The Devastating Consequences of Social Isolation - medtigo



The Devastating Consequences of Social Isolation

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Loneliness and social isolation have become significant public health concerns worldwide, affecting people of all ages, races, and backgrounds. While advancements in technology have brought people closer than ever before, paradoxically, they have also increased feelings of loneliness and disconnection. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to be surrounded by people but still feel alone.   

As per an article released in NPR, about half of all Americans had detectable levels of loneliness before the COVID-19 pandemic. Inadequate connection has severe physiological implications, including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease by 29%, stroke by 32%, and dementia by 50% in the elderly. According to the research, the impacts of isolation are comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes per day.  

“It’s difficult to put a price tag on the amount of human suffering that people are experiencing right now,” Surgeon General Vivek Murthy stated. He attributed the rise in loneliness to the fast pace of modern life, which he claims has driven people to relocate more frequently, change jobs more regularly, and adapt to new ways of communication, such as the internet and cell phones. He also mentioned that the quality of one’s social ties plays a significant role in whether or not one feels lonely.  

Young adults (15-24) had the most significant drop in social connection (70%) when compared to all other age groups (the advice indicated that people spend less time in person with each other than they did two decades before). According to Dr. Murthy, many young people nowadays choose online contacts over face-to-face conversations, even though this can result in weaker bonds. He warned against using technology, such as social media, which encourages children to spend too much time online at the expense of face-to-face engagement.  

The advisory outlines the cornerstones of a new national strategy to combat loneliness as strengthening social infrastructure, enacting pro-connection public policies, mobilizing the health sector to address the medical needs that stem from loneliness, reforming digital environments, deepening knowledge through more robust research, and cultivating a culture of connection. 

Dr. Murthy contends that loneliness is a worldwide feature of modern life, not just an American one. However, he noted that Americans have become less active in community organizations over the last few decades. The statement comes after a flurry of recent studies emphasizing the mental and physical hazards of being alone.  

Eric Liu, the chief executive officer of Citizen University in Seattle, believes that isolation negatively impacts people’s physical health and their impression of and connection to others in the community. He defined a shattered heart as both a medical and a sociological diagnostic. To tackle the scourge of loneliness, Liu believes the Surgeon General’s study is vital to create a society that values interpersonal interactions. 


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