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Lonely Woman

The Relationship Between Loneliness and Addiction

September 17, 2020

During these uncertain times of quarantine and social distancing caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to understand the link between loneliness and addiction. It is important to keep in mind that being alone and being lonely have different characteristics and also have a different effect on our body, mind, and feelings.

While being alone can help us recharge and disconnect from the stresses of life, being lonely can leave us feeling like there is a loss or inner void that we need to have filled. Loneliness can make us feel unloved, ignored, rejected, excluded, etc.

Link Between Loneliness and Addiction

According to Psychology Today, loneliness is a risk factor for health issues and effects on a person’s wellbeing, such as:

  • Increased stress
  • Depression
  • Poor sleep habits/patterns
  • Low self-esteem
  • Anxiety
  • Increased drug or alcohol use

If someone feels lonely, they often lack the social support they need to overcome their low moods and feel whole again. With an increased risk of depression, low moods, and low self-esteem, some people may turn to unhealthy methods of coping with the feeling of loneliness.

For many people suffering from addiction, loneliness, and substance use disorder go hand in hand. When someone uses harmful substances to cope with challenges such as trauma, anxiety, depression, or stress, it is called a co-morbid disorder.

According to a study by the Journal of Aging and Health, loneliness is a risk factor for alcoholism and is more common in older adults. In many cases, people who have to begin to abuse drugs or alcohol to cope with loneliness end up isolating themselves from loved ones, becoming lonelier as they cope with their feelings of loneliness.

Drugs such as meth or cocaine may also be used to give someone energy, increase their low moods, or give them a good feeling to help combat the symptoms of depression.

Addiction Treatment in South Hills

Once someone has become dependent on drugs or alcohol to cope with their feelings of loneliness, professional treatment is the best course of action to help them relieve the mental and physical cravings while also reducing the risk of overdose. If you or someone you know is in need of addiction treatment in South Hills, contact South Hills Recovery today to learn more about our services.

Dr. Clark
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