“All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being not just with my hands but with my heart.” ― Tahereh Mafi, Shatter Me
Everyone from time to time has felt lonely. Physically, you feel hollow and empty inside. As if something is missing within you. Emotionally, you feel alone, sad, and untethered.
For some, loneliness is a short-lived moment that changes when successful efforts lead to social re-connection. But for others, many others, loneliness is a chronic situation.
Though there are billions of us on this planet, our fast-paced, technologically advanced world is heightening loneliness. Research reports that chronic loneliness is increasing worldwide and is a public health concern.
Loneliness looms larger than painful emotional or physical experiences. Research shows that loneliness is really, really bad for our health. Here are some loneliness statistics:
1. Loneliness increases the likelihood of death by 26%.
2. Loneliness in young teens heightens the risk for mental health disorders.
3. Loneliness worsens your symptoms and length of illness when sick.
4. Loneliness lessens children’s immune responses.
5. Loneliness increases the risk of high blood pressure.
6. Loneliness raises your risk for heart attack by 29%.
7. Lonely individuals are at higher risk for disability.
8. Loneliness puts individuals at greater risk of cognitive decline.
9. Loneliness raises your risk 32% for stroke.
10. Loneliness raises the risk of poor physical health in children.
11. Loneliness increases suicide in the geriatric population.
12. Loneliness increases suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in teenagers.
When you consider the above statistics, chronic loneliness is not just bad for your health, it can be deadly. Experts believe we need to view loneliness not as just a social connection gone bad, but as a disease that needs early detection and treatments.
Types Of Loneliness
Loneliness is complex and unique to each person. One of the best ways to recognize if you or a loved one is struggling with loneliness is to understand the different types. Early detection of the beginning stages of loneliness helps interrupt the symptoms from taking root.
1. Interpersonal loneliness
This is the most common kind of loneliness children and adults experience. This is where a person is socially isolated, or perceives him or herself as cut off from a significant other.