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How isolation fuels and affects addiction

By Tim Woodley

For many, problematic drug and alcohol use and addiction are diseases that live in loneliness. As dependency on and abuse of drugs and alcohol worsens, important areas of our lives are steadily dropped as dependence takes hold, be they psychological or physical. In most cases, problematic drug and alcohol use and addiction is a secret shame that is lived with in the shadows until it can be hidden no more.

This cycle can be broken, however, and a better life can be achieved through friendship, honesty and the open embracing of help and support from professionals and loved ones.


Problematic drug and alcohol use and addiction thrive alone

For almost every person suffering from these issues, the mind becomes a punishing place to be. We become our own worst enemies, filling our thoughts with negative narratives and wretched notions of worthlessness and self-loathing. This hellish mental landscape becomes our home, and it’s a private place that can be hard to escape. Often, there is a perverse comfort found in the privacy of addiction, and this isolation must be faced head-on if we are to succeed and recover.

Isolation becomes problematic for anyone experiencing it. Studies consistently show us that people who are isolated socially tend towards mental health issues and are more likely to abuse substances. In many cases, this becomes a self-reinforcing loop; we turn to substances becomes we feel anxiety, depression and loneliness, and we feel lonely because we feel we must privately live with the shame of our problematic drug and alcohol use or addiction.  


Isolation fuels problematic drug and alcohol use and addiction

Many people turn to substance abuse to simply cope with the challenges of their reality and daily life. A person who suffers from social anxiety or depression is drastically more likely to develop substance dependency, and a person who is dependent on substances can see these issues worsened by their substance misuse.

This vicious feedback cycle forms part of the destructive cycle where rapid deterioration of quality of life and wellbeing is seen as dependency deepens and takes hold. As problematic drug and alcohol use and addiction develop, our natural inclination to hide our activities so they may continue leads us to more easily enable our behaviour. Connections to family, friends and colleagues are severed, leaving us feeling guilt and shame over our behaviour that draws us to substance misuse to avoid facing these difficult emotions directly.


Conquer addiction through rehabilitation

Life is not easy, and a life afflicted with drug and alcohol abuse doubly so. There is no shame in getting help, and the simple truth that recovery succeeds through support and connection to others is one of the pillars of success in any drug and alcohol treatment programme.

Through baring ourselves to the compassion and sympathy of professionals and others struggling with problematic drug and alcohol use and addiction, we can learn to grieve the losses in our lives that are caused by our behaviour. The caring and experienced guidance of therapists allows us to understand our triggers and stressors, leading to a drastic and profound shift in our maturity and perspective on life and addiction.

Recovery is painful, and that pain brings a kind of wisdom that gives a recovered individual a whole new appreciation of the importance of relationships and connections. An isolated life is one prone to addiction, relapse and pain – and the opposite is true for one lived in the comfort and support of others.


Would you like to talk?

If you are struggling with problematic drug and alcohol use or addiction or are concerned over your dependency or abuse of substances, we appreciate you may wish to take smaller steps towards treatment and change. For many of our clients and those we have supported, the simple knowledge that a conversation with a caring and sympathetic addiction professional can be had on their terms makes a world of difference.

While we are here to provide a ground-breaking Dayhab programme for drug and alcohol rehabilitation, we’re also available to simply talk to you about whatever you’re struggling with right now. If you’d like to reach out and have that chat at no further obligation, please do what’s best for you and reach out to us right now. You can either call us on 0208 191 8920 or use our contact form to get in touch.