There are several obvious ways in which unhealthy lifestyles can affect your mental and physical health. Nonetheless, there is one lifestyle issue whose effect is not so evident. This is loneliness. The definition of loneliness is somewhat vague to most people. In psychology, however, there are two types of loneliness; subjective and objective loneliness. Objective loneliness is the physical state of living alone or being socially isolated. Subjective loneliness is more of an emotional state of being alone rather than a physical state.
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Loneliness often follows the loss of a job, relationship, or close friends, a movement to a new location, or a change of schools and workplaces. It is characterized by self-doubt, decreased energy, appetite loss, anxiousness, craving for physical warmth, and substance misuse, among other destructive behaviors. Though most people do not pay as much attention to loneliness or even seek treatment for it, the condition can make you suffer from stress and weight loss. The following are some guidelines on a few of these ways.
It Increases Your Risk of Inflammation
A 2015 study reported that lonely people had high biomarkers of inflammation, lowered activity of their anti-viral genes, and increased activity of the inflammatory genes. This genetic activity has been linked to generations ago when human bodies viewed isolation and loneliness as threats. As such, the body activates its flight or fight response to handle the threat. The inflammation heralded by the increase of different genes is meant to protect your body from injury or disease. Even so, too much inflammation in the absence of a threat often leads to the formation of tumors.
It Heightens the Risk of Chronic Illness
In a 2017 study that included 40 subjects, researchers linked loneliness to an increased risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular conditions. Lonely people in another study that considered the results of a 2012 Swiss health survey were also shown to be at a higher risk of high cholesterol, unhealthy lifestyles, and poor physical health compared to the general population.
Loneliness Lowers Your Sleep Quality
Optimal sleep is essential for your overall physical and mental wellbeing. According to studies in 2017 that considered 2000 twins, lonely young adults often have lower sleep quality than social ones. The findings of the study also pointed to loneliness being worsened by an experience of violence. A 2018 study that included 639 adults as respondents also concluded that isolation and loneliness affected the quality of sleep in study subjects.
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It Has Been Linked to Depression
In most cases, people assume that depressed people are naturally lonely. This might, however, not be the case. Loneliness has been shown by a 2016 study among 1116 twin pairs to lead to depression. With depression currently among the leading causes of poor physical health, suicides, and self-destructive behaviors, increasing social connections as well as focusing on reducing subjective loneliness should be among the key tactics of battling depression.
Loneliness Affects Cognition
Experts have linked loneliness to a negative effect on how a person thinks. They have also shown that loneliness might cause issues with executive function, attention, cognitive function, and even increase your risk of contracting Alzheimer’s disease. One study that followed more than 12000 subjects for over ten years identified a noteworthy link between loneliness and the risk of getting dementia. According to the findings, lonely people have a 40% higher risk of getting dementia compared to others.
It Increases Your Blood Pressure
Loneliness will raise the levels of your circulating stress hormones. These, in turn, make your body prepare for a fight or flight response. The preparation includes an increase in your blood pressure to push enough blood to your vital organs. Even so, since there is no threat to which your body is responding, the increased blood pressure undermines your circulatory system. Moreover, the heart has to constantly work harder to keep your blood pressure high. These effects result in constant high blood pressure that might need lifelong medication to manage.
It Increases the Risk of Premature Death
Premature death is described as death occurring before the average death age in a specific population. One study that included over 300,000 respondents considered the relationship between social relationships and the risk of mortality. It concluded that loneliness carried the same risk of mortality as smoking fifteen cigarettes daily.
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The line ‘’nobody wants to be lonely’’ might be from a pop song, but this is a universal truth. Furthermore, loneliness should not be ignored with its associated risks above. Even so, it is a complex diagnosis with different treatment options available for it nowadays. However, you should get your treatment from an accredited institution like Mango Clinic. This guarantees the diagnosis is made correctly and the treatment approaches instituted work for you. Moreover, professionalism when managing loneliness negates the side effects associated with some medications and treatment options for loneliness.