Which came first: the chicken or the egg? In some cases, that question can also be asked about addiction and social isolation. Even if one knows which one started first, the problem is, addiction and social isolation can feed each other and, thus, cause an endless, repetitive cycle. Don’t believe us? Read on to see how.

Using Drugs to Combat Loneliness

We all have ways to overcome or cope with loneliness. Some of us deal with it as best as we can. Others of us struggle greatly with it, especially those of us who are quite extroverted.

For many individuals dealing with addiction, drugs or alcohol might be their way of coping with feelings of loneliness. Any sadness, anger, or fear they may experience while lonely temporarily gets better or reduced when they’re on their choice of drug or drinking alcohol.

Social Exclusion Due to Addiction

Sometimes it looks like social isolation but is actually social exclusion. In many cases, those with an active addiction may be excluded by their own family and friends from parties, gatherings, events, or general meet-ups. Being around the person with the addiction may greatly emotionally hurt these people or even be deemed dangerous, thus the exclusion.

Isolating to Hide Drug Use

Those with an addiction may choose to isolate themselves from family, friends, or their significant other who they worry will learn about their addiction or find out that they’re still using. The last thing they’d want is to be judged or to lose the people in their life that mean the most to them.

They may also avoid going out in public for fear that their place of work may find out about their addiction and terminate them. There may also be a fear that someone may report them for being publicly intoxicated and, thus, result in them going to jail and/or losing custody of their children. So, to avoid all this, they keep their addiction from the world as much as possible.

Issues Socializing Due to the Effects of Drugs

In more extreme cases of drug abuse, sometimes the substance(s) mess with the brain so much that communicating becomes harder. This is especially true when the sufferer is nearly always high or drunk.

The individual may lash out and yell, which can certainly make socialization difficult. Others might spew out incoherent things, lies or exaggerations, or slur when speaking. In turn, social isolation is often the better, and probably smarter, decision during these moments. However, healthy socialization is still critical for all humans.

Addiction is a complicated and life-altering situation. Anyone with addiction deserves help, whether it be fentanyl addiction treatment or outpatient treatment for alcoholism.


The relationship between addiction and social isolation can be messy. Some may choose isolation due to their addiction. Others choose drug use to deal with isolation. Then there are those who don’t choose isolation but receive it as a result of their addiction. In either scenario, it isn’t too late to receive help for drug or alcohol addiction.