Our rehabs in Arizona work closely with the families of clients to help them understand addiction and how it changes those closest to them. It’s incredibly difficult to watch the person you love engage in self-destructive behaviors, with little regard for themselves or others. However, addiction is a complex condition that not only affects a person’s physical and mental health but also their social connections.
One common behavior observed in people struggling with addiction is isolation. As much as you may try to engage your loved one, they may continue to withdraw socially. Understanding why a person with addiction may isolate themselves from friends and family can help you be more empathetic towards their struggles.
Let’s explore the reasons behind why addicts often isolate themselves from friends, family and loved ones, shedding light on the emotional and psychological aspects of addiction.
Shame and Guilt
One of the primary reasons addicts isolate themselves is the overwhelming feelings of shame and guilt that accompany addiction. They may harbor intense remorse about their actions, choices and the impact of their addiction on those around them. To avoid confronting these emotions and the judgment of others, they isolate themselves as a form of self-preservation.
Fear of Judgment
Addicts often fear the judgment and criticism of others. They may believe that people will view them as weak, morally flawed or beyond help. This fear of being stigmatized and misunderstood can lead to isolation as a way to shield themselves from the potential pain of judgment.
Maintaining the Addiction
Isolation can also serve the purpose of maintaining the addiction. By distancing themselves from friends and family, addicts can indulge in their destructive behaviors without the interference of loved ones who might try to intervene or request help from rehabs in Arizona. This isolation can create a vicious cycle that perpetuates the addiction.
In cases of physical addiction, the withdrawal symptoms can be severe and extremely uncomfortable. Addicts may isolate themselves during this time to avoid others witnessing their suffering. This isolation can be an attempt to manage the pain and discomfort of withdrawal in private. Keep in mind that withdrawal symptoms can happen any time a person cuts back or quits.
Loss of Interest in Other Activities
As addiction takes hold, individuals may lose interest in activities and hobbies they once enjoyed. The addictive substance or behavior becomes the sole focus of their life. This narrowing of interests can lead to social withdrawal as they no longer find joy or satisfaction in social interactions.
Paradoxically, addicts may isolate themselves out of a misguided attempt to protect their relationships. They may believe that distancing themselves will prevent their loved ones from experiencing the negative consequences of their addiction. While this attempt is to shield others from pain, it ultimately exacerbates the problem.
Depression and Anxiety
Addiction and mental health issues often go hand in hand. Many addicts struggle with depression and anxiety, which can further fuel their isolation. They may feel overwhelmed by the weight of these conditions and choose to withdraw from social interactions as a way to cope.
Lack of Control
Addiction can make individuals feel like they lack control over their lives. They may withdraw to create a semblance of control in their isolated environment, where they can give in to their cravings without external interference.
Understanding why addicts isolate themselves is essential for providing effective support and treatment. While you may understandably feel angry or frustrated, it’s crucial to approach this situation with compassion, empathy and non-judgment.
What are the Consequences of Isolation?
While isolation is a common consequence of addiction, it’s something that is becoming more prevalent in society as a whole. People are spending less time with friends and more time alone, with some surveys showing that 60 percent of people in the U.S. report feeling lonely on a pretty regular basis.
Therefore, it’s possible that your loved one was already feeling lonely before they started using drugs or alcohol, and their substance use problem further isolated them. Either way, loneliness and isolation are public health threats that can shorten lives, increase the risk for certain diseases and raise the risk for mental health issues.
Below are some of the biggest consequences of isolation. Keep in mind that these can have a significant impact on a person struggling with substance use.
- Increased risk of dementia
- Increased risk of heart disease or stroke
- Shorter lifespan
- Higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide
- Higher rates of substance use
- Difficulty sleeping
How Rehabs in Arizona Help Prevent Isolation
Fighting loneliness can have an effect on fighting addiction, and vice versa. The way to break the cycle is by committing to a drug rehab in AZ. Rehab facilities like Wolf Creek Recovery offer support groups and therapy that encourage healthy connections from Day 1. Once individuals have completed detox, they can start working on essential interpersonal skills such as active listening, empathy, managing conflict and building relationships.
Furthermore, our rehabs in Arizona offers alternative therapies such as outdoor therapy, which gets individuals together to enjoy activities like disc golf or hiking. Developing this strong support network and bonding with others over shared experiences reminds people how good it feels to be valued and loved by others.
After completing outpatient rehab, we encourage clients to participate in our Extended Care Program. We also encourage them to practice healthy habits like meditation. Even though meditation is a solitary activity, it’s important to have a healthy mind-body relationship. Meditation teaches you the difference between loneliness and solitude. After all, some people feel alone even when in a crowded room, so it’s important to be at peace with yourself, too.
Build Healthy Connections at Our Rehabs in Arizona
Addiction is a complex condition, and isolation is something that many people with addiction deal with. Fortunately, it is possible to overcome isolation and lead a full life with healthy connections. To break the cycle of loneliness and isolation as a result of your substance use, contact Wolf Creek Recovery today.