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Oxford Treatment Center combines dietetics with addiction recovery

Oxford Treatment Center is taking a new approach in terms of guiding people through the early addiction recovery process.

The center’s Resolutions campus, located adjacent to the Oxford Outpatient Center about two miles off Highway 7 South, is a 48-bed transitional community designed to help those in early addiction recovery lay a foundation for returning to a sober lifestyle.

Maintaining a life of sobriety is only one part of being a well-rounded member of society, according to Barbara Cox, MS, LSW, MAC, SAP and Director of Outpatient Services at the center.

“When people have been living in addiction, they’ve often had family members taking care of basic things for them,” Cox said in a news release. “As they transition from treatment into recovery, we’re working not only to help them stay clean and sober. We want to see them move forward in life as healthy, self-sustaining individuals.”

The impact that addiction can have on someone’s life is extensive, according to Meriwether Shelton, RDN, LD, who leads a nutrition and dietetics life-skills class at the Resolutions campus.

Shelton also said it’s not uncommon for those battling an addiction to neglect other parts of their lives, like health and wellness. However, she’s taken matters into her own hands and into the kitchens of the Resolutions campus houses.

In Shelton’s nutrition and dietetics class, patients get together every week to discuss good nutrition habits, explore recipes and plan meals. The classes take place in the kitchens of transitional homes, each of which has a large kitchen and dining room where patients cook and eat together.

“The class teaches how to make healthy decisions. With addiction, the things going into the body are already not good, so we focus on the importance of putting good things into the body,” Shelton said in a news release. “Reflecting on eating habits before and after sobriety also makes people think about the new positive changes in their other habits, too.”

Research supports the incorporation of a nutrition plan in the addiction recovery process. Transitioning from chronic drug abuse to abstinence and treatment means the body has to work harder to replenish neurotransmitters and heal physical damage. As a result, many patients see an increase in the production of stress hormones that depletes nutrients, including vitamins A, B, C and E, zinc, potassium, sodium and essential fatty acids.

However, Shelton said her lessons are about more than food. The class is also designed to provide opportunities for human connectivity that can be valuable in the recovery process, according to a statement from OTC.

“People in addiction often do not want to reach out for help,” Shelton said. “In recovery, getting together and planning meals brings people together and builds bonds that are about helping each other. It’s another way to learn how to be part of a positive group and build trust with others.”

The Resolutions campus offers other life skills classes as well, including those for seeking and holding jobs. Taught by Janna Coleman, M.Ed., LPC, NCC, a former career planning specialist at the University of Mississippi, the job skills course offers instruction in resume writing and job search skills to equip patients with the tools they need to enter the workforce.

To learn more, visit http://www.oxfordtreatment.com.