Disconnected Brains: How isolation fuels opioid addiction

Dr. Rachel Wurzman, TED.com, published October, 2018

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Addiction states indicate both physiological disease as well as maladaptation to an unhealthy social environment.

Modern scientific discourse and medical models clearly show that there are three main drivers of addiction behavior and emotional health issues on the bio-psycho-social spectrum.

It has long been accepted that biological, psychological, and social factors must each be addressed in order to cultivate an effective treatment environment for addiction and other mental health disorders.

As the drug overdose and addiction crisis in the US continues to spiral out of control, it is becoming clear that the biggest gap in the current treatment ecosystem is the social element of the spectrum model. While the infrastructure for medical detox and inpatient/outpatient psychotherapy has blossomed in the rapidly expanding addiction recovery industry, there are few (if any) public or private services that exist to assist individuals diagnosed with addiction issues in forming healthy social connections.

In the absence of these services, it is no coincidence that the drug & opioid overdose epidemic is rising in tandem to the greater public health crisis of loneliness. In a recent study of 20,000 people, about 47 percent of respondents reported often feeling alone or left out. Thirteen percent said there were zero people who knew them well.

We now know that social isolation and loneliness are directly correlated with addiction behaviors.

Please follow the link below to read a detailed research summary of how social isolation drives addiction behaviors.

Research Summary

Additional Resources