Is Isolating an Indicator of Drug Abuse?

Isolation a sign of addiction?

You’ve done your research and you know the signs. You notice your loved one is isolating himself or herself much more than usual, and you suspect it’s because they’re abusing drugs.

Isolating is a common indicator of drug abuse, so if your loved one is exhibiting other physical or behavioral symptoms, you may be right to be concerned. However, your loved one may be isolating themselves for other reasons. 

Why Do People Abusing Drugs Tend to Isolate Themselves?

The story behind every addiction is unique, but in general, there is often a common theme among people who abuse drugs: They are lonely people to begin with, and some feel that they are unable to connect with other people.

Feelings of isolation, loneliness, depression, or anxiety can cause someone to turn to drugs, either in an attempt to numb their feelings or to function better in social settings. As time goes on and the drug abuse worsens, they may begin damaging relationships.

It becomes a vicious cycle: someone begins using drugs to combat loneliness, they lose the support of more people in their life, causing them to feel even more alone than they were before, and using more drugs so they don’t have to deal with the feelings.

If abuse turns into addiction, the person’s entire existence centers around drugs, leading them even deeper into their isolation. 

Talking to Your Loved One About Their Drug Abuse

Remember that while drug abuse often causes someone to isolate themselves, it’s not the only reason they may be doing so.

If you do suspect drug abuse to be the reason your loved one is isolating themselves, start an honest conversation with them. Remember it may be difficult for them to open up to you, so you don’t want to start off by accusing them or making them feel judged.

Stay calm and communicate to your loved one that you’re simply worried about their wellbeing.

How to Encourage Your Loved One to Seek Help for Drug Abuse

While it can be tempting to somehow force your loved one to seek help for their drug abuse, it’s not a good idea. People can’t be forced to do anything they don’t want to do.

What you can do is help your loved one see that their drug abuse is taking them down a dangerous path, and they may require professional help. 

A 12-step program can be incredibly beneficial for those using drugs out of loneliness. These programs operate in a group setting and encourage participants to develop their spirituality, creating a deep connection with something bigger than themselves. It helps them experience the benefits of community and learn they don’t have to deal with everything in life alone.

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