Living Alone Increases Depression Risk by About 40%: Study - medtigo



Living Alone Increases Depression Risk by About 40%: Study

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According to Frontiers, one of the most prevalent socio-psychological issues affecting one’s capacity to maintain a healthy lifestyle and general well-being is living alone, despite extensive cross-sectional research showing that only children and individuals who live alone are more prone to suffer from depression. However, longitudinal studies are rarely used to estimate this risk.

This encourages us to do longer-term research to understand more about the nature of this link. The global population has been gradually aging over the last few decades due to various factors, including declining birth rates and rising life expectancy. Twenty years ago, a far smaller proportion of the Western population lived alone than there is now (30%). This trend mainly affects individuals in their forties and fifties, as well as those already in their golden years.  

The global COVID-19 pandemic has increased the number of people suffering from the adverse effects of social isolation. Recent research has indicated that those who spend much time alone are at a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, stroke, and dying young. Loneliness is a major societal issue that contributes significantly to other bad experiences.

When one lives alone, the chance of getting isolated grows. It has been said that isolated villages are detrimental to people’s mental health, particularly the elderly. The previous study has found that forcing people to live alone harms their mental health and quality of life. Social isolation is one of the risk factors for depression.   

Individuals, particularly the elderly, are more prone to depression when their social conditions are poor (such as isolation, financial difficulties, a lack of social support, and poor medical treatment). Depression, a mental health illness characterized by persistent melancholy, loss of interest or pleasure in formerly valued or enjoyable activities, sleep and eating troubles, exhaustion, and poor attention, is one of the leading global causes of disability.

A recent meta-analysis discovered a 22.7% prevalence of depression among Chinese seniors. Depression has been associated with various medical illnesses, including heart disease, stroke, CHD, gastrointestinal issues, hypertension, asthma, arthritis, disability, suicidal ideation, and self-harm. Depression hurts the quality of life of seniors and those close to them.  

A total of 2,056 studies were discovered after searching the above databases (up to May 2022). Only seven of the 239 publications had full text accessible for inclusion in the meta-analysis. Women comprised 65 percent of the total of 123,859 participants (all of whom were in good mental health). People who lived alone were more likely to suffer from depression than those who did not (OR 1.42, 95% CI 1.19-1.70). Men, the elderly, and those living in rural areas have a higher chance of getting depression when living alone than women, the young, and those living in cities.  

Several meta-analyses have revealed that living alone is related to an increased risk of depression, although these studies only analyzed cross-sectional data. Instead, we drew inferences based on facts gathered over time. Regardless, the result was the same. People who lived alone had a 42% higher chance of developing a mental condition. Unfortunately, sadness isn’t the only dire consequence of living alone.

Previous cross-sectional research has indicated that this risk varies with age, gender, and region. Those who are older, male, and from a rural place are more likely to be harmed than those who are younger and female. While subgroup analysis might enhance our findings, there is presently insufficient longitudinal data.  

As the birth rate lowers and the global elderly population grows, many people change their lives to accommodate. Thirty percent of Westerners now live alone, with the elderly being the most vulnerable. As nuclear families disintegrate and megacities sprout across East Asia, an increasing number of older adults in countries such as South Korea, Japan, and China are forced to live alone.


One of our most pressing concerns is the harm caused by solitude. When a person is alone and has no friends or relatives around, their emotions of loneliness become more objective. Concerns regarding the health dangers of living alone stem from evidence that social isolation raises the risk of both physical (such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes) and mental health problems (such as anxiety and depression).

Depression is one of the most common chronic disorders and a significant public health burden. It is expected to replace heart disease as the leading cause of disability globally by 2020. Multiple variables have been related to the onset and maintenance of depressive episodes, including heredity, the environment, the human brain, and the physical body. When you’re depressed, having someone to depend on may make all the difference in the world. Incorporating housing as a kind of structural social support can reduce or perhaps eliminate depression in the elderly. 

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