Many people get into drug use because they want to follow the crowd, be accepted and be carefree. Others are the opposite, as loneliness and isolation fuels their substance abuse.

Fitting in with the crowd

A social person who gets involved with or seeks out the wrong group of friends may find experimenting with drugs or alcohol is an easy transition. It’s certainly not uncommon for bored and/or unsupervised teens to get together after school and “huff” inhalants, take prescriptions from their parents’ medicine cabinets, or drink alcohol — but you don’t have to be young to look for these experiences. A mob mentality and peer pressure can hinder good decision-making for all age groups.

Unhealthy isolation

On the flip side, many people use drugs or alcohol because they feel alone. Isolation can be dangerous because self-medicating can lead one to become addicted, injured or dead — they’re harming their body, and no one else knows.¬†Once a person begins isolating themselves and withdrawing, chances for relapse are greater.

People who isolate themselves have no one to watch their back or step in when they’ve had enough. Someone who feels so lonely he or she tries to suppress their emotions with drugs or alcohol is at greater risk for overdose and suicide. They may also suffer from depression or mental illness, and are replacing treatment with substances; using among a bad crowd can be harmful, but using alone can be even worse.

Look for positive people

Addicts in recovery know how important it is to surround themselves with positive influences. Sponsors or accountability partners keep the focus on the end goal of sobriety, and support groups are wonderful ways to stay connected and meet others who face similar struggles.

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