As an individual start aging, s/he start losing connections as well. People start drifting away getting lost in their own lives and activities that people hardly get any time to say a word to another person. That’s what aging does to people. Those with whom people shared their childhood once, they don’t seem to remain part of one’s life anymore.
By the time a person hits fifty, many people around that individual either have already moved out of the vicinity or have died. An elderly person no longer feels a connection with those around him because the younger generation doesn’t seem to have time for the elderly people and here is where loneliness starts.
But how many people know that loneliness can actually lead to some of the chronic illnesses?
According to the New York Times, loneliness is something which can lead to different physical and mental illnesses as this can prove to be chronic both physically and mentally.
Also, there has been a drastic change in the ratio of elderly people in the past years as well. In 1951, the ratio of elderly used to around 12.5 million while in the report of 2011 by Indian Demographic has shown that it has increased to 92 million since then.
Researchers have said that the kind of loneliness an elderly person experience needs to be addressed properly. And such kind of loneliness where a person feels isolated from his surroundings and feels like an odd one out then this is termed as a disease known as pathological loneliness.
Such kind of loneliness can lead to chronic illnesses where a person is expected to go through a number of changes which can be physical, psychological or even worse can have a drastic effect on behavior as well.
What actually loneliness is?
As per the research, loneliness in itself isn’t something wrong. Rather, it’s the way one’s thinking wires are connected is the reason itself which can be fatal for health.
Loneliness is defined as:
- Loneliness is when a person feels more in a pessimistic way instead of an optimistic one.
- It can also be defined as when an individual doesn’t feel connected to his surroundings anymore.
- Loneliness is also defined in terms when a person doesn’t feel that s/he has some solid purpose in life.
- A lonely person more often than not feels that s/he is left out and thus always drive negative conclusions from the happenings that happen around him.
Categories of Loneliness
There are three categories of loneliness.
- Situational Loneliness
- Development Loneliness
- Internal Loneliness
1. Situational Loneliness
In a situational loneliness, mostly the factors involved are because of the social and cultural environment of the person that s/he lives in. Different sort of factors of a person’s surrounding can affect a person’s own social life as well which may include factors like conflicts within oneself, syndrome of emptiness or accidents etc.
2. Developmental Loneliness
It is a normal desire to have one’s own identity. And for that purpose, a person normally requires some isolation from his surroundings. But when a person’s purpose of remaining alone and social life gets disturbed because of an imbalance between the two, then a person normally goes through developmental loneliness.
3. Internal Loneliness
Internal loneliness happens when a person always feels some sort of worthlessness or has self-esteem issues or when a person doesn’t feel that s/he has any control over his/her life. That’s when internal loneliness happens.
How can Loneliness affect a person’s health?
Loneliness can lead a person to:
- Having suicidal thoughts.
- Diseases like dementia or Alzheimer can also result due to loneliness.
- Loneliness can affect a person physically as well such as having cardiovascular or immune issues.
Difference between Solitude and Loneliness
It is essential to know that there’s a difference between solitude and loneliness. Solitude can lead a person towards creative ideas and can give a person a sense of having self-worth. Whereas loneliness can lead a person towards negative feelings of emptiness or self-worthlessness.
That’s the reason it has now become a sort of concern amongst professional health cares and because of its fatal side-effects, it has been termed as a disease.