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Loneliness is a feeling of deep depression caused by a lack of positive emotions from communication or misunderstandings on the part of society. According to the Russian think tank, 38% of Russians are familiar with the phenomenon.
How dangerous is this feeling and how to deal with it? Research on loneliness was conducted by VTsIOM in 2018. According to analysts, 6% of the population consider themselves lonely, 38% admitted that they felt lonely during their lifetime. Elderly people are prone to depression in 71% of cases, young people - in 29% of cases. The main isolation factor is the loss of relatives. The second most important problem is related to the development of information technology and the decline of live communication.
Experienced psychologists supplement coping with melancholy, obtain a four-legged pet, start magazines, sign up at the gym, and stop social media abuse.
The world in us Today, scientists agree that the need for communication is one of the basic human needs at the level of food, water and sleep. Lack of social contact leads to mental health and nervous system disorders, which cause heart disease and accelerate brain wear.
Australian scientists from the University of Queensland claim that prolonged isolation can cause physical pain and increase the risk of death before the age of 35 by 30%. In addition, the older a person is, the more this risk increases. The American Psychological Association compared the harm caused by loneliness with the harm caused by alcohol in a study of 3.4 million compatriots. Lonely people are three times more likely to suffer from hypertension, coronary heart disease and stroke.
Probably the most revealing is the study of prisoners serving their sentences in solitary confinement. A study of a random sample of 100 criminals who lived in a detention center in California's Pelican Bay Prison for several years found that 91% of them developed the so-called "prisoner syndrome." Physical health was distinguished by various diseases of the cardiovascular system, impaired body thermoregulation, blurred vision and exacerbation of chronic diseases.Thus, loneliness can really die.
Can loneliness really affect the ability to avoid illness and stress when deciding to die? Rather, we are created so that we are not alone. Natural selection has given preference to people who needed other people. Humans are much more sociable creatures than most mammals, even primates. And to develop our social brains, as neuroscientists call them, we need to be able to work well together. When it turned out that loneliness can accelerate the death of patients. John Kaciopo also discovered that loneliness can make people sick according to the same pattern - forcing the body to act like a "fight or run" model. In the mid-1990s, Kaciopo worked at Ohio University, experimenting with students, dividing them into three groups: the non-lonely, the sometimes lonely, and the always lonely. They were observed for seven days and nights, filling in questionnaires nine times a day, measuring their cortisol (a stress secreted hormone) level and determining the duration and quality of sleep. As might be expected, the most pronounced symptoms of physical suffering (poor sleep, high cortisol levels) were for lonely students who felt unhappy because they did not have close friends. In addition, vascular resistance was above normal, which is associated with high blood pressure, which causes the heart to work harder to pump blood and damage blood vessels. If it continues for a long time, heart disease can develop.
The most important observation is that studies show that the brains of a single person are structurally and biochemically different from the brains of a single person. In addition, these differences are not just symptoms, but the cause of additional problems. For example, one of these differences is a suppressed nervous response to a positive stimulus. Positive images and events do not penetrate them like the brains of loners. The perception of social contact with friends or family causes activity in the brains of most people, but this reaction is reduced in loners. The brains of loners also show less activity when trying to determine what others think. This is an activity we do every day, which scientists call mentalization. Kaciopo admits that the brains of lonely people have silenced their ability to mentalize, a means of their social self-defense against receiving bad news from others. Loneliness is accompanied by a myriad of morbid manifestations, and it is not easy to tell who in this case is the chicken and which is the egg. But whatever the real cause of human loneliness, science shows that this condition changes the way the brain works, and these changes can cause a number of problems. Intuitively, everyone knows that loneliness brings death closer, but only recently have neurobiologists found a scientific explanation for it. It turns out that the feeling of loneliness sends deceptive hormonal signals, rearranges the gene molecules that determine behavior, and distorts other body systems.