10 Pertinent Facts About Loneliness And How It Effects The Mind And Body

Our mind and body functions interdependently. When one stays in loneliness for a long span of time, our bodily resources to restore the lack of physical equilibrium will be slowly depleted leading to physical symptoms like stomach ache, headache, numbness in arms etc. It can increase blood pressure and cholesterol and put our nervous system on hyper active mode.

Chronic loneliness can lead to various psychiatric disorders like depression, alcohol abuse, child abuse, sleep problems, personality disorders and Alzheimer’s disease.(1) It can also cause gastrointestinal problems like lack of appetite, nausea, stomachache, stomach ulcers, indigestion etc.

 

6. Loneliness can affect your immune system

When our body is under extreme stress, it signals our neurological system and immune system to stay on hyper alert mode.

Our immune system remains highly under pressure, working at its highest potential, when we are in chronic loneliness, to keep helping the body and the mind to cope with the situation. But once it’s depleted of its resources, the body starts signaling us to mend the situation through psychosomatic symptoms mentioned earlier.

Over time, loneliness can cause the immune system to function less efficiently, which can increase the risk of developing all kinds life style related illnesses.

 

7. Loneliness can be as dangerous as smoking

According to some psychologists, loneliness can be as dangerous as smoking and can adversely affect our health and longevity.

Holt-Lunstad published two major studies that establish the overall effect of loneliness as a risk factor for risk or early death.(2) Holt-Lunstad’s first study involved 3 lakh participants showed that scoring low on the indicators of social connection carried a similar risk to smoking up to 15 cigarettes per day. Participants with stronger social interactions were found to have a 50% increased likelihood of survival.

The second study involved 3.4 million participants and focused on subjective loneliness and actual, physical social isolation, and found that both can lead to a 30% increased risk of premature death.

Other studies have also shown that chronic loneliness can increase the risk of early death by 14%.

 

8. Poor cognitive performance

Another surprising fact about loneliness is that it can lead to poor cognitive performance and even dementia.

Loneliness is the perceived experience of social deprivation, distinct from objective social isolation, that has been associated with accelerated functional decline and increased mortality in older adults (Perissinotto et al., 2012). Loneliness has also been found to predict greater cognitive decline over 4–10 years (Shankar et al., 2013Tilvis et al., 2004) and a doubling of the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) dementia (Wilson et al., 2007). (3)

 

10. Obsession with Material possessions

According to a number of recent studies, a lot of people get obsessed about material possessions to combat their loneliness. They focus more on possessing cars, house and other valuables to fill the void of loneliness.

Shopping and acquiring things become our tonic, our magic pill to curb loneliness. Solution for loneliness, such as shopping, binge eating and is often momentarily beneficial but are detrimental in the long run.

Over the time a person realizes that it’s impossible to find solace in a conversation with one’s costly wrist watch. This leads to “a loneliness loop” that many economists have taken interest in since decades.

Many economists have suggested there are actually three flavors of materialism: “acquisition centrality, possession-defined success, and acquisition as the source of happiness.”(4)

Lonely shoppers who splurge to fill their sense of defeat and insecurity are actually deluding themselves.

Pieters found, valuing material possessions as a measure of success and as a medicine for happiness were associated with increases in loneliness over time, and loneliness in its turn was associated with increases in these sub types of materialism.(5)

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201410/10-surprising-facts-about-loneliness

 

Reference:

  1. Relationship Between Loneliness, Psychiatric Disorders and Physical Health? A Review on the Psychological Aspects of Loneliness
  2. 10 ways loneliness can affect your health — physically and mentally
  3. Loneliness, depression and cognitive function in older U.S. adults
  4. The Loneliness Loop: Why Feeling Sad Makes Us Shop and Shopping Makes Us Sad
  5. The Loneliness Loop: Why Feeling Sad Makes Us Shop and Shopping Makes Us Sad

 

 

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Shweta Advanihttps://writershwetaadvani.wordpress.com/
An HR consultant by profession, a slam poet and freelance writer.Avid reader,dancer and yoga enthusiast. When I am not reading or writing, I star gaze or take long walks in nature.
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