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How Does Diet And Exercise Impact Treatment?

An individual that has struggled with substance abuse and/ or addiction will have implemented a myriad of changes in his or her life to accommodate his or her substance using behaviors.

There are a variety of treatment options available. Each individual is different and will respond to treatment distinctly in varied timeframes. Becoming dependent upon substances does not happen overnight, nor does the recovery from substance use disorder occur instantaneously. Treatment for substance abuse and/ or addiction provides guidance and tools that help an individual learn to not only to lead a sober life, but also to make and integrate overall healthy life-style changes. Although the primary foci in substance abuse and addiction treatment programs are shedding unhealthy habits, shifting damaging substance use related patterns, and correcting substance-abusing behaviors, directing attention to and modifying one’s diet and exercise habits are also imperative to one’s successful recovery process. Diet and exercise, being simple necessities in one’s life, can play a key role in one’s treatment. 

healthy food for drug rehab


Individuals that are in treatment for substance abuse and/ or addiction had previously allocated a significant amount of time to satisfy their drug and/ or alcohol habits during the time of his or her active substance use. Though formalized treatment will have many hours of programming, there will still be a noticeable vacancy of free time that an individual must figure out other ways to fill. Exercise is an excellent and productive way for an individual to occupy his or her newfound free time. There are countless options when it comes to exercise, which can provide an individual with the opportunity to identify one or more types of exercise that resonate. Exercising is a natural way for an individual to release endorphins, helping to elevate one’s mood and reduce stress. 

Taking proactive steps to live a healthy lifestyle must also include prioritizing one’s diet. It is not uncommon for an individual in treatment to have developed poor nutrition habits that formed during his or her active substance use. Creating and following healthy, balanced dietary guidelines can help an individual reduce any post-acute withdrawal symptoms. A health conscience diet can also help to heal one’s body from the damage that occurred as a result of habitual substance abuse. Food is fuel for one’s body and mind. When going through treatment for substance abuse and/ or addiction, powering one’s body with healthy foods can help one’s overall treatment experience. 


Engaging in some form of regular exercise is essential for any human, regardless of whether or not he or she is in recovery. Furthermore, caring for one’s body in the form of mindfully consuming nutritious foods contributes to the ability of one’s body and mind to function at its highest potential. Individuals that neglect to address exercise and nutrition during his or her treatment process can run into significant issues throughout the course of and after the completion of his or her substance abuse treatment program. It is important for an individual to pay attention to his or her diet and exercise during treatment, as tangential addictions and/ or unhealthy habits may develop if these life-style aspects are not seriously considered. Although exercise can be incredibly healing, excessively exercising can lead to a whole other set of issues. It is not uncommon for an individual in recovery to unintentionally replace one addiction with another, which is one of the reasons it is imperative to mindfully look at and address all areas of one’s life during treatment. While a complete disregard for one’s diet and exercise habits during treatment can lead to damaging consequences, there are few negative aspects resulting from intentionally tending to one’s exercise and diet during treatment. Fostering and purposefully integrating routine exercise and maintaining a healthy diet can be valuable throughout one’s entire life.

woman in recovery

Further Information

Substance abuse and addiction can be incredibly dangerous.

If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse or addiction, please get help as soon as possible. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy and fulfilling lives. There is no reason to go through this alone. Please feel free to reach out to us for further information or with any questions regarding substance abuse or addiction. 

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