of nutrition in recovery from addictions.
Medical nutrition therapy for individuals with co-occurring eating and substance use disorders includes assessment, planning, nutrition intervention, and counseling. This involves individual education, meal planning, and monitoring of compliance. Recognized eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. Substances commonly abused include alcohol, stimulants, opiates, and various over the counter substances such as diet pills, laxatives, and diuretics. Integrated treatment can be challenging when the synergistic effects of combined entities are complex and their affects are poorly understood. Clinicians working with patients who have dual diagnoses should be educated about each disorder separately, as well as their interactions. Patients with substance use disorders often develop disordered and dysfunctional eating patterns during abstinence, and eating disorder patients can similarly progress into substance abuse. Traditionally addiction has been addressed first, however delaying eating disorder treatment can hinder recovery, therefore it is important to alert treatment providers who treat patients with dual diagnoses how to assess and address both disorders simultaneously. Specific macro- and micronutrient supplementation treatment is described in detail and protocols for re-feeding in selected cases are provided. Nutrition therapy should address the most serious medical and nutrition conditions first, then target the psychological aspects related to eating behavior in conjunction with a multidisciplinary treatment team. Nutrition education is important for addiction recovery, particularly those who require specialized wellness care, whereas education for disordered eaters must be sensitive to their specific needs. While these guidelines can help steer nutrition interventions for co-occurring eating and substance use disorders, nutritional needs are always best assessed on an individual basis.