The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) means everyone is isolated from one another. Some have family, others are totally by themselves. If you have an addiction and mental health issues, it can mean becoming even further isolated. With addiction, or in recovery, this can be a dangerous thing. To stay healthy, people need social interaction. Mental health can decline into depression and anxiety more when you are isolated. Find some healthy ways to navigate the social isolation, whether it is from muddling through a pandemic or just trying to reach out for support.

Social Isolation or Loneliness

Feeling lonely is not the same as being isolated. The feeling you get when you are lonely can happen from time to time. If you have an addiction, you might feel lonely because you miss your family or loved ones. It may be hard to miss people you are used to seeing on a regular basis. Social isolation is being kept away from others for a certain reason. Loneliness can come from being isolated from others.

The feelings that come up, being sad or anxious and even fearful, can keep a person isolated but also struggling with depression. Mental health is a huge part of social isolation, especially in a unique situation like a pandemic where the government is forcing social isolation and distance between people.

Symptoms of Isolation

If you are feeling disconnected from people, you might feel stress or anxiety. After a while, stress can raise cortisol in the body and cause severe reactions to occur physiologically. Some studies have shown serious health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, and more can result from anxiety that comes from being isolated. For example:

  • Sleep issues
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Difficulty eating
  • Unhealthy routines
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Depressive disorders
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hallucinations
Addiction and Isolation

Addiction can create a space where someone becomes isolated further from loved ones. Physical and emotional connection helps the brain produce good feelings. Anyone who wants to replicate it may seek self-medication. To cope with this, a person may pull away from loved ones or they decide they are struggling with too much with their loved one’s addiction so keep a distance. This impact will become amplified and cause further isolation and social distance. Relapse can occur for people in isolation more than at any other time. A strong support structure helps.

Stay Strong

To avoid the issues that come with social isolation, be sure to talk to people. Stay engaged. With COVID-19, there is a mandate to stay home in many places. Go online, find a virtual tribe and stay connected to those in place already. Don’t drop off because meetings don’t take place in person.

Go online and find an AA group that meets virtually for now. Try some new spaces to engage, maybe blogging, or social media. Think about how to call those loved ones who became distant and work on recovery. Start thinking about where to get treatment or help for addiction. Seek out emergency care if needed but don’t let social isolation have the final say. Reach out and seek support as much as possible to keep hope alive.

At Alta Loma Transformational Living, we believe hope is a powerful tool in the fight against loneliness and social isolation. We will partner with you to provide compassionate professionals who understand addiction. 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.