June 27, 2023

There's loneliness and then there's being alone - happy in your own energies. Everybody needs alone-time to get away from other people even if they're a positive influence.

Loneliness can to happen to anyone of any age and background - but is more often than not an emotional pattern linked with depression.

One's upbringing and genetics can also play an important role in the emotion of loneliness.

Some people can be in a room with others and still experience loneliness.

Loneliness also goes with hopelessness when you feel there is no one who cares about you.

Loneliness is often felt at the end of a relationship, or the death of someone you care about.

Can loneliness kill? Not really. But the depressive anxiety-ridden emotions that go along with it, can.

Asperger's syndrome can lead to feelings of loneliness because you're less likely to find happiness and connection in the company of others. Asperger's has been merged with other conditions into autism spectrum disorder.

Support animals are often a way to overcome loneliness.

It's all about your programming in the simulation of reality.

Loneliness is an unpleasant emotional response to perceived isolation. Loneliness is also described as social pain – a psychological mechanism which motivates individuals to seek social connections. It is often associated with a perceived lack of connection and intimacy. Loneliness overlaps and yet is distinct from solitude.

Solitude is simply the state of being apart from others; not everyone who experiences solitude feels lonely. As a subjective emotion, loneliness can be felt even when a person is surrounded by other people. Hence, there is a distinction between being alone and feeling lonely.

Loneliness can be short term (state loneliness) or long term (chronic loneliness). In either case, it can be intense and painful.

The causes of loneliness are varied. Loneliness can be a result of genetic inheritance, cultural factors, a lack of meaningful relationships, a significant loss, an excessive reliance on passive technologies (notably the Internet in the 21st century), or a self-perpetuating mindset.

Research has shown that loneliness is found throughout society, including among people in marriages along with other strong relationships, and those with successful careers.

Most people experience loneliness at some points in their lives, and some feel it often. The effects of loneliness are also varied. Transient loneliness (loneliness which exists for a short period of time) is related to positive effects, including an increased focus on the strength of one's relationships.

Chronic loneliness (loneliness which exists for a significant amount of time in one's life) is generally correlated with negative effects, including increased obesity, substance use disorder, risk of depression, cardiovascular disease, risk of high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Chronic loneliness is also correlated with an increased risk of death and suicidal thoughts.

Medical treatments for loneliness include beginning therapy and taking antidepressants. Social treatments for loneliness generally include an increase in interaction with others, such as group activities (such as exercise or religious activities), re-engaging with old friends or colleagues, and becoming more connected with one's community. Other social treatments for loneliness include the ownership of pets and loneliness-designed technologies, such as meetup services or social robots (although the use of some technologies in order to combat loneliness is debated).

Loneliness has long been a theme in literature, going back to the Epic of Gilgamesh. However, academic coverage of loneliness was sparse until recent decades. In the 21st century, some academics and professionals have claimed that loneliness has become an epidemic, including Vivek Murthy, the Surgeon General of the United States. However, this claim has been disputed, with critics arguing that loneliness has not increased, but rather only academic focus on the topic has. Continue reading

In the News

Lonely People's Brains Work Differently, New Evidence Shows   Science Alert - July 8, 2023
While nonlonely people were more or less similar neurologically speaking, individuals with high levels of loneliness, regardless of how many friends they had, were more likely to have unique brain responses. Being surrounded by people who don't see the world quite like you do increases your risk of feeling lonely, even if you're friends with them. Neuroimaging tests on 66 young adults discovered significant contrasts in the way lonely people's brains process information compared to their peers. Not feeling understood can be a big part of why some feel disconnected from others. We're all likely to experience loneliness during our lives, an emotional state when we perceive a gap between our desired and actual relationships. Loneliness often relates more to the quality of our relationships than their quantity, and it impacts our health in multiple ways.

Global study shows loneliness can shorten life spans   Medical Express - June 26, 2023
Folks who reported that they were socially isolated or felt lonely were more likely to die early from all causes including cancer, according to a sweeping review of 90 studies that included more than 2.2 million people from around the globe.

Fighting loneliness by finding purpose   Medical Express - June 26, 2023
A new study published in Psychology and Aging co-authored by Patrick Hill, associate professor of psychological and brain sciences, offers an important message for our times: A sense of purpose in life - whether it's a high-minded quest to make a difference or a simple hobby with personal meaning - can offer potent protection against loneliness.

Loneliness Kills, Study Shows   Live Science - March 31, 2006
It's true - you might die of loneliness, but not until you're older. In a new study of men and women 50 to 68 years old, those who scored highest on measures of loneliness also had higher blood pressure. And high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, the number one killer in many industrialized nations and number two the United States.