The Connection Between Loneliness & Addiction
Loneliness and isolation play a large role in drug and alcohol addiction. In fact, studies and research show that people who experience social isolation often deal with mental health and substance abuse issues. Still, it’s important to note that while drug and alcohol use are typical coping mechanisms for those experiencing loneliness, substance abuse can create more feelings of isolation. The connection between loneliness and addiction is a vicious cycle.
Loneliness as a Trigger & Effect
Those who experience loneliness often self-medicate by way of drugs and alcohol. Typically, these substances serve as temporary distractions from anxieties, stressors, and triggers. With that said, it’s important to remember that these feelings of euphoria are temporary. And because of the effect that these substances have on the brain, they often leave addicts feeling more drained and isolated.
Why It’s Important to Seek Social Support
Research shows that loneliness can be more adverse to your health than obesity. In fact, it could have the same detrimental effects on your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. People who experience loneliness are more likely to experience a premature death, high blood pressure, and immune system compromisation. Conversely, finding a social system can provide you with the love, happiness, and feelings of empowerment necessary for our emotional, physical, and mental health. This social support creates a sense of purpose, feelings of comfort, and can even contribute to a longer life.
Tips To Fight Loneliness
Find groups of like-minded individuals through clubs, groups, and meetups. Consider taking up new hobbies and search for beginner classes in your area. You may not make friends immediately, but being around people is sure to lift your spirits all the same. Volunteer and give back to the community. Not only are you making a difference, but you’ll be sure to meet other loving, caring individuals who may be seeking companionship. Most importantly, consider going to therapy for these feelings of isolation. Being heard and feeling valued are crucial.
Remember that loneliness is temporary. Look to the future and put in the work to form bonds and connect with people. Forging new relationships may seem daunting, but there’s surely a community out there for you! And if you or a loved one is coping with loneliness through substance abuse, speak to a medical professional so they can give you the tools needed to get help.