Experts have taken the time to point out the effects of loneliness stating that it is deadlier than obesity and should be considered a public health concern. The study suggests that there is a 50% higher chance that those with a bad social connection to have early deaths.
218 cases of social isolation and loneliness were looked into by the US-based researchers in 2018 and they discovered that there was a 50% increase in mortality chances against the 30% increase posed by obesity.
The lead author who happens to be a professor of psychology at Brigham Young University, Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, noted that it is a fundamental human need to connect with others socially and it is crucial to human survival.
A perfect example is the extreme case of infants who lack human contacts and custodial care. They end up in isolation and eventually die early. Despite this, there is an increase in the population of the people who experience isolation in the United States.
Loneliness can bring about the physical and mental breakdown and people who are lonely tend to have symptoms for any disease worse than those who are socially active. The over-50s social networking site, Granset conducted a study and discovered that up to three-quarters of the older people in the UK are lonely and have no one to talk to about it. About 70% of them even said their family members would be surprised to hear that they are lonely.
The National Statistic stats conducted a study recently and ascertained that Britain is the loneliest country in Europe. It doesn’t end there; the campaign to end loneliness epidemic costs as much as $26 million every year for costs that are associated with sick days and health outcomes.
Holt-Lunstad went on to say that there is ample evidence to support the theory that premature mortality is enhanced significantly by loneliness an social isolation and the magnitude of this epidemic exceeds a lot of the leading health indicators.
It is also expected that current increase in aging population will cause the effect on public health to increase. It seems to be the general notion of many nations that we are currently facing a ‘loneliness epidemic.’
The major problem now is the answer to the ‘what can be done about it’ question. She advised that more effort and resources be put into studies and research to ensure that social skills are imparted to kids before they begin to mature.
Prior studies have suggested that symptoms of different sicknesses in adults who are lonely or socially isolated were significantly more severe. The researchers from Rice University in Texas noted that lonely people were not more likely to catch a cold than those who aren’t lonely, however, when they did, the effects were far worse. The experts advise that patients’ GPs should factor in social circumstances when dealing with them.