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A Look at the Relationship Between Addiction and Loneliness

John Templeton Jr. - August 9, 2021

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When you’re experiencing loneliness, it’s a lot like being stranded on the side of the road when your car breaks down. There might be a variety of beautiful scenery around you like the crystal blue sky and a nice refreshing breeze, but the isolation you feel from being stuck without a working car keeps you from seeing it. You start to feel stranded as cars that you expect to stop and offer help continue to drive past. All you need is one social connection to help you, but you can’t seem to get it. 

Many of us can relate to that situation and have experienced a stint or two of loneliness in our lives. For people struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, feelings of loneliness have an overwhelming effect on their well being. In this post, we’ll explain how loneliness can make your addiction worse, and what you can do to overcome it. 

Does Loneliness Make Your Addiction Worse? 

Unfortunately, loneliness has the potential to make your drug or alcohol addiction worse, but why is this the case? It’s common for people to fall victim to substance abuse because they are coping with feelings of stress, depression or anxiety. When you use drugs or alcohol to cope with mental health issues, it’s an isolating behavior by nature. Substance abuse often puts a strain on your close relationships, making it harder to maintain your social connections. 

As your addiction to drugs and alcohol starts to get stronger, your most important relationship becomes the substance you’re abusing. You start to put it above everything else, as family and friends start to fall by the wayside. However, as the feelings of loneliness get stronger, you might become even more reliant on drugs or alcohol as a way to cope. It’s a vicious cycle since abusing drugs or alcohol is the only coping mechanism you know that works. However, the short term relief that substance abuse grants you is not worth the price of the long-term damage it can cause to your health and people you love. 

If you’re wondering how to know if you’re lonely, some of the most common symptoms of loneliness in addiction include: 

  • Feeling disconnected from other people 
  • A strong sense of hopelessness about the future 
  • Feeling like you’re unable to connect with others on an emotional level 
  • Thinking that no one cares about you 
  • Feeling abandoned 
  • Thoughts about how no one wants to be with you 

What You Need to Know About Social Isolation and Addiction 

Loneliness Can Fuel Dual Diagnosis Disorders 

When you’re experiencing severe loneliness, It can be difficult to manage on it’s own. If you’re struggling with substance abuse and a mental health disorder, loneliness has the potential to worsen the symptoms you’re experiencing. Much like addiction, many mental health conditions like generalized anxiety disorder or depression require social connection to move forward in the recovery journey. 

People Might Not Know There’s a Way Out 

Loneliness and addiction are great at convincing you that there’s no way to move forward. As a result, people struggling with intense loneliness think that continued substance abuse is the only way to continue to manage the emotions you’re facing. When someone gets to this point, their mental health and substance abuse pose even more risks to their well being. Not only do you run the risk of damaging important parts of the body like the liver, kidneys and brain, loneliness mixed with substance abuse also increases your risk of suicide. 

There Are Healthy Ways to Cope with Loneliness 

It’s important to know that there are ways to cope with feelings of loneliness that do not involve drugs or alcohol. There are support systems out there like luxury addiction treatment programs that can give you a private place to heal your mind, body and spirit. In fact, any healthy activity like having a conversation with a loved one, can help you realize that there’s hope for a brighter future. If you’re ready to take the first step towards lasting recovery, you can find expert addiction recovery support. 

Break Free from Loneliness and Addiction in Florida 

At Footprints Beachside Recovery, we know the impact that loneliness can have on your well being when you’re struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction. We’ve been through this process ourselves, which is how we know that you have the potential to reach lasting recovery. Our family-run addiction treatment center in Florida is passionate about providing you with the care needed to turn your life around. Contact our admissions team today to learn how our personalized approach to treatment can help you create a healthy and meaningful future.

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