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Nutrition and exercise important for alcohol and other drug treatment

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Alcohol and other drug use can impact our overall health and wellbeing. When you want to make a change in relation to alcohol and other drug use, it's important to consider nutrition and exercise.


Alcohol or other drug use can have a negative impact on the ingestion and absorption of nutrients through changes in appetite, damage to the digestive tract and increased loss of nutrients. Poor diet can contribute to the mental health issues that commonly occur alongside alcohol or other drug use. Deficiencies in essential nutrients, such as B Vitamins, may also exacerbate the negative effects of alcohol or other drugs.

Side effects of drug detoxification including vomiting, nausea and loss of appetite may be alleviated with appropriate nutrition as detailed in the 'Healthy Eating for Wellbeing' guide available from WANADA.


The benefits of exercise for good health are well known. For people who have problems with alcohol and other drug use, exercise is particularly beneficial. Exercise reduces the symptoms of depression and anxiety and improves mood. It also helps to maintain a healthy body weight. A recent study found exercise has a protective effect on the brain from alcohol damage.

Exercise is also recommended during the alcohol or other drug withdrawal process to help provide an outlet for cravings or urges.

Healthy Eating for Wellbeing and Circuit Training Guides

Recognising the importance of diet and exercise in the alcohol and other drug sector WANADA, with funding from FARE, has created healthy eating and exercise guides for alcohol and other drug agencies and their consumers.

The colourful and easy-to-use Healthy Eating for Wellbeing guides provide information on nutrients affected by alcohol and other drug use, tips for dealing with side effects when undergoing rehabilitation, a section on healthy weight loss and healthy weight gain, meal planning information, nutrition guidelines and information on eating disorders.

The Circuit Training guide provides information on how to design a circuit training routine with recommended exercises and pictures to demonstrate each exercise.

More Information

The three-booklet set of Health and Wellbeing guides is available for purchase from WANADA. Download the  order form for more information, or please call (08) 6365 6365 or email drugpeak@wanada.org.au

Chanelle Smith is a Curtin University Graduate Diploma in Health Promotion student on placement at WANADA. 

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