Monday, August 20, 2007

Loneliness is bad for your health

One of my great fears used to be that I would end up living in a room on my own with no-one to talk to for days on end. Fortunately for me, it looks as though it won't work out that way. However, I think that many men and women experience loneliness and isolation.

There is a good deal of research which suggests that loneliness is not just emotionally painful - it's bad for people's physical health too. A study, reported here on provides further evidence. Researchers found higher levels of the stress hormone epinephrine in the urine of lonely people than in that of others.

They also found that the sleep of lonely people is of poorer quality and therefore they lose out on some of its restorative effects.

Lonely people feel more helpless and threatened when faced with challenges and are less likely to look for help, they found.

Loneliness has also been linked in many studies to dementia and Alzheimer's Disease. There is more on that here.....

The latest study, by Louise Hawkley and John Cacioppo, was originally reported in the August 2007 issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science.

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