Although at first glance it is hard to believe, loneliness can affect health in extremely serious ways. In an interview, Dr Rucha Shrikhande, consultant psychologist at Ruby Hall Clinic, revealed what five conditions can be commonly caused by not having a partner for a long time. Unfortunately, many of the illnesses are difficult to treat once they have been triggered.
Being or feeling lonely, isolated, is not good for your psyche. It’s not just the soul and mind that are affected, but the body too. The unhappiness caused by loneliness is transmitted to the brain as a health-damaging alarm signal. In this regard, Dr Rucha Shrikhande made a number of points.
Heart disease, depression, anxiety, diabetes and high blood pressure are among the most common diseases that can be associated with loneliness. In an interview, a psychology expert revealed how each condition actually occurs:
One of the serious disorders that loneliness can cause is depression. Even if the illness doesn’t actually affect the body, it greatly affects mental health, and gradually it can lead to a drop in confidence and self-esteem. Moreover, it can deepen the sense of loneliness the patient has already struggled with.
One of the serious issues the specialist brings to the public’s attention is that loneliness not only causes illness, but can also be constantly fuelled by it. Thus, there is a two-way relationship between cause and effect.
Once loneliness overwhelms the individual, it can make them sick with depression, but also with anxiety, especially social anxiety. The condition leads to a fear of relating to other people and going out in public, and can prevent the individual from doing a lot of activities that involve interpersonal interaction.
Heart diseases that can arise from loneliness
Hypertension, heart attack and stroke can occur in people who experience loneliness. In 29% of cases globally, individuals experiencing this problem have had a stroke. As a result, it seems that the sadness caused by loneliness literally affects the heart.
Biologists have proven that loneliness also triggers hormonal changes that can affect the body’s vital functions. What’s more, changes at the cellular level can cause the development of cancer-causing tissues.
The last in the list of five diseases mentioned by Dr Rucha Shrikhande, is diabetes. The risk of type 2 diabetes is usually higher in single people. Especially for people who also have weight problems, it is even harder to combat the condition, because lonely patients find it difficult to lose weight.
“Loneliness can be a causal effect and symptom of many of diseases. Mental health and physical health are two sides of the same coin. Many patients visiting hospitals are due to psychosomatization. It means that there are no physical issues or damages but more of psychological component involved in it. Loneliness can be caused due to 4 major concerns – social, emotional, situational and chronic,” says Dr Rucha Shrikhande, consultant psychologist at Ruby Hall Clinic, according to Hindustan Times.