“The Surprising Effects of Loneliness on Health” reports on research building on previous research that established potentially harmful effects of loneliness and socialization on health and launch activity. The current research makes more of a distinction between, which involves the subjective sense of isolation” versus social isolation, which may or may not involve loneliness.
For example, people may be socially isolated and not feel lonely because they have a self-contained temperament, prefer a more “hermetic” lifestyle, and other possibilities. On the other hand, of course people may be surrounded by others and still have the subjective sense of loneliness. Among the most important findings from the current research, there is evidence that loneliness impacts on the brain in ways that are equivalent to depression, resulting in similar health risk factors for both conditions. Loneliness, as opposed to social isolation, was also found to be associated with cognitive decline.
MHConcierge’s take: these research findings support asking patients/clients about loneliness and social isolation.
This article was published by the New York Times on 12-11-17.