Loneliness is not particularly a mental health problem but the feeling of being alone. It gives the person an unpleasant feeling of isolation or lack of social connections. It doesn’t mean that if a person is in a relationship or have a great social circle, then he or she will not suffer from loneliness. At times there are situations where a person feels alone even being in the company of other people. Loneliness can also be defined as the social pain that is a psychological mechanism motivating the person to look for social connections.
Also, the lack of communication can make the person mentally sick and depressed. There is an irony behind the loneliness. If a person is alone then he or she could suffer from mental health issues. And If a person is suffering from mental health issues then the person can feel alone.
“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.” ― Mother Teresa
- “Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it’s not because they enjoy solitude. It’s because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.” ― Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper
- “The worst part of holding memories is not pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.” ― Lois Lowry, The Giver
What are the types of loneliness?
The researchers have classified the feeling of lack of companionship in three categories. These categories are:
1. Situational loneliness
Situational loneliness is a loneliness that one feels when there are certain changes in life. It may cause one to feel isolated. But this type of loneliness often gets better with time as the person starts adapting to a new normal life.
2. Developmental loneliness
When one feels like everyone else around him is moving forward in life like acing tests, getting promotions, or starting families, then the feeling of being left behind comes into the picture. This feeling of not performing as good as others can lead to isolation and loneliness.
3. Internal loneliness
Sometimes, people feel lonely even though they are hardly alone at all. Internal loneliness comes from a perception of being alone in any and every situation.
What are the causes of loneliness?
People may suffer loneliness due to a variety of reasons. Some of the common causes are classified as follows:
1. Social causes
One can feel alone if he/she is different from other people in physical appearances or any ability. This forces the person to remain isolated from the society making him feel lonely.
2. Mental causes
If a person is suffering from any kind of mental disorder then he/she is sometimes boycotted by the people in his/her social circle. The unawareness of Mental health problems could be the reason for such a situation. This makes the person feel alone.
3. Emotional causes
If a person is left abandoned by the people in childhood years then this could lead to a negative impact on the brain of that person. Things like divorces or separations lead to a greater impact on the emotions of the people making them feel alone.
4. Physical causes
Physical causes like physical inabilities, physical appearance, and many other things also lead to the breakup of the person from any sort of relationship. This relationship may include friends circle, marriages, relatives, or family. This can make the person lonely and distressed.
What are the health risks associated with loneliness?
The negative effects and the risk of life that is associated with loneliness are mentioned below:
- Depression and suicide
- Cardiovascular disease and stroke
- Increased stress levels
- Decreased memory and learning
- Antisocial behavior
- Poor decision-making
- Alcoholism and drug abuse
- The progression of Alzheimer’s disease
- Altered brain function
What are the Preventions?
Loneliness is a mental disorder that can be easily overcome by an individual with time. It requires a couple of efforts on the part of the sufferer to make a change and get over this situation. Some of the ways that can be used by people to avoid such condition are:
- Identify the signs of loneliness and make change accordingly.
- Understand the impact of loneliness on the brain and life, both physically and mentally.
- A person can try to indulge in activities like social service, community services, or any other activities that generate interest. These things will provide individual the opportunity to meet other people and cultivate new connections and friendships.
- One should focus on developing quality relationships that will help to overcome loneliness.
- During finding new friends, one might face rejections so one should be open to rejections with the hope that whatever one will find would be the best of all.
- A positive attitude towards life helps the person recover faster and better from loneliness.
The best way to cope with loneliness is not to be in the company of people throughout the day. The thing to keep in mind is that one is not supposed to gather a quantity of friends but rather maintain a pool of quality friends. This is an issue that may affect people of all ages and all types. Adolescents are most likely to get affected by the problem of feeling alone. which often leads them to drink alcohol and taking drugs. The elderly people are also at higher risk because nowadays children prefer living without their parents leaving them alone at this age. The people suffering from loneliness are not just struggling in their mind but they are sort of suffering some physical pain as well.
If you or someone close to you have gone through any Mental Health problems then we urge you to share your story to bolster other individuals. Click here to share your story. Every effort counts.