What is loneliness?
“How we need another soul to cling to.” ― Sylvia Plath
Loneliness is a universal human emotion, yet it is both complex and unique to each individual who experiences it. Loneliness has no single common cause, so the preventions and treatments for this damaging state of mind vary dramatically. A lonely child who struggles to make friends at school has different needs than a lonely pensioner whose spouse has recently died.
“The trouble is not that I am single and likely to stay single, but that I am lonely and likely to stay lonely.” ― Charlotte Brontë
The word ‘loneliness’ points primarily to a state of physical isolation, and there are many differing situations that might cause this. Moving to a new location. The breakup of a relationship and the consequent separation and possible divorce. Poor interpersonal skills and anxiety relating to meeting new people and social situations. The death of someone significant in a person’s life can all lead to physical isolation and feelings of loneliness.
Loneliness can also be a symptom of a psychological disorder such as depression, or vice versa.
Loneliness can also be attributed to internal factors such as low self-esteem. People who lack confidence in themselves often believe that they are unworthy of the attention or regard of other people. This can also lead to isolation and chronic loneliness.
“The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.” ― Mother Teresa
Loneliness affects health and well being.
We are, by nature, social animals and not well adapted or happy spending extended periods alone – and protracted periods of time spent alone may have an adverse effect on general health and well being.
Some of the the negative health risks associated with loneliness include:
- Depression and suicide
- Cardiovascular disease and stroke
- Increased stress levels
- Decreased memory and learning
- Antisocial behavior
- Poor decision-making
- Alcoholism and drug abuse
- The progression of Alzheimer’s disease
- Altered brain function
- Reduced immune system
“When you have nobody you can make a cup of tea for, when nobody needs you, that’s when I think life is over.” ― Audrey Hepburn
Help is at hand.
The first step in treating that loneliness feeling begins with looking at your own personal situation and the type of person you are are- Because we are all so different. then what you want to happen will be fully taken into account before planning and recommending your treatment plan. It is important that everyone is listened to and treated as an individual who just has the need to belong. You will also be fully supported in whatever changes are necessary for you to make differences to your thinking, behaviours and lifestyle, whilst keeping the essence of you in place.
Sometimes it can be so nice not to be alone.