Nobody wants to live a lonely life—even introverts want someone to be with. However, in this world of 7.6 billion people, there are many who live a lonely life.
Experts have deduced that loneliness can be more deadly than obesity and should actually be considered a public health risk. A review of a study conducted on loneliness suggests that people with bad social connections have an increased risk of early death versus those with a busy social life.
U.S researchers analyzed 218 studies related to the health effects of loneliness and came to a surprising conclusion. Social isolation raised a person’s risk of death by 50% compared to obesity.
Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, the lead author of the study and professor of psychology at Brigham Young University, said:“Being connected to others socially is widely considered a fundamental human need. Therefore it’s crucial to both well-being and survival.”
“Extreme examples show infants in custodial care who lack human contact fail to thrive and often die, and indeed, social isolation or solitary confinement has been used as a form of punishment.”
“Yet an increasing portion of the US population now experiences isolation regularly.”
Loneliness itself is enough to put a negative strain on your body and mind. Almost those who tend to lead a lonely lifestyle suffer from some negative symptoms and general unwellness.
Gransnet, a social networking site for people over 50, recently conducted a survey and found that 1/3 of older people in the UK are lonely in real life and have never spoken to someone about their feelings. 70% of those admitted that their family and friends would be surprised knowing that they were lonely.
The Office Of National Statistics showed stats that prove Britain is the loneliest country in Europe.
As per Campaign To End Loneliness, UK’s loneliness epidemic costs business $26 million per year for the costs associated with health outcomes and sick days.
Holt-Lunstad added: “There is robust evidence that social isolation and loneliness significantly increase the risk for premature mortality. Consequently, the magnitude of the risk exceeds that of many leading health indicators.”
“With an increasingly ageing population, the effect on public health is only anticipated to increase.”
“Indeed, many nations around the world now suggest we are facing a ‘loneliness epidemic.’”
“The challenge we face now is what can be done about it.”
She insisted that more research and resources should be conducted to tackle loneliness and social skills lessons should be made a priority for children in schools.