There is a clear link between loneliness and substance abuse, which feed off and exacerbate one another. Learn how loneliness can cause and worsen addiction and what you can do to feel better. At Compass Detox, our dedicated therapists and medical team create a positive environment to allow you to clean out your body, clear your mind, and learn how to build solid relationships again.
How Addiction Impacts Loneliness
Exploring the relationship between addiction and loneliness is like asking whether the chicken or the egg came first. Perhaps loneliness and isolation triggered your addiction. On the other hand, using drugs such as cocaine or heroin or engaging in alcohol abuse changes your behavior and often causes you to withdraw from those you love.
Addiction changes your brain’s chemistry, which impacts everything from behavior to how your internal reward system works. Just as a compulsive gambler or food addict cannot control their impulses, alcohol, and drug addictions impair your ability to self-regulate. Substance use disorders cause many of our patients to perform poorly at work or school and impact their social lives. Ultimately, behavioral changes push other people away.
Thus begins a downward spiral of social isolation and loneliness. Substance use disorders are mental illnesses, many of which cause or result from a lack of control, feelings of despair, and the desire to overcome those feelings through the effects of drugs and alcohol.
Some people drink alcohol or experiment with drugs to feel less inhibited in a social setting. In the short term, this may work well. Unfortunately, lonely and depressed people often use drugs and alcohol to feel better, even when alone. Whether you use drugs in public or the privacy of your own home, it’s a short-term solution with dire long-term consequences.
Although drinking or using drugs may begin as a social crutch, addiction quickly takes on a life of its own. Depending on the substance you turn to, you may become addicted after the first use. Drugs and alcohol take a huge toll on your mind and body. So, the sooner you begin your substance abuse detox treatment, the sooner you can master skills that will help you open up to others and avoid loneliness.
Social Connections and Recovery
Even if you’re shy, social connections can strengthen your sense of purpose and bring joy to your life. Here are some of the benefits of cultivating sober social connections after detox and recovery:
- Develop a sense of purpose through positive associations
- Gain positive mental health benefits by reversing some of the damage done to your brain’s reward center.
- Reduce stress by building a network of supportive friends.
- Lower your risk of relapse by talking your feelings through instead of acting out.
Defeat Loneliness by Building Relationships
Follow the tips below to leave loneliness behind before you sign up for our men’s or women’s substance abuse detox programs:
- Reflect: Consider the extent of your loneliness. Typically, you can moderate temporary feelings by calling a friend or visiting a supportive family member. Additionally, opening yourself up can help relieve stress and anxiety that sometimes leads to cravings and relapse.
- Connect: Random acts of kindness, volunteering for a local organization, or getting involved in church activities can help you meet new people that reflect your current goals and values.
- Interact: When you take part in activities, make an effort to talk to others one on one or take part in group discussions. If you like to read, consider joining a local book club or Bible study. Passive activities, such as watching a movie, can pave the way for deeper discussions and relationship building.
Substance Abuse Detox in South Florida
At Compass Detox in South Florida, our inpatient detox treatment programs focus on ridding your body of toxic substances. During the recovery process, you will explore loneliness, anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders that threaten your recovery. Leave yourself open to developing new skills and habits, and you can look forward to lifelong recovery. Call us at 855.526.4915, or contact us online today to learn more about the detox admissions process to get started.