Dealing with loneliness is not a rare human experience. In fact, there’s a study by the researchers at UC San Diego that suggests that 3 out of 4 Americans are lonely. Living with loneliness is an individual, subjective experience. But, it’s well known that the effects of loneliness can be both psychologically and physically damaging. Especially, for individuals living with concurring issues like addiction.
There is hope for people who are lonely. And, it’s important for individuals living with and recovering from mental health issues to identify their own feelings of loneliness. This way, help and guidance can reduce feelings of loneliness. And individuals can learn what to do when they’re feeling loneliness is affecting their everyday life, recovery, and wellbeing.
The Subjectivity and Experience of Loneliness
Loneliness can be described differently by every individual who experiences it. That’s because loneliness is a personal, subjective experience. But, typically, it’s associated with negative feelings due to isolation. Surely, one can experience solitude and be alone, but because of this, feel at peace and even joyful. However, being alone is not the same as feeling lonely. It’s the experiencing of negative emotions – regardless if a person is physically alone or not.
For example, a person can feel lonely, even if they’re in a serious intimate relationship if they don’t feel a connection to their partner. Or, a person can feel lonely due to believing that no one understands what they’re going through. Loneliness can include feelings of being unloved, neglected, excluded, or unappreciated. And, living with these feelings can make it even more difficult to make and establish relationships, increasing overall feelings of loneliness altogether. Thus, keeping the cycle of loneliness continual, making it even more challenging to deal with.
So, loneliness isn’t just feeling or being alone.
Negative Effects of Loneliness
Loneliness can negatively affect you on all levels of health; emotionally, mentally, and physically. According to The National Institutes on Health (NIH), loneliness can result in poor sleep quality, reduce psychological functioning, and even increase the risk of disease and even death. Additionally, that loneliness can affect a person’s ability to maintain self-control. Thus, resulting in behaviors that can decrease overall health and wellbeing – like addictive behaviors.
Because the effects of loneliness can be so dangerous and reduce one’s ability to self-control, it’s imperative that individuals struggling with addiction or are in recovery learn healthy coping methods. And, how to identify triggers of loneliness.
How to Deal with Loneliness and Addiction
Fortunately, if you’re experiencing loneliness and concurring issues like addiction, there are ways to cope. Some of the ways you can combat loneliness include:
Putting More Into Current Relationships: Putting more time and effort into current relationships may help you gain a better understanding and connection to friends and family you may already have.
Volunteering: Helping others can often help boost self-confidence. When you’re helping others or doing something you feel helps a cause you believe in, you’ll feel better about yourself. And, not to mention, meet others volunteering who believe in the same causes you do. Plus, reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Find Supportive Online Communities: There are many online support groups you can access on the go, right from your tablet, computer, or phone. For example, AA groups and Smart Recovery, which both offer online help and support for people in recovery and their families. These resources offer things like information and forums so that people in the community can come together and deal with issues, including loneliness.
Get Help Through Therapy: One of the best ways to address feelings of loneliness, especially for people in recovery, is to access therapy. Willow Place for Women offers a number of therapeutic tools, both in the group and individual settings. Specifically, for women living with mental health issues like loneliness and addiction. Therapy can help people dealing with loneliness by assisting with the development of coping skills. And, by helping develop positive outlooks and thinking by using these skills.
Dealing with Loneliness With Help from Willow Place for Women
Here at Willow Place for Women, we offer help for women dealing with loneliness by offering outpatient therapeutic services and other supportive resources. If you’re struggling with loneliness, reach out to us today to talk to us about how we can help.
Either contact us on our website or give us a call to speak confidentially with one of our specialists at 1-888-651-4212.