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What is loneliness and Impacts of loneliness?

What is loneliness?

Everything on earth needs love, whether they are humans or animals or plants; everyone desires to be loved by their loved ones and the people surrounding them. But this does not always happen.  You might feel ignored by your family or friends, which can hurt your feelings. Some people don't pay much attention to the ignorance of others, but some people do and start feeling that no one likes them, which turns out to be a negative impact on mental health, and some reactions from you to isolate yourself from such people may take you to loneliness. Loneliness doesn't happen in one day, its the results of a series of events in your life.

Today we are more connected than ever before. Due to the prevalence of social media in today's generation, we are aware of our family and friends life events, but still, we are not really connected to them.

Loneliness is an experience that most of us will encounter at some point in our lives, either for some time or a prolonged time because of the loss of a family or friend. Being lonely becomes a severe issue when it becomes a day-to-day reality as it's quite essential for our wellbeing, health and the way we function in our communities.

Loneliness applies to various age groups and multiple stages of life, the nature of loneliness varies at different stages of life as an individual's social needs shift in focus. During the transformation from teen to early adulthood, high value is attached both to relationships and close friendships. They expect that the amount of care and respect I'm showing, they will also give the same to me. But too much high expectation and attention from others start making you feel bad, and too much of it can make you feel lonely and less important. Loneliness is most prevalent at this early adulthood stage of life and in old age. Although slowly it is becoming more prevalent in young teenagers too.

Many people experience loneliness in old age, either because of the lack of close family relations or a result of living alone. As the people age, they lose connection with their networks and find it challenging to make new networks. The death of friends and spouse and social disengagement after leaving work are some of the events contributing to loneliness in older people. 

Old people also expect care from their children as they don't have much energy left in their body, so they want their children to do stuff for them. But doesn't get that much care as they have expected from their child. As their children are busy in their marriage, kids, work and hardly get time for their parents. 

Impacts of loneliness

Loneliness can impact both mental and physical health. Some of the factors which studies have shown that can affect your body, mentally and physically, are:

  • Increased chances of having depression
  • Increased risk of death
  • Difficulty in handling stress
  • Possibility to have a weaker immune system
  • Cognitive deterioration resulting in Alzheimers/dementia
  • Unhealthy relationships due to behavior negativity

Read second part - What can be done to combat loneliness?

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