By Maria Tedesco - Clinical Psychologist
It is astounding that in a world like ours, where everything seems to be openly spoken about, there is a health crisis that is rarely mentioned, and that is loneliness.
Loneliness is defined as a state of ‘solitary sadness’. Studies show that it not only makes you feel miserable it can shorten your life. Loneliness is correlated to higher systolic blood pressure, cognitive decline and overall increases in morbidity and mortality (1,2,3). We generally think of loneliness affecting those with chronic agoraphobia or debilitating OCD but, loneliness is subjective. It can afflict even the most ordinary of people.
It is a state of mind that can take hold when:
(1) Cacioppo,J.T & Hawkley, L.C. (2010). Perceived social isolation and cognition. National Centre for Biotechnology Information 3(10), 447-454.
(2) Cacioppo, J.T et al. (2003) The anatomy of loneliness. American Psychology Society, 12(3), 71-74.
(3) Perissinotto, C.M et al. (2012) Loneliness in Older Persons: a predictor of functional decline. Internal Medicine. 172(14), 10781084.