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Loneliness

Study finds it is worse to be lonely than obese

Thursday, February 27, 2014 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: loneliness, obesity, mental health


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(NaturalNews) Scientists say in a new study that long-term feelings of loneliness have worse potentially lethal health risks than being obese.

In fact, according to researchers, the chronically lonely can increase their chances of premature death by as much as 14 percent, which is as big an increase as being overweight. It's also nearly as bad as poverty, in terms of worsening an individual's long-term health.

Because of advances in science, technology and medicine, more people are spending a larger portion of their lives alone, and this phenomenon is having a dramatic impact on physical and mental health.

Research now indicates that between 20 and 40 percent of adults, at any given time, feel somewhat lonely, as they live alone or otherwise become isolated from friends and relatives. This is particularly true in a person's retirement years.

As reported by the Toronto Sun:

A Mental Health Foundation survey found that 10% of Brits frequently feel lonely, a third believe a close friend or relative is very lonely and half think that people are getting lonelier in general.

A study of 2,000 Americans aged 50 or older which followed them over six years showed that the degree to which they felt lonely could be linked to their overall risk of death due to ill health at the end of this period.


'Lonely people tend to attack themselves mentally'

Psychotherapist and author Dr. Tina B. Tessina, PhD, explained that loneliness tends to associate with what she describes as a "situational-type depression," because being depressed can often produce behaviors that can lead to loneliness and alienation.

"Loneliness can also cause a person to feel insecure and have a poor self-image. Loneliness often leads to deeper isolation because it is often based on a poor self-image," she told Natural News. "Loneliness can also be related to grief, because people frequently isolate in the wake of a big loss, and they don't know how to process their grief and loss.

"Lonely, depressed people tend to attack themselves mentally, not care about themselves, and not have any energy to help themselves," she continued. "Situational depression is experienced when people are deeply hurt, disappointed, or have experienced a great loss or tragic situation. This type of depression is gradually worked through and can be overcome."

Leslie Malchy, a Canadian psychotherapist at Soft Landing Therapy, added: "Loneliness can be an indicator that someone struggles with social anxiety, social phobia or low self-esteem."

"While obesity over time is surely a health risk, many individuals overeat, delay food, starve themselves and restrict their eating in other ways but this is still more adaptable than social isolation," she told me. "This is also why 'solitary confinement' in jails and other kinds of camps are such powerful punishments."

"We take all our cues from the group; without a social context, we're lost in heart and mind," said Dr. Margaret J. King, PhD, head of Center for Cultural Studies & Analysis in Philadelphia, a think tank studying human behavior in social context, in an email. "We spend most of our thinking time running through our social circle -- the one centered by ourselves -- trying to figure out where we stand at any one moment. If we're sidelined for any reason, that's a clear danger sign that our identity and reputation, and sometimes life, is in the balance."

Earlier studies confirmed

And geriatric physician assistant Lynette Whiteman, executive director of Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey, a nonprofit group that provides services to senior citizens, sees an age-related component to loneliness.

"I believe that humans crave connection all throughout their life, it doesn't end at a certain age and it's even more debilitating when you get older because your options to change your life situation are that much smaller," she told me.

Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills psychologist and author of The Self-Aware Parent, told Natural News that the study's results merely confirmed earlier findings regarding loneliness.

"We have long known that loneliness can cause worry, anxiety, fears, isolation and depression which can affect blood pressure, heart rate, and other organs," she said. "The mind and body work together in harmony and equilibrium. Just as trauma effects one's health so can loneliness and other psychological issues."

Sources:

http://www.torontosun.com

http://www.softlandingtherapy.com

http://www.tinatessina.com

http://www.caregivervolunteers.org

http://science.naturalnews.com

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