How is Addiction an Isolating Disease?

How is Addiction an Isolating Disease?

When we’re living with addiction, we can find that we’ve isolated ourselves from other people, whether or not we’ve done so intentionally. What are some of the ways in which addictions functions as an isolating disease in our lives? How does it make us distance ourselves from the people who are important to us, and the people who could help us recover if we opened ourselves to that? Why are we so resistant to reaching out for help?

Addiction, just like mental health illness, convinces us that we are powerless over this all-consuming force. Once we’re addicted, we can feel hopeless to fight against our illness. We isolate ourselves because we’re so consumed with doing whatever we need to do to feed our addiction. The force with which we feel our addictive urges can feel like an insatiable hunger or thirst. We can feel totally weak and vulnerable against the formidable, overpowering strength of our addictions. We can give up trying to fight it altogether.

We isolate so that we don’t have to explain our self-destructiveness to anyone else. We isolate because we would rather be alone with our struggle than be exposed to people’s questioning, judgment and criticism. We don’t want to feel the weight of their disappointment, especially because we ourselves are already feeling so disappointed in ourselves. We hate the thought of letting other people down. It’s bad enough that we’ve let ourselves down. We want to spare ourselves the look in our loved ones’ eyes when they discover the truth of how bad our situation has become.

When we struggle with multiple addictions, or are living with mental health issues in addition to our addiction, we can find ourselves even more susceptible to their collective destructive force. We can find ourselves buckling under the weight of them all, which can cause us to remove ourselves from social situations, from our neighborhoods, families, communities and relationships. Depression, anxiety and panic disorders are among the many mental illnesses that can cause us to isolate ourselves. Rather than facing our shame and sharing ourselves honestly with other people so that we can get the help we need, we feel so afraid and so ashamed of our illnesses that we isolate ourselves instead.

Recovering from the isolating disease of addiction requires being in a safe community where you can receive the support and nurturing you need. Call 888-570-7154 for more information on our treatment programs.