Loneliness Kills

Commentators in our society, and around the world, are now awakening to an emerging issue that is more lethal than cancer, or heart disease - it is social isolation and loneliness. The evidence and, in some cases actions, are beginning to not only identify the issues, but recommend actions or solutions to address this specter.

Research and studies continue to mount and are compelling enough to promote actions. Consider the following issues:

  • Loneliness and emotional rejection affect the brain and body in measurable and alarming ways promoting stress and lowering immunity levels.

  • One lonely day extracts the same toll as smoking an entire pack of cigarettes.

  • Emotional rejection causes stress affecting health, producing more illness and heart attacks.

  • The UK has designated a Minister to address Loneliness, reporting to the Prime Minister on ways and means to lessen loneliness in their country.

  • Positive relationships (the opposite of loneliness) is right behind genetics in predicting positive health and advanced longevity.

  • Men are at greater risk to be lonely - especially elderly men.

  • The number one public health crisis is not cancer, obesity, or heart disease - it's loneliness.

  • As many people in North America die from loneliness as from all smoke related diseases annually.

  • Cigna Insurance company conducted a national study with over 20,000 Americans looking at loneliness and discovered that loneliness has increased in all major age cohorts, but the highest level was found to be the youngest respondents.

  • Smart phones were designed to connect us, but the reality is that they have isolated us more than ever.

  • In the US, the life expectancy levels have dropped for a third consecutive year.

We need to ponder these trends. We need to not only recognize these issues but begin to find ways and means to address this specter. Our lives virtually depend upon it.