Full disclosure. I am a senior who lives alone. I do have a girlfriend and a dog whom I consider to be constant companions, so that may temper the damage of living solo as reported by Medical News Today.
A new study has concluded that living alone is linked to common mental disorders. The authors have also identified the main driver of this worrying relationship.
Some common mental disorders (CMDs) include mood disorders, anxiety, and substance use disorders.
According to some studies, almost one-third of people will experience a CMD in their lifetime.
These conditions can have a significant impact on the individual, of course, but due to their high prevalence, they also affect society at large.
Due to the widespread influence of CMDs, scientists are keen to understand the full range of risk factors that feed into mental health.
In recent years, scientists have investigated whether living alone might be one such risk factor. Continue reading
When it comes to aging, I am reminded pretty much daily of the old saw, “Nobody said it was easy.” We need to work on our nutrition and our exercise every day of our lives as we age. But, that is not the complete answer. “Man does not live by bread alone.” It turns out that we need to take a hint from the Millennials around us and engage with others socially, too.
Writing in Medical News Today, Honor Whiteman reported on the importance or our social needs, also.
Two new meta-analyses from Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, UT, reveal that loneliness and social isolation may increase the risk of premature death by up to 50 percent.
Study co-author Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at BYU, and colleagues recently presented their findings at the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, held in Washington, D.C.
While loneliness and social isolation are often used interchangeably, there are notable differences between the two. Social isolation is defined as a lack of contact with other individuals, while loneliness is the feeling that one is emotionally disconnected from others. In essence, a person can be in the presence of others and still feel lonely. Continue reading
“Not only are we at the highest recorded rate of living alone across the entire century, but we’re at the highest recorded rates ever on the planet,” said Tim Smith, co-author of the study. “With loneliness on the rise, we are predicting a possible loneliness epidemic in the future.”
Cooking with Kathy Man
Ask people what it takes to live a long life, and they’ll say things like exercise, take Omega-3s, and see your doctor regularly.
Now research from Brigham Young University shows that loneliness and social isolation are just as much a threat to longevity as obesity.
“The effect of this is comparable to obesity, something that public health takes very seriously,” said Julianne Holt-Lunstad, the lead study author. “We need to start taking our social relationships more seriously.”
Loneliness and social isolation can look very different. For example, someone may be surrounded by many people but still feel alone. Other people may isolate themselves because they prefer to be alone. The effect on longevity, however, is much the same for those two scenarios.
The association between loneliness and risk for mortality among young populations is actually greater than among older populations. Although older people are more likely to be lonely and…
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