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An epidemic of loneliness?

MedExpress Team

Published Feb. 19, 2024 09:17

An epidemic of loneliness? - Header image
Fot. Getty Images/iStockphoto
Living alone increases the risk of mortality by 32 percent. The ability to cope with loneliness is one of the key skills in a postcovid world, where social isolation and loneliness are becoming more common. Loneliness can be defined as the subjective feeling of lacking desirable forms of social contact. It is a condition that can have both short-term and long-term effects on an individual's mental and physical health. The causes of loneliness are varied and can include factors such as social isolation, lack of close relationships, the death of a loved one, moving to a new place, or difficulty establishing and maintaining relationships. - The effects of loneliness can lead to depression, anxiety, lowered self-esteem and even health problems such as heart disease. - Dr. Matthew Grajek, psychologist, assistant professor in the Department of Public Health at SUM.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes loneliness and social isolation as serious threats to public health. Studies have shown that these conditions can affect health and life expectancy, comparable to other well-recognized risk factors such as smoking, obesity and physical inactivity.

The WHO recognizes that loneliness and social isolation are widespread worldwide, affecting about 1 in 4 elderly people and between 5 and 15 percent of adolescents. The problem...

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