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MAR 5, 2020 – As the United States struggled with a crisis of addiction to opioids and other drugs over the past few years, scientists began to learn how addiction and loneliness can feed one another. That was true for the Kansas City women in recovery whose stories support researchers’ findings about how loneliness and addiction work together to create a downward spiral.

“It isolated me from my family,” Monica says of her addiction. “They did not want to be bothered with me because of my behaviors. It caused me to lose good friends.”

Monica and another mother named Nicole (KCUR agreed to use only their first names to protect their anonymity) live at Healing House Inc., a live-in recovery program in northeast Kansas City, Missouri, where dozens of people are recovering from drug and alcohol abuse.

Their stories illustrate recent findings by Stanford neuroscience researcher Anne-Pascale Le Berre, who has been studying how people who are in recovery, and people who are heavily using alcohol, can be impaired in basic social abilities. Other researchers, primarily in Europe, have investigated similar effects among drug users.

Monica says that when she was growing up in Kansas City, her mother was regularly drunk or high on drugs, and this put a huge strain on their relationship.

@KCUR

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