Loneliness is graver than obesity and is fully qualified to be termed as a major public health hazard. Having social presence and being connected with other people in the society is a fundamental requirement of every individual which is indispensable for well-being and survival. With the ever-growing concept of nuclear families, work from home jobs and social media, most of us don’t even know our neighbors, are not bothered to take time to talk to our near and dear ones and rely on online sites such as Facebook or Instagram for social interaction paving no way for face-to-face conversations. The most-affected population groups are the elderly people who have lost their contact with most of their family members, ignored and taunted by them and finally pushed to live in recluse.
Loneliness affects health by increasing stress hormones and inflammation which can lead to arthritis, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, dementia and even an intention to commit suicide. If you wish to come out of stress, there are practical ways discussed at www.firsteatright.com that can help you make your life much better. Trivial activities such as bathing, grooming and preparing meals becomes a strenuous task for elderly people and the percentage of death increases by six-folds when such individuals feel left out, isolated or lack companionship.
Loneliness or Social Isolation?
Social isolation is far better from isolation in that, it only implies few social connections or interactions. But, loneliness involves the subjective perception of isolation which is the discrepancy between one’s desired and existing level of social connection. In other words, some people might live in isolation yet not feel lonely as they prefer to live by themselves, but some other people might live with many individuals surrounding them, but still feel lonely if their relationship is not emotionally rewarding.
Being unmarried, losing your spouse or death of a loved one are some crucial factors that determine the feeling of loneliness in an individual. Here again, some factors must be kept in mind-not all marriages are successful and the quality of relationship matters the most in any fulfilling relationship.
Loneliness is not the disease of the older people. It is predominantly seen among adolescents and young adults, then again in the elderly generation. Researchers feel that the intensity of loneliness decreases from young adulthood through middle age and does not reach its peak until again the oldest old age. Hence, loneliness is an issue that exists across the entire population. Even though we are not yet sure if social isolation or loneliness plays the prime role in affecting health and longevity, if we start assuming social connections as the fundamental human need, we cannot ignore the risks of social isolation even when people don’t feel lonely.
Effects of loneliness include:
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.