While feeling alone is hard enough to manage, it can also lead to serious health issues. Lonely people report higher rates of social anxiety and depression, poorer psychological health and quality of life, and fewer meaningful relationships and social interactions.
A study reported in 2019 revealed that one in two (50.5 per cent) Australians feel lonely for at least one day a week, while more than one in four (27.6 per cent) feel lonely for three or more days. More Australians aged 56 to 65 felt lonely than other age groups. Interestingly, those aged over 65 said they were the least lonely. Loneliness was found to increase a person’s likelihood of experiencing depression by 15.2 per cent and the likelihood of social anxiety increases by 13.1 per cent. Those who are lonely also report being more anxious during social interactions. Considering other health effects of social isolation and loneliness, 50 per cent have a higher chance of premature death compared with obesity, which increases the chance of early death by 30 per cent.
Loneliness is a bigger killer than obesity and should be considered a major public health hazard.
The internet is wonderful in that it allows a connection to the world and to family.