Scientists Explain Why Those with Addiction Isolate Themselves

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isolated person at beach

Addiction affects every aspect of one’s life – work duties, home responsibilities, parenting, romantic relationships, family matters, health, finances – it’s all impacted. Too often we see a loved one or friend with an addiction, and they maybe don’t discuss personal matters as much as they used to. They may keep to themselves, and may seem sad with their life overall. We wish that we could do something to help them, but they seem to perpetuate a negative cycle of loneliness and isolation. A question we may ask ourselves is this: why are doing this? When it comes to addiction, the answer may be simpler than you think.

Addiction has a social component to it, and if a person already feels as though nobody cares about them or nobody can do anything to help them, the addiction is perpetuated. Thus, isolation can be a precursor for addiction in the future just as it can be a component of addiction that continues replenishing itself of drugs or substances. Isolation can be both a before and a during. The topic of isolation and social connections is warranted because many people utilize addiction to cope with the unwanted feelings of loneliness, lack of love, feelings of unworthiness, and more.

In 1970, Vancouver professor Bruce Alexander conducted a revised version of his original study known as “Rat Park”. With this experiment, Bruce created a magnificent, beautiful rat park for rats to play in and socialize with one another. He provided levers that would dispense drugs such as heroin, morphine, amphetamine, cocaine, etc. He found that the rats had very little interest in the drugs, compared to his previous experiment where rats were provided with drug access and were isolated; they were excessively consuming drugs. This experiment raises an important hypothesis: isolation leads to more drug use were as connection leads to less drug use.

In truth, addiction lends damaging effects to itself in all ways. People focus on addiction to cover up their unwanted feelings, and in turn, become even more entrenched in their unwanted feelings because addiction causes them to behave in ways that perpetuate those feelings. Many treatment centers place emphasis on group therapy and group support, because social connection is a basic human need.





If you are seeking a reputable treatment center where you can create a support group to motivate you in recovery, call us today at 888-958-7511. Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned mental health and addiction recovery treatment center dedicated to restoring your mind, body, and spirit. Loneliness can easily be changed by surrounding you with others whom you can relate to and with people that care about and will support you. Call us today for a consultation.

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