Many rehab clinics are constantly looking to find a connection between the body and mind. Recently, a discovery has been made that goes a step further; does gut health influence the success of addiction recovery?
What is the correlation between your gut and mental health?
According to an article from the AToN Center’s website, “Science is proving a strong connection between the microbes in our gut and our overall mental health.” What if these diseases in the gut can be cured? Can it lead to treatments for mental illnesses like depression and anxiety? This is something that Hippocrates believed in 460 BC when he said, “All diseases begin in the gut.”
We’ve always known that nutrition is vital to our overall health, but we haven’t necessarily made the connection between microbes in the gut and our brain. Scientists have completed studies involving mice; the results have shown that changing the mice’s diets can lead to “emotional changes.” Scientists are trying to continue this study with humans, but they say that the same results would still be expected.
Here are some of the worst foods for your gut health:
- High-fat foods
- Fried foods
And here are some of the best:
- Lean meats
- Lean fish
- Whole grains
Since poor gut health can lead to many different mental health problems, scientists conclude that changing your diet to more gut-friendly foods may “have an enormous impact on both mental and physical health.” Stay away from the foods that result in poor gut health!
Why do people with mental illness turn to substance abuse?
An article from dualdiagnosis.org explains the correlation between mental illness and substance abuse. It says that the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) found that there is definitely a correlation between mental illness and substance addiction; for example, people who have been diagnosed with a mental illness have consumed 84% of cocaine and 68% of cigarettes.
Why do people with mental illness turn to addiction? This article gives some possibilities for different examples…
- A person diagnosed with depression may use marijuana to numb their pain.
- A woman with minimal energy may take pills to get things done.
- Someone with social anxiety may use alcohol to feel more comfortable in public.
- A man who had frequent panic attacks may take medications regularly to prevent the attacks before they happen.
As you can see, self-medicating is one of the most noticeable ways to see the connection between mental illness and addiction. People may feel the need to use different substances to cope with their illnesses, but it just results in a cycle of poor mental and physical health.
So, what does this mean for addiction recovery?
Many rehab centers focus on giving their residents a holistic approach to recovering from addiction: making all healthy with the body AND the mind. For example, AToN Detox & Addiction Treatment Center in California concentrates on this holistic approach.
This treatment center encourages their residents to have an organic diet to support their gut health. Making sure that people are eating healthy will motivate their physical health to help their mental health in return.
“There is nothing more important than our residents’ recovery and proper nutrition is a big part of that,” says AToN. Having increased mental health makes for a healthier addiction recovery!
So, poor gut health can cause mental illness which can cause addiction. This means that it is important to take care of your gut health in the first place to stay healthy!