Source of Publication
A comprehensive overview is presented of the nutritional issues faced by people who use drugs or are undergoing treatment for recovery. Chronic substance use affects a person's nutritional status and body composition through decreased intake, nutrient absorption, and dysregulation of hormones that alter the mechanisms of satiety and food intake. Anthropometrics alone is not the best indicator of nutritional status, because this population has hidden deficiencies and disturbed metabolic parameters. Socioeconomic factors (eg, higher education, higher income, presence of a partner, living at home) positively affect nutritional status. Scarce available data on users undergoing treatment indicate improvement in anthropometric and metabolic parameters but with micronutrient intake remaining suboptimal. Weight gain is noted especially among women who use drugs and potentially increases their risk of relapse. Finally, specific amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids are promising in decreasing relapse and improving mental health during treatment; however, additional high-quality studies are needed. Nutrition intervention for people who use drugs or are undergoing treatment for recovery is underused; comprehensive programs addressing this population's unique needs are necessary. Future research will identify which components are needed.
Medicine and Health Sciences
drug users, health promotion, nutritional status, substance abuse treatment centers, substance-related disorders
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.
Mahboub, Nadine; Rizk, Rana; Karavetian, Mirey; and de Vries, Nanne, "Nutritional status and eating habits of people who use drugs and/or are undergoing treatment for recovery: a narrative review" (2021). All Works. 4265.
Indexed in Scopus
Open Access Type
Hybrid: This publication is openly available in a subscription-based journal/series