The Dangers and Risks of Being Alone
Friendship is a lot like food. It is essential for our survival. We have a virtual drive for it. Psychologists believe that humans must be included in groups and form close relationships. Social animals are real.
This is the bottom line: we are most effective when our social needs are met. It’s easier to remain motivated and face the many challenges of life.
Evidence is mounting that the lack of social connections can affect our mental and physical health. The brain and the body are affected. Some effects are subtly caused by prolonged exposure to stress hormones. The results can be quantified over time. Unmet social needs can lead to serious health problems, including deterioration of arteries and high blood pressure.
Loneliness is a state of emotional distress or discomfort resulting from a lack of friends and social contact. It starts with awareness of a lack of relationships. The dynamic soundtrack plays through the brain as this cognitive awareness. It can make us feel sad. It could feel empty. You might feel a deep longing to make contact with others. We may feel lonely, distant from others, or deprived. These feelings can cause emotional distress and devastation.
It is not unusual, despite the adverse effects of loneliness. It’s a very normal feeling. It is common to feel lonely after a breakup with a lover or friend, moving to a new location, or being excluded from a social gathering.
Chronic loneliness is a different matter entirely. It is one of many indicators that you are at risk for maladaptive behavior.
It can lead to many problems in children. A lack of social connections with peers causes most school dropouts. This sets the stage for children to become delinquents and other antisocial behaviors.
Adults are more likely to suffer from alcoholism and depression because of loneliness. It is increasingly linked to various medical issues, some of which can take years to manifest.
John Cacioppo, a University of Chicago psychologist, has been studying the effects of loneliness. A series of new studies were conducted by Cacioppo, revealing that loneliness can cause health problems in surprising ways.
- Most remarkable, however, was that doctors in his survey said they give better or more complete care to patients supported by their families and not isolated.
- Suicide is more common in those who live alone, both the young and the old.
- Lonely individuals report greater stress levels, even when they are not exposed to the same stressors and even when they relax.
- Because loneliness is not as common in lonely people, their social interactions with others are less favorable than those of others. This means that their relationships provide a different level of support than regular relationships.
- The levels of stress hormones in the blood and blood pressure are increased by loneliness. It can disrupt the regulation of the circulatory systems, making it harder for the heart muscle to work and the blood vessels more vulnerable to blood flow turbulence.
- The quality and efficacy of sleep are affected by loneliness, which can make it less effective and more vital for both the body and the mind. They are likelier to wake up at night and spend less time in bed than those who are not alone.
Cacioppo concluded that loneliness sets off a host of “slowly unfolding” pathophysiological processes. Clearly, those who are lonely experience more excellent cumulative wear and tear.
We are made for social contact. There are serious–life-threatening–consequences when we don’t get enough. Mentally, we can’t keep on track. We are also physically compromised. Your health is dependent on your social skills.