Did you know that chronic loneliness can take a physical toll on your body? Well, I am here to tell you it can.
Chronic loneliness can be just as much a threat to your health as cigarettes, excess alcohol and obesity.
Loneliness is an emotion felt when someone feels alone or is separated from the people they want to be around, which makes them feel unsupported or distressed. If these emotions are persistent, that can cause a number of physical tolls on one’s body.
Emotionally, if loneliness is severe and untreated, it is associated with increased rates of disability, weight loss, lack of sleep, and attempts of suicide or thoughts of it. Chronic loneliness has numerous ways to defeat you and will promote isolation. It is a cruel and vicious cycle.
1. Physiological Effects
Loneliness is linked with several problematic changes in immune, hormonal, and cardiovascular systems. It results in an inflammatory state that damages the heart, reduces the capacity to resist infections, and invites loss of bones and muscles. It is also linked with frailty, a condition of elderly age when independence is shortened and vulnerability is at its highest stake.
If a person is socially isolated, it results in the lack of opportunities for social and mental stimulation, which keeps the cerebrum in good condition and lowers the risk of dementia.
The study shows in the past few decades, the health status of elderly has improved the same as the number of seniors living independently has multiplied fivefold.
2. Effects on Sleep
Loneliness also affects the quality and efficiency of sleep. It can make rest non-restorative physically and psychologically. If you are prone to the feeling of loneliness, you will probably find yourself waking up at night and spending less time in bed in comparison to those who are not lonely.
3. Negative Display of Emotions
The lonelier you feel, the more likely it is that you will suffer from depressive symptoms. Brain hormones that link with stress become active and can cause depression. Social interaction is effective at alleviating mild and moderate symptoms of depression. If you have more positive social interactions and suffer from depression, you will show more signs of improvement.
4. Decreased ability to take care of one’s self
If you suffer from chronic loneliness, you are likely to not eat healthily, says research. Single men and women over fifty generally eat fewer vegetables daily than married or cohabiting people.
5. Prone to Heart Disease
2012 Harvard study says that middle-aged adults who live alone have twenty-four percent more risk of dying of heart disease. If a person doesn’t have social support, they are more prone to the symptoms of stress, which can also lead to heart disease.
We are very social creatures. We are made for social contact. Of course, don’t forget that everyone has different needs for communication. Some people actually enjoy being alone and being by themselves doesn’t make them feel lonely.
However, when a lack of social contact makes us feel isolated and alone, we lose the ability to stay on track mentally and put ourselves at risk of suffering from physical complications.
The best ways to treat loneliness are to train people for social skills they need to see the world in positive perspective, and bring people together and have good times to share together.