The Cost of Loneliness – Neuroscience News

Summary: Scholars discuss the psychological, physical, and economic effects of loneliness.

A source: particle

They say you can’t put a price on friendship, but loneliness costs Australians $2.7 billion a year, according to a report by the Bankwest Curtin Center for Economics. This is an epidemic that has intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the pandemic began, feelings of loneliness have increased across Australia. Fortunately, the residents of Western Australia felt relatively well. We have the second highest score for ‘social engagement’, just behind the Australian Capital Territory. Queensland and South Australia scored the lowest for social connectivity.

The term “Loneliness” itself appeared only a few hundred years ago. Negative connotations associated with loneliness do not appear in literature until the late 18th century.

Although the term is relatively new, it is difficult to say when the emotional experience of loneliness became widespread. In Shakespeare All’s well that ends well, Loneliness is mixed with love sickness. in it HamletOphelia may have drowned herself due to loneliness.

Loneliness is mentioned in the ancient D’harawal dream story Bahnaga and Munda (Goanna and Black a snake) – Sydney botanist Francis Bodkin told.

“TAKE IT BECAUSE THE LORD IS BAD [BAH’NAGA] HE WAS A VERY LONELY MAN, HE HAD NEVER SPOKEN A NICE WORD TO A WOMAN.”

So, have we introduced modern emotions to ancient tales, or have collective cultures also suffered from loneliness?

GENDER GAP IN LONELINESS

In Australia, the economic cost of loneliness is greater for women than for men.

Curtin University Associate Professor of Economics Astgik Mavisakalian talks about the economic consequences of loneliness. She says it’s hard to say exactly why women feel more lonely than men.

“There may be multiple and complex reasons behind the gender gap in loneliness,” says Astgik.

“Information about loneliness speaks for itself. “Maybe women are less stigmatized and feel more comfortable expressing their loneliness.”

“BUT WOMEN MAY ALSO BE RAISED WITH HIGH EXPECTATIONS OF SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS. IF THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED, THEY MAY BE MORE LONELY.”

According to Astgick, one factor may be the opportunity for men to socialize through work. This often happens during the years when women stay home to take care of their children.

Australian women feel lonely at 17, according to research. And although it decreases with adulthood, loneliness suddenly increases for women over 65.

For Australian men, the peak of singleness is in their 50s.

WHAT DOES LONELY FEEL LIKE?

When we experience high levels of momentary loneliness, it triggers the body to release more cortisol. And prolonged feelings of loneliness are associated with higher average cortisol levels.

Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, prepares your body for a fight-or-flight response. This prompts your body to produce more glucose for extra energy. This increase in stress and the unpleasant feelings associated with loneliness can do two things.

The term “loneliness” itself has only been around for a few hundred years. Image is in the public domain

For social species like us, being alone means being vulnerable to attack. The fight-or-flight response can prepare us for this attack. Second, the emotional pain associated with loneliness provides us with a biological hunger to connect with others.

This leads to what Dr. Tim Dean describes as an “evolutionary mismatch.” This mismatch occurs when behaviors that have been instilled in us by evolution for survival become unhealthy in modern society. For example, our hunger for carbohydrates has turned into an obesity epidemic.

PHYSICAL SERVICES

2018 year Australian Loneliness Report 25% of Australians feel lonely and 30% say they have no friends.

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So how does this emotional experience affect our health? Loneliness is associated with a number of health problems. It is associated with cognitive decline (about a 2% drop in IQ over time) and an increased risk of dementia.

In fact, most of the estimated $2.7 billion price tag is the result of medical costs associated with declining health.

But does chronic illness cause loneliness or does loneliness increase the risk of illness?

Professor Tegan Kruvis studies community psychology and mental health at the Australian National University. According to him, they are often separate phenomena caused by similar social factors.

“The overlap between people experiencing depression and loneliness suggests that the social ills that lead to experiencing loneliness—rejection, discrimination, and disadvantage—are also important determinants of clinical depression.”

Astgick’s research suggests that loneliness can lead to poorer health outcomes and behaviors.

“More than half of 65-year-old women and men who feel most lonely report poor health,” says Astgik.

“[This is] almost double the rate of those who do not feel lonely.”

Chronic loneliness causes behavioral changes and triggers an inflammatory response in the immune system. Chronic inflammation contributes to a number of diseases, including Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and heart disease.

Both Tegan and Astgik say the best way to combat loneliness is to get involved in the community. If individualism is helping to create an epidemic of loneliness, reopening our communities can stop it.

Loneliness research news about it

Author: Thomas Crowe
A source: particle
The connection: Thomas Crowe – The Particle
Photo: Image is in the public domain

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