Loneliness is a dangerous health issue, one that is widespread and often unseen by other people. It’s not a contagious disease that can be passed onto others, but others can be affected by seeing the effects of loneliness in others. It’s not restricted to any one group of people or age group, nor is it restricted to any country or region; it is universal in its sinister effects on millions of people. There is no magic cure, no immunisation that can be applied; this is something that can enter your life without your intervention in doing anything to bring it about. Loneliness materialises without any warning and can come about over a period or hit you like a flying brick that comes out of nowhere.
There is no one single issue that can be assigned to loneliness, there are many reasons and causes that have no limits. What affects one person may not be related to another; each person may be struggling for different reasons and many see no end to the misery that loneliness inflicts.
It has been stated recently that loneliness could see the condition being recognised as the world's most dangerous health issue.
The list of potential causes of loneliness that follows is by no means complete:
- Loss of a family member
- Loss of a close friend
- Being shy
- Breakup of a long-term relationship
- Lack of self-confidence
- Being bullied
- Low esteem
- Being abused
- Having no real trustworthy friends
- Loss of a pet
- Moving to a new area and leaving friends behind
- Coping with a disability
- Being withdrawn
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- End of term of service in the armed forces
- Loss of faith
- Feeling worthless
- Being controlled
- Going through a divorce
These and many, many other reasons can be attributed to the onset of loneliness. The effects of these can be far reaching in a person’s life and can lead to any of the following:
- Poor decision-making
- Alcohol abuse
- Contemplating Suicide
- Drug abuse
- Cardiovascular disease
- Development of Alzheimer's disease
- Increased stress levels
- Reduced memory and learning abilities
- Anti-social behaviour
The above lists are not comprehensive and there may be other factors or health related complications that may emerge due to the distressing nature of loneliness.
Is there a cure? It depends on the individual and whether they want to eradicate loneliness from their life. Sometimes people just get used to the idea that this is all there is going to be, and this train of thought can deepen further the loneliness they are suffering. Accepting loneliness is not the be-all and end-all that life has to offer, there are a range of self-help exercises that can be employed to combat loneliness – we can explore these options together within the pages of this site and together with telephone helplines and other websites that have information and help to offer.
There’s no magic wand to wave, or pills to pop; it requires a willingness to do something positive and this website is geared towards helping you achieve this goal. It won’t make loneliness disappear overnight, but it will, hopefully, help to guide you towards defeating this sapping disease and get you back into a position of positivity about your life.
Contributor | David Cobbledick