There are many factors that can lead you to develop substance abuse disorder whether it is the environment we live in or genetics. Neuroscientist Rachel Wurzman believes another factor can be loneliness. By learning about the link between loneliness and addiction, we can promote communities to reach out to each other and further prevent the loneliness.

What Did Rachel Wurzman Speak About in Her TED Talk?

Wurzman spoke about the dangers of loneliness in that we feel deep dissatisfaction. If we are not able to connect socially, we are likely to seek relief in anywhere we can find it like drugs and alcohol. We would be feeding into our social rewards system. This is because of the part of the brain that enables decision-making and is affected by social connection called the striatum. Being isolated can leave the striatum in a hypersensitive place where it is looking for a quick reward. The brain will translate loneliness as being in pain which will want anything within reach to self-soothe.

Why is Loneliness Dangerous to Feel?

Wurzman says that loneliness affects multiple systems in the brain. That you can still be surrounded by people but still feel a sense of loneliness. The people you interact with on a daily basis can still make you feel socially isolated

How Does Loneliness Play Into Addiction?

When you are lonely, your reward system is not being fed. Once you finally feed it, it will taste much more amazing than before. When you reward your brain with drugs or alcohol, it will intensify the craving that you have been wanting for a long time. It is just like if you have been fasting. Once you start eating, that food no matter what it is will taste amazing.

What is the Best Way to Address Loneliness?

Unfortunately, we live in a world where people feel judgment and shame whenever they speak their mind. Shame is what keeps us isolated and makes us feel like we are not enough. Ordinary people can be taught how to communicate with others that eliminates shame and normalizes the feelings of being anxious. Having a judgement-free environment will help you feel confident in yourself around people. Then, you are comfortable with just being yourself instead of leaning towards drugs to soothe yourself. It is important to address your loneliness to a therapist to avoid abusing drugs to help feel better about yourself.

At Alta Loma Transformational Living, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  Alta Loma uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, where you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 866-457-3843.


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You understand your needs best. If you have found yourself at a crossroads in your treatment and feel like your program options don’t fully understand you or aspects of your recovery, it’s time to contact the specialists at Alta Loma. We will help you craft the ideal care plan and secure the support you need, quickly, to avoid unnecessary problems. At Alta Loma, that’s our mission — to provide each individual with optimum care for the wellbeing they deserve.