Many young people isolate themselves as part of their mental illness and addiction. While they might once have participated group dedicated to hobbies or a sport, they might have dropped out. Isolating becomes the norm. When adolescents have made their “home base” the center of their world, it can make recovery more challenging. Healing does not happen while consistently hiding out alone in a bedroom.
One common mental health condition among adolescents and young adults is depression. This overpowering mental illness often leads to them experiencing a lack of interest in socializing. They may also deal with general anxiety or social anxiety, which causes them to fear being part of a group. As these young people make a long-term habit out of isolation, it becomes more challenging to break out of it.
While the pandemic and related social isolation has narrowed down many opportunities to get out of the house, not all hope is lost. Looking for ways to develop and sustain hobbies can contribute to elevating a person’s mood. Parents and other family members can help their loved ones look for groups to join. Treatment professionals can also be a valuable resource.
Why Being Part of a Group Can Help
The World Health Organization (WHO) points out that experiencing happiness is an integral part of a person’s overall health. Studies show that the happiness levels of people in a group can affect one another. Being a member of a group with shared interests and goals can help a person stop isolating and feeling alone. When young people create bonds, they feel more inspired to maintain their sobriety and mental health.
When a young person has a history of isolation, becoming part of a group can help prepare them for significant life events. Once high school and college campuses are fully open again, students already comfortable in groups have an advantage. Knowing how to be a “team player” might be advantageous to their careers when entering the workforce.
Having a comfort level in being part of a group can also spill over into family life. Many sullen teenagers have a history of avoiding family get-togethers. Experience as a person using healthy coping skills to deal with their sobriety and mental illness makes participating in group activities easier. When the family unit comes together to help the young person succeed, great things can happen.
Groups Within Treatment Programs Create Bonds
A successful component of seeking addiction treatment often includes going to a residential facility. One advantage of this situation comes from removing the adolescent from negative influences. When surrounded by a peer group that focuses on the abuse of drugs or alcohol, the peer group often impacts their choices and moods. Once in a residential facility, exposure to peers with a different mindset begins. Living among a community of individuals in pursuit of recovery can help influence each person in the group.
After leaving a residential program, opportunities to be part of a positive group are plentiful. Group therapy and 12-Step based groups commonly offer young people opportunities to stay focused on their goals. New friendships can form that help replace the toxic ones they left behind when going to treatment. A treatment professional or sponsor can help influence the young person to stay on the path to recovery. Experiencing success by engaging with like-minded peers often increases their chances of staying sober.
Look for Groups Based on Common Interests
Once a young person has completed residential treatment and returned home, look for ways to socialize. If suffering from addiction and mental illness forced them to lose interest in previous hobbies, try helping them jumpstart one or two. Turning over a new leaf can involve finding a new hobby. Ask them if they would like to try something new. Suggestions can include:
- Learning to play a musical instrument
- Working with shelter animals that need companionship
- Becoming a budding champion at board games
- Making jewelry
- Learning a new language
- Enjoying a new sport
While the pandemic has limited a lot of hobbies, society has begun to reopen. Keep an eye on safety protocol that allows for gathering together to play sports and other in-person activities. In the meantime, take advantage of options allowing for connections with a group that don’t have to occur in person. The internet offers endless choices for classes that are often free of charge. A young person can use the internet to play chess or other games with opponents. They can use videos to practice guitar or speaking French, which will better prepare them for advanced classes when social distancing is a thing of the past.
A common issue of teenagers and young adults who suffer from addiction and mental health concerns is isolation. They often withdraw from social groups and family life, further complicating their ability to receive help. Studies show that being a part of groups and sharing their lives has excellent benefits. Participating in family events and hobbies can help sustain their recovery and lay a healthy blueprint for their adult lives. Sustain Recovery offers multiple levels of care for our clients. We provide inpatient, outpatient, and residential treatment. If other programs have not worked for you or your loved one, we can offer a long-term treatment system that can help achieve long-lasting sobriety. Our Southern California location provides the perfect setting for beginning treatment that is tailor-made for young people. We will help you set and achieve your goals for a new beginning. Call us today to get started on a whole new life! (949) 407-9052.