Does Isolation Encourage Substance Abuse?

Social isolation describes the absence of social contact and can lead to loneliness. It is a state of being cut off from normal social networks, which can be triggered by factors such as loss of mobility, unemployment, health issues, or substance abuse. People that are alone, without a support system, can easily fall into the trap of addiction. Maintaining healthy relationships is important for having balance in your life, which is what isolated individuals often lack.

does isolation encourage substance abuse

How Does Isolation Affect Us?

Researchers gain new insights into the brain mechanisms underlying the negative effects caused by long-term social isolation. Chronic social isolation has debilitating effects on mental health in mammals — for example, it is often associated with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder in humans. The increased mortality risk is comparable to that of smoking. And loneliness is about twice as dangerous as obesity. Social isolation impairs immune function and boosts inflammation, which can lead to arthritis, type II diabetes, and heart disease.

Loneliness is not just making us sick; it is killing us. Loneliness is a serious health risk. Studies of elderly people and social isolation concluded that those without adequate social interaction were twice as likely to die prematurely. Loneliness is breaking our hearts, but as a culture, we rarely talk about it. Loneliness has doubled: 40 percent of adults in two recent surveys said they were lonely, up from 20 percent in the 1980s. All our Internet interactions aren’t helping and may be making loneliness worse. A recent study of Facebook users found that the amount of time you spend on the social network is inversely related to how happy you feel throughout the day.

Why Does Social Isolation Encourage Substance Abuse?

A socially isolated person often chooses the chemical dependence shortcut to avoid pain and frustration and becomes trapped there. The behavior becomes habitual because it can only relieve feelings of inadequacy temporarily because the deficit in the self remains and so the addict returns to feelings of emptiness. The addict lacks the internal resources to sustain feelings of self-approval and self-esteem. There is a direct correlation between substance abuse and the anxious attachment which results from isolation.

Anxious attachment is related to substance abuse. For example, insecure attachment among college students was associated both with alcohol consumption in order to cope with stress. Avoidant individuals, who attempt to detach themselves from psychological distress, can use alcohol and drugs as a means of avoiding painful emotions and self-awareness. (Psychology Today)

Humans are driven innately from birth for close human contact. When we are deprived of this and do not possess the ability to accomplish this task, we are emotionally deficient and vulnerable to addiction. Socially isolated individuals harbor doubts about the availability and responsiveness of others, and they are particularly sensitive to the social pain of rejection. In contrast, healthy social networking provides psychological resources for dealing with problems and adversity.

How Can Recreate Life Counseling Help You

The solution-focused treatment approach offered here at Recreate Life Counseling is designed to assist the addicted and isolated individual with the skills needed for managing impulse control and increasing reflective thinking capacity and interpersonal connectedness. We will guide you in creating, engaging, and maintain a healthy diet, regular exercise plan. Our talk therapy will help you to embrace the ideas of generating and nurturing meaningful relationships.

There is going to be an encouragement in our rehab facility that will be different from any expectation you might have, such as the promoting of social activities to meet new people, learning something new, exploring new hobbies, or even finding a pet that fits you as an individual. I encourage you to talk to one of our teams’ experts or substance abuse professionals to answer all of your questions about getting help for yourself or an addicted loved one.