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Five Ways Your Loneliness Is Connected To Your Mental Health

Loneliness is one factor that brings around a mental breakdown. It’s challenging to address this in relation to mental health solely due to the stigmas surrounding the latter. It’s rare that you will find a confidant standing beside you when you actually need them. As several studies have revealed, social connection is imperative to a healthy mental condition, and loneliness can prove to be dreadful for an individual who is going through mental distress. The following are some of the ways through which loneliness proves to be detrimental and the role which social connectivity plays in our lives, physiologically and psychologically.

Depression

It’s a known fact that loneliness leads to depression. You might have undergone moments when you feel down and out owing to lack of companionship or absence of close friends. If someone never encountered a close relationship in his or her life, then he or she ought to experience a powerful malaise as a consequence. Sometime back, a study was conducted throughout a period of five years at the University of Chicago. That particular study revealed that the presence of loneliness in the early phases of the five-year period proved to be a powerful predictor than the presence of depression itself in the early half of the five-year span. Now, what does it imply? Loneliness precedes depression much more often than depression precedes loneliness.

Social Anxiety

If physical isolation is not the primary reason behind an individual’s loneliness, it would be quite reasonable to assume loneliness may have been brought about by the discomfort a person experiences in getting to know people. This situation is termed as social anxiety. While there are severe forms of this problem, the milder symptoms of social anxiety can be brought around by the feeling of being lonely. You might have the feeling that no one likes you or you don’t deserve a good and healthy relationship. This gives rise to fear and anxiety in your mind, and as a consequence, you tend to drift apart from society. Social anxiety and loneliness are interconnected and forms a ruthless cycle of isolation and the fear of isolation.

Addiction

When people stay close to others, they do not get addicted nor do they fall prey to substance abuse. Not even when they gulp down powerful painkillers after they go through an accident. Those individuals who go through loneliness for a much longer time stand the chance of getting hooked on various substances. If you can’t connect with the people around you, you will connect with anything that you can grab – it might be a syringe as well. An addict will gel better with another addict since he or she couldn’t bond or connect with anyone or anything else. As the situation stands, sobriety is not the opposite of addiction — human connection is.

Hoarding

You might usually categorize hoarding as a type of an obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, there is always a loss and heartache attached when someone tries hard to fill his or her own life up with certain things. When you are unable to fill up your life with family and your near and dear ones, you end up clinging to objects that give you comfort in order to fill up the emptiness. As far as hoarding is concerned, loneliness is one of the primary factors that lead to its rise.

Cognition & Dementia

Loneliness has a few other darker consequences than you might never have expected. It has been directly connected to problems with attention, cognitive functioning, and executive functioning, and can even lead an individual towards developing Alzheimer’s. A research studied 12,000 participants over a period of 10 years and found out a substantial connection between loneliness and risks of dementia. Those individuals who were reported to be the loneliest had a 40% greater risk of developing dementia.

Addressing issues like loneliness in methodical ways isn’t easy and simple. Aside from individual efforts, some policy and community efforts are also more likely to get involved. You still can mend things your own way, such as keeping the phone away and give your close friends and family a call, reaching to the people staying in your neighborhood, or rekindling old relationships. There are small yet effective ways through which you can a bit more social and inspire others to follow the same.

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