Loneliness: Side Effects Of Loneliness On Your Health(2023)

1. Loneliness can speed up ageing process more than smoking, says study

Did you know feeling unhappy, depressed or lonely can speed up the pace of ageing even more than smoking or some diseases? As per a research article in the Aging-US journal, researchers deduced that humans don’t just age on the basis of physical factors alone. The speed with which they may age also depends on their mental state and social status.

“We demonstrate that psychological factors, such as feeling unhappy or being lonely, add up to 1.65 years to one’s biological age,” write the researchers from Deep Longevity, Stanford University and The Chinese University of Hong Kong, among others.

This study deduced that companionship and a psychologically pleasant environment are important for a healthy and long life.

Don’t let the elders at home feel isolated. 

2. Loneliness can double the risk of Type 2 diabetes

Here’s another study which is an alarm for you to deal with with loneliness. Clearly, such a feeling doesn’t just hamper mental health, but physical health too. As it happens, the two are symbiotic in nature.

It may seem surprising to you, but a new study published in Diabetologia, a journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, indicates that feelings of loneliness may be linked to a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The study explains that loneliness can lead to chronic and sometimes a prolonged state of distress. These may trigger the body’s physiological stress response. That is why it’s important to know how to deal with loneliness.

“While the exact mechanisms are not fully understood, this response is believed to play a central role in the development of type 2 diabetes through mechanisms such as temporary insulin resistance brought on by elevated levels of cortisol. Not just this, it may also lead to changes in how eating behaviour is regulated by the brain. Due to this, a lonely person may display an increased appetite for carbohydrates, leading to elevated blood sugar level.

Avoid emotional eating. 

3. Covid-19 pandemic increased loneliness

According to a research article published in PLOS One, a Public Library of Science journal, emotional loneliness increased over time due to the Covid-19 pandemic, while social loneliness remained stable. Of the 737 participants aged between 18-81 years, some of the socially lonely individuals were also susceptible to developing emotional loneliness over time.

These were driven by forced social distancing, lockdown and work-from-home environments. Being cut off from people-to-people and face-to-face interactions left many people struggling, especially the older people with loneliness.

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