Addiction is frequently a lonely condition for everyone involved. Humans are naturally sociable beings because we have a physical and emotional need to interact with others. However, many addicts frequently report feeling alone. In actuality, research has shown that folks who battle addiction are more prone to loneliness than those who do not.
What is the connection between addiction and isolation? Find out below.
The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation provides sober living homes that foster support and accountability to help you successfully return to your former life with family and friends.
Addiction and Isolation: The Link
People frequently experience anger, frustration, and depression when they don’t feel like they belong or are being validated. Unfortunately, these events can bring on self-harm and other high-risk behavior, and this isolation may become even more pronounced, which leads to more drinking.
For many people, loneliness and addiction frequently go hand in hand. We are all social beings who want close familial and personal connections. In fact, Maslow’s Hierarchy of wants places the desire for love and belonging just behind safety and the most fundamental physical wants, including food and shelter, as the most fundamental human needs.
Is Isolation Common?
In a recent survey, almost three in four respondents experienced severe loneliness. Although loneliness’s emotional effects are obvious, it also profoundly impacts your physical well-being. You can feel loved, valued, and part of something bigger than yourself when there is no one else around. Loneliness can lead to health conditions, such as elevated blood pressure, a weakened immune system, and heart disease.
Being alone increases one’s likelihood of having a substance use disorder and other health problems because drugs, drinking, and loneliness frequently go hand in hand.
How Isolation Affects Alcoholics
Addiction frequently results in behavioral changes, such as lying or secrecy, both breeding grounds for alcohol abuse. As a result, an ongoing cycle of drinking and isolation is created, which may develop over time.
Isolation has certain effects on the brain, as does alcoholism. Some of the effects of loneliness are:
- Negative health repercussions
- Accelerated aging
- An increased risk in certain disease progressions such as Alzheimer’s
According to studies, loneliness is just as harmful as obesity and just as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. These impacts raise the risk to an addict’s health, which is already compromised by the negative physical and emotional repercussions of alcoholism or drug use. Some effects of alcoholism are:
- Similar negative health repercussions
- Weakening of the immune system
- Learning and memory problems
As you can see, loneliness and alcoholism can impact health in similar ways, speeding up the negative effects you may experience.
Mental Illness and Isolation
Approximately 50% of people with a mental illness will also develop a substance addiction disease at some point in their lives. And mental illness frequently causes isolation. This could be due to paranoia, fear, or not being able to get out of bed or your home. Another common experience is being shunned for your illness and struggling to find people to connect with who understand.
This circumstance makes it easier for those who are living with addiction, have mental health issues, or have comorbid disorders to feel lonely. Suicidal ideation may be present if that sense of solitude gets to be too extreme. Medical specialists have only begun recognizing the dangers of loneliness, mental illness, and addiction, so there may not be enough emphasis on socializing sufferers. Making it important for loved ones and the addict to advocate for themselves.
Sanctuary Recovery Foundation
The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation provides a secure, clean, and supportive environment that fosters community and successful recovery. This is a great opportunity for those seeking to escape isolation and find a welcoming community of people who understand. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you or your spouse create a sober and successful life.