More than 20 million Americans have some form of addiction, from addiction to illicit substances to addiction to social media. Unfortunately, these addictions can cause individuals to self-isolate.
Addiction and isolation tend to go hand-in-hand, and both can fuel the other. Getting stuck in this unhealthy cycle is easy. Individuals who find themselves socially isolating and fuelling their addictions may not know how to break free and recover.
This guide will explore the relationship between addiction and isolation and discuss helpful tips for overcoming these challenges.
The Relationship Between Addiction and Isolation
When most people think about addiction, they think about drug and alcohol use. But people can become addicted to almost anything, including caffeine, gambling, and social media.
Individuals with long-term or all-consuming addictions tend to experience the most dramatic consequences. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and strong relationships can be impossible when addictive actions and thoughts take over.
This strong addictive pull can lead you to a state of isolation, where you do everything you can to avoid friends, family members, and co-workers. After all, it’s easy to experience feelings of guilt, shame, and worthlessness when in the midst of an addiction. And these feelings make it challenging to socialize with others.
Prolonged social isolation can exacerbate these feelings. Over time, social isolation can lead to intense feelings of depression or anxiety. This type of self-isolation can also negatively impact your overall health.
Consequences of Prolonged Social Isolation
Keeping to yourself from time to time is normal, especially if you’re an introvert. However, those with addictions may isolate due to feelings of guilt, shame, or insecurity.
Prolonged social isolation poses several risks, including:
- Depression and anxiety
- Poor sleep quality
- Impaired immune response
- Decreased cognitive functioning
- Inferior quality of life
Fortunately, there are ways to fight back against addiction and isolation. Let’s review practical tips to help you get started.
Seven Tips To Overcome Addiction and Isolation
Overcoming addiction and isolation can change your life for the better. While it might prove to be a constant challenge, it’s a battle that’s more than worth fighting.
If you’re ready to embrace a brighter, happier, and healthier life, be sure to check out these valuable tips. More than likely, at least one of these changes can be the first step toward recovery.
Volunteer For a Good Cause
One of the best ways to achieve a happier life is to help others. Those combating addiction may believe they have nothing to give, but everyone has something to offer their communities.
For example, you could choose to volunteer to:
- Help pick up roadside litter
- Feed animals at an animal shelter
- Plant trees
- Tutor at-risk youth
- Cook food at a soup kitchen
Unsure where to find local volunteer opportunities? You can use the VolunteerMatch search engine to discover nearby organizations that need your help.
Reconnect With Your Passions
Addictions can make it almost impossible to pursue our dreams and passions. Other activities tend to fall to the wayside when we’re caught up in feeding an addiction. Isolation can worsen the issue, especially for those who enjoy social hobbies.
Taking the time to reconnect with your passions and favorite hobbies may help you begin distancing yourself from addictive substances or behaviors. They can also reignite your sense of joy and wonder, lessening your feelings of loneliness and depression.
So, if you enjoy painting, try purchasing a small canvas and some paints and giving it a whirl. If you enjoy playing music, rent an instrument or purchase something small like a harmonica. No matter your passion, there’s a quick and affordable way to begin pursuing it once more.
Exercise Often and With Purpose
Becoming active is an excellent way to divert your attention away from addictions and toward a healthy goal. For example, going for a quick jog when you’re craving a cigarette can help you overcome your craving while also releasing feel-good hormones like dopamine.
Making an exercise plan or goal can help you stay on track. So, if you’ve been looking to gain muscle mass or lose some fat, be sure to choose activities geared toward those goals. Exercising with a purpose may help you feel more self-fulfilled.
You might also meet new friends at your local gym or on a nearby jogging route!
Adopt a Pet or a Plant
Social interactions with other people can be challenging, especially after several weeks or months of self-isolation. But you can enjoy companionship in different ways.
Adopting a pet from a local animal shelter or bringing home an indoor plant can help you reconnect with other living things without having to navigate tricky conversations. Additionally, caring for an animal or plant can inspire you to care for yourself.
Still, you’ll want to choose a creature that you can responsibly maintain. If you’re nervous about the idea of owning a cat or dog, you might want to start with a goldfish or a plant.
Get More Involved In Your Career
Isolating from others can affect your career and work life, as can addictions. For example, it’s easy to withdraw from social settings at work when feeling judged by others or ashamed of one’s actions.
But deciding to become a more active contributor can make a huge difference. Gladly attending work meetings, checking in on co-workers, and asking how you can help make work a better place are fantastic ways to get more involved.
Putting more effort into your position and work relationships may also impress your employers, allowing for rapid advancement in your career.
Reach Out To Family And Friends
Addictions can lead you to believe the worst about yourself. And when you’re feeling ashamed or insecure, you’re less likely to communicate with loved ones.
Re-establishing relationships with friends and family members can help you combat feelings of shame or guilt. Having the love and support of others is also a great way to build a support system.
Still, we understand that some loved ones may encourage bad habits and addictions. We also know that some family members may be unsupportive of your lifestyle and unwilling to reconnect.
Fortunately, you can always establish new friendships and connections in your community. However, if you don’t feel like you’re in a place to do so, you may want to make addiction treatment and recovery services a top priority.
Seek Professional Addiction Counseling
Nearly everyone can benefit from therapy and counseling. Though mental health care was once stigmatized, it’s now considered a socially acceptable form of treatment. As such, there’s no shame in reaching out for professional help.
Addiction counseling and drug detox programs are helpful tools that can get you started on the path toward recovery. Those with powerful drug addictions (such as opioid addiction) can benefit immensely from these services.
Remember, counselors, therapists, and staff aren’t here to judge or shame you. Instead, we’re by your side to offer help, guidance, and support!
Addiction Treatment Is Available In Riverside County
Drug addiction and behavioral isolation can leave you feeling depressed, anxious, and physically unwell. But there is hope.
Often, the road to recovery starts with small lifestyle changes. For example, exercising more regularly, establishing new social connections, and investing time in your career are excellent ways to untether yourself from addiction and build a new support system.
Unsure where to start? Contact Inland Detox today to receive friendly guidance and information on detox programs.