Experience indicated to us that in treating the addict child a holistic approach must be followed. We must understand that the drug addict
gets attacked in various ways by the extremely poisonous substances they use. It would be difficult if not impossible to cure the mind of
the addict where the body is still broken. Whilst healing the body would include a proper fitness and activity program one cannot begin to
advance to that stage of rehabilitation without first mending the body.
Experience indicated that amongst other things the most neglected part of daily routine with the drug addicts is the diet. Although the different
drugs attach the body in different ways, effecting different organs and functions of the body. General health must first be addressed before
specialized diet programs can be attempted.
The following diet would indicate in general terms the efforts needed to return the addict to normal health.
It must be born in mind that during advanced stages of addiction the addict will confuse any impulse from the body as a call for drugs.
Even substituting meals with drugs. The result normally is a body low in fat without the necessary vitamins and minerals to allow organs
to perform their intended functions. Blood circulation and they system of digestion are also badly affected. Energy levels would be low
and the body's ability to resist illness and disease is almost non-existent.
It must be born in mind that it is always best to work with facts surrounding the individual rather than a shotgun approach. In order to
achieve what is best for your particular child it is strongly recommended that you take the following steps :
All of the above may take some time and money to put together. In the meantime the child cannot be left alone to go about his diet like before.
- Visit your GP alone. Explain to him that your child is an addict. If possible, provide him with your child's full medical history indicating allergies, major health problems, explain his present state of health and mental health. Then explain to him the problem, in order to start helping your child it is extremely important that he determine as accurately as possible, your child's general health and the damage already done.
- You must indicate to your GP what substances your child abused. Then ask him how this specific drug is going to affect and attack your child's body. Be inquisitive . Questions you should as includes but is not limited to :
- what specific organs will be affected by this drug
- the vitamins and minerals needed to help return those organs to normal functioning
- is there any medication that can assist in achieving that
- what food products must be avoided
- Explain to your GP that you will make an appointment for your child for a full medical check. That he must use this opportunity to access the full extent of the damages.
- Request your GP to run all the necessary blood and other tests that you can afford and that he deems necessary to scientifically decide upon a proper diet.
- Than make that appointment. See to it that your child keeps to it and visits your GP at the appropriate time to receive the results of all tests and his full report. Get his suggestions and prescriptions. It is important that you get all this in writing for future reference and other specialists to work with.
- Take this report to a dietician. Be honest. Explain the situation and ask the dietician to prescribe a diet for the child's specific needs.
- Follow that diet religiously.
What we are going to suggest for this in between period is a general approach dictated by experience and common sense. We will deal with this
under four (4) heading :
A. PRODUCTS THAT MUST BE AVOIDED
Again, we deal with this in general terms.
- all processed foods
- preservatives in all its forms
- excessive salt (substitute with vegetable salts)
- all junk food and any fast foods
- sugar (substitute with honey)
- caffeine (substitute with Rooibos tea)
- soda drinks (substitute with fruit juice, vegetable juice and water)
- white bread (substitute with full grain)
- quick breakfast cereals (substitute with oats and muesli and yoghurt)
To help your child achieve a regular intake of healthy food you will first need to discipline him in attending regular meals. Remember that you
are retraining your child as if he is a toddler. Be patient, innovative and take things step by step. Do not see the rejection of a meal as the
rejection of you and your discipline. Do not expect your child to consume large quantities of your lovingly prepared meals at first. Also do
not expect your child to be content with his salad and water while the rest of the family slurp away at coke and pizza's. The purpose of the
meals you present him with is to include him back into the family rather than indicating him as the odd one out in the family. What he eats
should be good enough for the rest of the family. The purpose of this diet is also the therapeutic with the main aim to occupy the mind as
well as the body for periods as long as possible. It is therefore advisable to involve the child if possible with the planning and preparation
of the meal. Make use of meal times to communicate and draw the child back into the family. Enough time spent at the table during meal
times wil encourage the child to better consumption and therefore achieve the purpose of the diet in better time and with better affect.
Avoid other activities (like TV) during meal times.
A good diet should include three main meals being early morning, midday and early evenings. Of these breakfast will be the most important
and normally the most neglected.
C. A FEW ASPECTS TO REMEMBER
D. LIST OF ITEMS THAT CAN BE INCLUDED TO PRESENT THE DIFFERENT MEALS
- Your addict child will be craving through the night with nothing to occupy his mind and body. Breakfast must be presented as early as possible in the morning. It is suggested that you wake your child up at the time of your choice with a cup of Rooibos tea and honey. Get him into the shower while you prepare breakfast. It should be served between 06:30 and 07:30 in the morning if possible.
- The next main meal should be served between 12:30 and 13:30.
- Supper between 17:30 and 18:30. Try to spend at least a three quarters of an hour to an hour around the table. This can only be achieved by splitting up all meals in different courses.
- Because we will use the opportunity of feeding the child and mending his body, also as an opportunity to keep him busy and to occupy his mind, we suggest light high tea and noon tea meals. At first the necessary food intake will be better achieved with more small meals than fewer large meals.
- It's important to provide a substitution for the dwelling mind with healthy snacks, fruit juices and tea in between meals.
- We again stress that in extreme cases the digestive system will only be able to handle small portions of food at a time. The purpose of this diet will not be achieved if we do not keep that in mind. The regular intake of fluids and liquids must be maintained throughout the day. For this purpose there is nothing better than good clean water.