Isolation and alcoholism are two things that will always work against each other. Unfortunately, millions of alcoholics find themselves lonelier than they have ever been in their lives as a result of their drinking. Others may experience pervasive loneliness that perpetuates a quickly growing alcohol use disorder. No matter which of the two occurred first, isolation and alcoholism can be a deadly pairing.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, loneliness was something that millions of people were already experiencing. People who had to relocate for their job and who do not have friends in town yet, elderly individuals confined to their homes, only children whose parents are so wrapped up in work that they very rarely play with other kids, and so on. Also prior to the pandemic were rates of alcoholism that continued to skyrocket. In fact, on a global scale, the amount of alcohol drank per year increased by 70% between 1990-2017. But now, as we as a nation are going on one full year of several different levels of lockdown due to COVID-19, both loneliness and alcoholism rank some of the highest when it comes to public health problems. Fueling those issues are the inability to see and spend time with family and friends, go and engage in public activities, and even begin working at home in order to stop the spread in shared workspaces. Unfortunately, this global situation is also fueling an increase isolation and alcoholism.
Isolation and Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a disease that impacts every single area of a person’s life, as well as the lives of those that they love and care for. When active in alcoholism, an individual is likely exhibiting the following behaviors:
- Continuing to drink alcohol despite suffering negative consequences of doing so
- Engaging in risky behavior when under the influence of alcohol
- Having an inability to control the amount of alcohol they consume at one time
- Suffering financial problems as a result of trying to support their alcoholism
- Experiencing legal problems due to their drinking and behaviors associated with it
- Expressing defensiveness and aggression when confronted about their alcohol intake
- Being unable to stop drinking with developing withdrawal symptoms (this is a sign of physical dependence)
When a situation like this, where an individual is engaging in behaviors that create these problems as a result of their disease, being lonely will only make this progressively worse. If isolation and alcoholism are occurring at the same time, there are several different issues that a person can encounter as a result.
Increases/causes substance abuse
There is a direct correlation between isolation and alcoholism. For starters, alcoholism is a disease that drives individuals to socially isolate from others.That is a common effect of alcoholism as those who experience it are often afraid of the judgment they would receive from others if they drank how they wanted to in front of them. So, what ends up happening is that many alcoholics start keeping to themselves both while they drink and while they are drunk. On the other hand, a person can be experiencing loneliness because of COVID-19 or other reasons and struggle with being disconnected from others in ways that predispose them to drinking alcohol to cope.
Higher rates of mental illness
Isolation and alcoholism, both individually and together, provoke the development or agitation of mental illness. This means that someone who may already be mentally ill with a condition like depression or anxiety may experience a worsening of symptoms as they continue to isolate and drink. Or, an individual may start developing symptoms of a mental illness as a result of their isolation and alcoholism. Either way, when a person is isolating, they run the risk of decreasing their mental health in ways that can affect them for the rest of their lives.
Development of serious physical ailments
There is no doubt that actively abusing alcohol can create serious physical health problems and potentially even be fatal. Alcoholism is linked to cancer, high blood pressure, liver failure, cognitive problems, issues with memory, and weakening of the immune system. In addition, someone under the influence of alcohol can experience significant physical injuries as a result of an accident of some type. Isolation, however, can also cause concerning physical health problems, some of which include impaired functioning, cognitive decline, poor cardiovascular function, impaired immunity, and heart disease. These physical ailments become more likely to occur when a person is also struggling with alcoholism.
Alcoholism notoriously impacts relationships with loved ones, family, friends, co-workers, and so on. But, isolation can also do the same. Those who are isolated from others, whether because of their own actions are not, can have difficulty maintaining their relationships with others. As we all know, being separated from the people around us can weaken relationships simply because there are less opportunities to continue to grow bonds. The same rings true here. Those who isolate face the greater challenge of maintaining their relationships, which can seem nearly impossible if they are also experiencing alcoholism.
The bottom line is this: isolation and alcoholism are a dangerous combination. And while times might seem more difficult now than ever before, there are ways to help make situations like this much better.
Sober Living in Los Angeles
You do not need to attempt to continue living a life that does not bring you joy or satisfaction. You also do not need to try to make major life changes by yourself. At Riviera, we are here to help support you as you make your way from isolated and addicted to recovered and happy. The road may not always be straight and clear, but with our help and encouragement, we know you can make the changes you need to save your life.
So, do not waste any more time living a life that does not reflect what you want for yourself. Call us right now to learn more about how our programs can help you achieve the goals you set for yourself.