We all struggle with overcoming isolation at times, especially within recent years. Whether it’s because of work, family, or health issues and quarantine, we can often find ourselves feeling alone.
Unfortunately, It’s much easier to get into bad habits when you’re facing social isolation. Many people living in isolation are also facing an additional problem: alcohol use disorders.
Alcoholism and isolation are two major issues in our society today, and the two have a synergistic relationship. Many people suffer from both alcoholism and isolation because they don’t know how to deal with these issues. In this article, we’ll be examining the dangers of isolation and alcohol use disorders, as well as some ways to help overcome them both.
How Alcohol Addiction Can Contribute to Loneliness
Alcoholism is a disease that affects the brain’s ability to regulate emotions and behavior. The effects of alcohol on your physical health include memory loss, impaired judgment, coordination problems, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, headaches, dry mouth, blurred vision, slurred speech, slowed reflexes, and even death.
Addiction has been shown to contribute to loneliness by causing withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, anger, sadness, fatigue, restlessness, insomnia, and difficulty concentrating. When someone becomes addicted to substances like drugs and alcohol, their body begins to crave them. They may feel anxious without them, which causes them to seek out things to calm themselves down. However, this only makes matters worse since they end up using again and again until they become dependent upon the drug or drink. When someone experiences severe withdrawal symptoms, they may begin to isolate themselves from others. As mentioned earlier, this leads to feelings of loneliness. If left untreated, this cycle will continue indefinitely.
The Risks of Addiction from Social Isolation
Loneliness is one of the most common mental health issues in the world today. It affects millions of people worldwide.
Social isolation increases the chances of developing an alcohol dependency, particularly in cases of relapses to heavy drinking. A lack of social support and positive social connections is a significant risk factor for cases of heavy drinking and substance use disorders. This is why many experts recommend staying socially active as part of recovery.
In addition to contributing to a substance use disorder, loneliness can also lead to depression, anxiety, and even suicide. This is why it’s important to address feelings of loneliness head-on.
Sober Activities That Help Alleviate Feelings of Isolation
There are many ways to combat loneliness. Here are a few tips to help you deal with loneliness in your life.
- Get out of bed early every day. You’ll be surprised how quickly this will start to become habit. Even if you only leave your house once per week, try getting up earlier so that you still spend time outside. Try going for walks around town or taking long hikes through nature. A connection with nature can be a refreshing and reinvigorating experience.
- Take care of yourself physically. Make sure you eat well and take regular breaks throughout the day. Eat healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, fish, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, and olive oil. Avoid processed food products and sugary drinks. Drink plenty of water.
- Do something creative. Find things that interest you. Everyone’s interests are different, if you don’t feel like you’ve found any hobbies that gives you a sense of fulfillment and joy, perhaps this is the perfect opportunity to discover it. Write down what you’ve done. Draw pictures. Paint. Play music. Dance. Sing. Creative activities are a great focus for social gatherings as well, as it can provide a common goal or theme to bring your friends and family closer together.
- Join groups online. In some circumstances, meeting physically isn’t always the most doable. However, here are lots of free sites where you can connect with others. Some examples include Meetup, Facebook Groups, Twitter Lists, Instagram Communities. These communities offer support and encouragement. They may not replace face-to-face interactions but they provide opportunities to meet new friends and build relationships.
- Be kind to strangers. When we encounter someone else, it takes less energy to smile at them instead of being angry or rude. We all benefit from kindness.
- Give back. Helping other people helps us too. Volunteering is one way to give back. When you contribute to a cause or helping someone in need, we in turn feel better about our own .
- Keep busy, and keep active. Addiction and relapse can often be triggered by inactivity or boredom. Stay involved in activities that keep you occupied and give you a better quality of life.
Let Schick Shadel Help You Fight Isolation and Addiction
At Schick Shadel Hospital, we understand that recovering from alcoholism can be difficult. That’s why we offer a variety of programs designed to help you achieve sobriety. Our highly trained staff will work closely with you to develop a personalized plan of action. In addition, our community of alumni are also a closely knit support group that continue to strengthen and encourage one another. You don’t need to fight addiction in isolation, there are people ready and willing to help. Call us today at 1(800)CRAVING or contact us to get started.
Alcohol Facts and Statistics | National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). (2021). Retrieved 28 October 2021, from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-facts-and-statistics
Loneliness in America: How the Pandemic Has Deepened an Epidemic of Loneliness and What We Can Do About It — Making Caring Common. (2021). Retrieved 28 October 2021, from https://mcc.gse.harvard.edu/reports/loneliness-in-america