Understanding link between social withdrawal and mental illness

Understanding link between social withdrawal and mental illness

Social withdrawal is the practice of knowingly avoiding people. It could also involve avoidance of activities that require some amount of social engagement. In extreme cases, people isolate or alienate themselves to such an extent that they could even avoid contact with their closest family members and friends. Social withdrawal is often confused with solitude, but it is not so. One might desire solitude and like it as well, but social withdrawal can spring from anxiety, lack of self-confidence or the fear of the unknown.

Social withdrawal is apparent in veterans and military personnel while they transition from the life in the barracks to comforts of home and the society. Owing to the nature of their service and the rigorous demands of a military life, they could find it difficult to adjust with the casual and often chaotic civilian lifestyle. The memories of a bygone era can trigger the onset of mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse, which lead individuals to avoid people and places.

However, it is just as common among ordinary civilians as well. In the post-modern world, even teenagers are taking to social isolation. Social withdrawal serves as a means to escape from life’s most discomforting situations.

Looking for signs of mental disorder

Avoiding an exciting social life can sometimes be an indication of an underlying problem that people might be missing. It is important to understand the root problem cause. Some of the reasons can be:

Anxiety: Anxiety and social withdrawal are often intertwined. Disengagement from communal gatherings and activities can be both the cause and the consequence of an anxiety. For example, a person with phobia of speaking to strangers could be so terror stricken with the idea of seeing people around that he or she would avoid going to the market or a museum. Similarly, when a person decides to withdraw or alienate himself or herself from all social contacts, it could be because the person has an anxiety disorder. The effect of remaining in one’s shell could be quite severe and can have a debilitating impact on the personal and professional life.

Depression: Social withdrawal is also common among people who are suffering from depression. There is an inane tendency to remain cocooned in one’s private world and refuse contact with the life outside. In certain instances, people displaying such a behavior may appear to be arrogant, but actually they could be angry or sad at the way they have been treated. So they refuse to participate. While they could be blamed for their weird behavior, the truth is that the mood changes are driven by chemical imbalances in the brain which forces them to behave in such a manner. Another reason why depressed people avoid making conversations and visiting places is because it depletes their energy reserves. They feel tired all the time due to disturbances in sleep patterns.

PTSD: People who have a traumatic past are more likely to withdraw into isolation. They might refuse to visit the same places and people who remind them of the tragic incident. People who try to sympathize or befriend them are met with disdain. They are trapped in their memories and do not know how to start afresh.

Road to recovery

It is important to find out what makes someone evade the community and sail alone. If they are suffering from any mental health condition, help should be provided immediately. With therapy and counselling, one can give them the hope of a better life.

The Florida Mental Health Helpline can provide the required information about health care providers who can administer personalized treatment programs according to a person’s needs. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-846-5588 to know about evidence-based residential mental health treatment centers in Florida or chat with one of our trained medical representatives to know more about mental health disorder treatment centers in Florida.