How Effective is Peer Support

I was hesitant to talk to someone else about my problems. Shouldn’t I be the one that handles them, they are my problems after all. I eventually gave in because I needed help with my addiction, and wished I started sooner. Here’s why.

Peer support is the most effective way to change or recover from any addiction. Studies are showing how critical having peer support is to have high recovery rates. Relapses are less likely to happen and even long term recovery is more possible because of peer support.

Peer Support in Any Situation

The criticality of social support in influencing the behavior has been depicted in a plethora of contexts. Social relationships are theorized to be helpful in two primary ways: directly, via the provision of assistance, a sense of belonging, and emotional and indirectly by buffering stresses in difficult times. Empirical studies have linked social support with incremented happiness, longevity, as well as health.

Less Support Means Relapse

Lower support levels predicted relapse, while the vice versa decreased the use of substances or addiction. Family and friends are the biggest sources of social supports. While general family and friendship are crucial for overall health, particular domains are predicted robustly by the behavior as well as the orientation of one’s social network (Laudet, Morgen, and White 4).

In an experiment, researchers determined that people are highly likely to adopt roles that are endorsed by people who they see most often and whose opinions matter to them (Laudet, Morgen, and White 4). In the field of addiction, support that is recovery oriented may nurture higher self-efficacy towards the continuing abstinence because individuals that are recovering can receive effective strategies to cope with their situation from their peers.

Peer Support & Addiction Recovery

Support, and in specific, recovery oriented support, is highly likely to be crucial to alcohol and other users of drugs, particularly early on, because there is evidence that with the cessation of substance use, friendships erode because the individual is moving away from substance-using associations but might not have developed healthier networks.

Friend’s support for the use of substances is a negative forecaster of abstinence (Laudet, Morgen, and White 4). Contrariwise, having a network that is recovery oriented predicts a subsequent decreased use of alcohol.

Peer Support Works

Many individuals who are recovering report that being in the company of other individuals who are recovering is constructive. One study reported that the impact of support for abstinence on reduced substance use was more robust than that for the general quality of friendship (Laudet, Morgen, and White 4).


  1. Laudet, Alexandre B., Keith Morgen, and William L. White. “The role of social supports, spirituality, religiousness, life meaning, and affiliation with 12-step fellowships in quality of life satisfaction among individuals in recovery from alcohol and drug problems.” Alcoholism treatment quarterly 24.1-2 (2006): 33-73.

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