Avoiding Overeating During Recovery From Drug Addiction

If you are on the road to recovery after dealing with drug addiction treatment, you have to be aware that you are still susceptible to other addictions. These other addictions function as substitutes for the drug addiction that you've been trying to shake. One of the more common addictions is food, but there are ways to combat any feelings that make you want to grab the nearest cake or bag of cookies. Here's a look at why this happens and what you can do to make your recovery a whole lot easier.

Comfort Foods and Reward Centers

As mentioned, food addiction after drug addiction is a substitute addiction -- your body is still trying to grab onto something. In fact, Scientific American notes that sugary and fatty foods activate the reward center in the brain, leading to a cycle where you eat the foods, your brain craves more and suddenly doesn't know when to stop the urge to eat, so you eat more, and the cycle continues.

This is also a comfort food issue. Getting off drugs can be stressful, especially if you have to confront the issues that drove you to the drugs. It's no surprise that an easy way to feel better temporarily would involve food.

Combating these reasons for food addiction involves self-care and caution. A few strategies include:

  • Getting enough sleep -- if you don't get a full night's rest, you will have less willpower the next day and will be more likely to head for the high-calorie food. Even if you haven't developed a food addiction, missing sleep can cause you to overeat.
  • Taking life day by day -- or minute by minute if you have to. Trying to rush around and deal with future worries and problems that may or may not actually occur can wear you down and make you crave comforting foods.
  • Setting up a meal schedule -- if you can limit yourself to eating at only certain times of the day, it may be easier to avoid eating all of the time. See if menu planning also helps you avoid less healthy foods.
  • Finding substitute foods -- if you are truly in need of something sweet, see if fruit will suffice. If you absolutely have to eat something, make it something healthy that has fiber and vitamins that can improve your overall health.
  • Eating slowly -- really pay attention to what you're eating as you eat. Don't read or watch TV while eating; instead, focus fully on the food and your actions as you eat it.
  • Sticking with your therapy -- staying with your therapy sessions or outpatient rehab can help you confront the tougher aspects of recovery and your motives for getting into drugs in the first place. By addressing these, you lessen the need for comfort food.

If you want more tips on keeping your eating in check as you recover, talk to your rehab counselor and therapist. They've seen this all before and can help you through the tough times.