12 months ago · Glenda Morgan · Comments Off on Fascinating Facts About Loneliness
Loneliness is one of the biggest health issues not only in Australia but also across the world. It is estimated that at least 40% of the world’s population will get affected by loneliness at some point in their lives. That includes us in Australia.
Unfortunately, most people don’t understand the impact that loneliness can have on our lives. What’s even more worrying is that most people don’t know that they are lonely. In this guide, we have put together some of the fascinating facts about loneliness that will change how you view this psychological condition:
1. Loneliness is Contagious
Most people think that loneliness comes from within, but studies show that the condition can spread among people. It is very easy to feel lonely if you have people surrounding you battling this condition. If one of your close friends or family has loneliness, studies have shown that you are 52 per cent more likely to be lonely. So, if you identify that someone is lonely, help them overcome the condition since it’s contagious. Talking or therapy to discuss their isolation should help. If steps are not taken the lonely may fall into a worse situation and become depressed.
2. You Can Still Be Lonely with Friends
Most people think that loneliness is a result of being alone, which is not correct. Studies have shown loneliness does not depend on how many relationships you have. You can have a large social circle but still feel lonely and isolated. What matters in loneliness is the quality of the friends you keep. As long as you are emotionally or socially disconnected from the people you consider friends or family, you are prone to loneliness. So, choose your friends wisely.
3. Married Couples are Most Affected
If you ever thought that relationships could protect you from loneliness, then you are wrong. Studies have shown that more than 60 per cent of the lonely people across the world, including here in Australia, are married people. There are so many things that go on behind the closed doors of many homes that stress occupants. When married couples stop seeing things the same way and can no longer share feelings and thoughts, they feel disconnected, and that’s how loneliness sets in. Isolation therapy to help with feelings of loneliness or even depression, can help. Group therapy is also a good option for couples.
4. Loneliness Devalues Relationship
When one is lonely, their perception of their relationship changes. They start devaluing relationships, and this causes them to withdraw further from the people that care about them. That’s why you will find that someone has started spending too much time alone, yet you used to do things together. In most cases, they don’t like talking as they used to when you meet up. The worst thing is that they try to avoid those who could help them alleviate the problem.
5. Makes One Feel Cold
Studies have shown that when feeling lonely, people tend to feel colder than usual. If you ask people who had been lonely, they will tell that the room was always cold. That explains why most lonely and depressed people wear warm clothes even when the weather is hot. This is one of the signs that can help you identify a friend or family member struggling with loneliness. In addition to that, feeling cold can have health complications.
6. Loneliness Suppress Immunity
Studies have shown that people struggling with loneliness are at increased risk of developing all kinds of diseases. That’s because loneliness has been found to suppress the immunity of the patient. The condition reduces the ability of the immune system to respond to potential infections. Lonely people’s system activates the ‘fight or flight’ response, which could do more harm to the body than good when continually activated over time. The condition also lowers the antiviral compound in the body known as interferons.
7. You Get Lonelier as You Age
Although youths have also been victims of loneliness, the highest percentage of people battling loneliness is in the elderly. As you advance in age, you are more likely to get lonelier. Many things go in your life as you age, which makes a good candidate for loneliness. The increased responsibilities and life targets are some of the major reasons. Failing to hit your set targets as you age can greatly contribute to feeling loneliness. In addition to that, it is harder to make and maintain friends as you age.
8. Loneliness Harm Your Physical Health
Chronic loneliness will harm not only your mental health but also your physical health. Studies have shown that loneliness is as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. That’s how destructive this condition is to a person. With the lower immunity and increased risk of diseases, then your body will also be the most affected when stressed. It is also during loneliness that most people indulge in alcohol, drugs, smoking, and other things that damage their physical health.
9. Increases Risk of Heart Disease
One of the biggest health threats of chronic loneliness is cardiovascular disease. Most people diagnosed with these diseases are also likely to be struggling with loneliness, among other psychological conditions. Studies have also shown that lonely people are more likely to have a stroke or heart attack. Loneliness also increases the risk of death among individuals with a history of heart diseases. So, when you feel lonely, get help to avoid getting heart problems.
10. Loneliness Can Kill You
Chronic loneliness can kill you. There are many ways that being lonely can increase the risk of death. First, chronic condition suppresses your immunity, and this deteriorates your health. The risk of heart diseases and poor eating habits associated with loneliness also shorten your lifespan. Sometimes, the condition may trigger suicidal thoughts. So, there are many ways that chronic loneliness can cause death.
In conclusion, loneliness is a devastating mental condition that should be taken seriously. If not treated, it can cause serious health complications and even death. So, if you feel lonely, you must seek help immediately before the condition gets worse.