For many people in treatment for addiction, sugary foods can become a source of comfort and reward when drugs and alcohol are no longer an option.  While a cookie can seem harmless in comparison to an alcohol binge, sugar can become a legitimate problem in early sobriety. There are several reasons why sugar habits are so common among the newly sober, as well as effective methods for managing cravings and eating habits.  As with everything in recovery, and life in general, the key is to find a healthy balance.

Co-Occurring Disorders Create a Vicious Cycle 

Addiction to drugs and alcohol often occurs as a result of chemical imbalances in the brain and can create and worsen these imbalances as well.  These imbalances affect the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, chemicals in the brain that help regulate mood. Some people who are more prone to addiction have a pre-existing mental health condition that causes this imbalance, while others create an imbalance by abusing drugs and alcohol.  Either way, most people in recovery have brains that are struggling to regain balance and function. One way the brain seeks to replace neurotransmitter production after giving up drugs and alcohol is by finding new activities that stimulate the same reward system.

Assessing Your Body’s Needs vs Emotional Want 

Sugar is one common way the brain attempts to find an outside source of reward.  While strict dieting or complete avoidance of certain foods is not advisable during early sobriety because it may increase your chance of stress-induced relapse, it is important to be mindful of new behaviors that may turn into compulsions.  For those that are battling an alcohol addiction, there may be a blood sugar issue at play, and it can be helpful to seek the guidance of an addiction-informed nutritionist. While a sugar habit can become problematic, it is important to be gentle with yourself and your personal evolution.  A holistic treatment program can help you address the underlying issues that may be causing you to seek new forms of reward, and help you to manage potentially unhealthy choices in the meantime.  

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, now is the time to reach out for help.  At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  The Arbor uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor, you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 844-413-2690.