Loneliness does more harm than just cloud your brain with stress. Humans are social beings and building relationships is as necessary as living an active and healthy lifestyle. Not doing anything about your loneliness only causes damage to your physical and mental wellbeing.
That said, here are 6 ways loneliness affects your health:
1 – Leads To Depression
Loneliness and isolation can lead to depression. Studies show that the link loneliness and depression share stays stable throughout one’s life. Hence, there is no such thing as getting comfortable with being lonely. The lonelier you are, the more depressive symptoms you may experience. Isolation allows overwhelmingly sad thoughts to circulate in one’s mind which lays the foundation for depression.
2 – Triggers Inflammation
The feeling of being absolutely alone doesn’t only have impacts on our mental health. It can also influence our physical health by stimulating inflammation. Our brains and bodies still see loneliness as a threat as they did centuries back when attacks from out of nowhere were expected. As a defense mechanism to fight off infections and ailments, inflammation is kickstarted. However, too much of it can lead to several health problems such as autoimmune diseases and cancer.
3 – Decreases Lifespan
A few studies also show that loneliness can cut down one’s lifespan. It lowers the mortality rate as it has several adverse impacts on both the physical and mental health of individuals. It ups the risk of inflammation-caused diseases, obesity, depression, etc. Loneliness is a lifestyle and socializing is just as essential as sleeping, eating a healthy diet or exercising. If you don’t want to die early, it would be a good idea to go out and about and form some relationships.
4 – Worsens Social Interactions
No, lonely people are not always waiting around to jump on the opportunities of making more friends. In fact, social situations are even more stressful for them as they fear the opposite person can turn out to become an enemy. Hence, such people approach social interactions with a whole lot of doubt due to a neural mechanism in their brain. Lonely people are also a lot more sensitive to both good and bad social news.
5 – Ruins Diet
Lonely people may eat way more or way less than the requirement of their body. There’s a link between loneliness and eating disorders as well. Lonely people tend to have binge-eating disorder, bulimia, anorexia, etc. Lonely people may eat more in order to compensate for the emotional turmoil they feel when lonely. This can either cause them to put on an unhealthy amount of pounds or lose a lot of weight.
6 – Alters Immunity
Loneliness also has an effect on our immune systems. Lonely people tend to become the victims of colds and flus more often. This is because loneliness weakens the immune system. A study also says that lonely people are more susceptible to viral infections because their immune systems are focused on fighting off bacteria mainly. More research needs to be carried out to study how loneliness is associated with poor health.