The physical effects of loneliness. How loneliness affects the body.
It is fact that the human – a social animal, even told Aristotle. Psychologists believe this property is the reason for the success of our species. However, the constant need in the community has a negative side: isolation and loneliness harm us. The scientist geneticist Steve Cole told about physical effects of loneliness.
Being alone and to feel lonely – it’s not the same thing. Loneliness – the feeling that we have less meaningful social relationships than we would like. Of course, all individually. To some, for a comfortable existence, enough to have a close person, but for someone even ten people, not enough. However, researchers note that recently most people feel lonely.
According to the research, loneliness associated with increased blood pressure and heart problems
It turns out that loneliness breaks our heart in a totally literal meaning of the word.
Loneliness is much more than heartache. It is a biological wound that causes the destruction of cells.(Look at too-4 ways how to solve problem)
How loneliness reflects the cellular level. What are the physical effects of loneliness?
In 2007, Cole with other scientists from the University of California made an interesting discovery.He found that the cells of people who suffer from chronic loneliness, look different. Scientists have noticed two major genetic differences between lonely people and not alone.
- In lonely people the genes responsible for the inflammatory reaction of the body to exhibit much greater activity. And it is quite dangerous. Yes, inflammation is necessary that the body cope with the trauma. But if the inflammatory processes occur constantly, It creates an excellent environment for the development of atherosclerosis, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as metastatic cancer. “It is one of the reasons why single people are more prone from such diseases,” – says Cole.
- At the same time, the group activity of genes responsible for fighting viral infections is suppressed. These genes are responsible for the production of specific proteins – the first type of interferon to inhibit virus proliferation in the body.
According to Cole, this is a biological compromise. With inflammation, the body, usually fights with bacteria. But the typical reaction to the virus creates a favorable environment for bacteria. Therefore, the body makes the choice of which of the two reactions intensify.
In general, Cole believes that the response to chronic loneliness is not much different from the reaction to other sources of chronic stress – low socioeconomic status or post-traumatic syndrome.(Look at too)
Conclusions Cole confirmed and other researchers indicate that lonely people are more prone to chronic diseases and worse coping with the disease. This partly explains the high mortality among lonely people.
Of course, this is not the only reason. Naturally, it is easier to live when there is someone who can take to the doctor or support in a difficult situation.
Loneliness – a closed circle. The more isolated we feel, the more we feel threatened. And the more we feel that we threatened, the more we strive to the insulation.
How to prevent the physical effects of loneliness
According to some studies, cell symptoms weaken while passing a feeling of loneliness. However, Cole believes that the evidence that attempts make a person less lonely really help, yet not enough.
More effective are the efforts to return people the meaning of life. For example, one charity organization in Los Angeles brings together alone older people and elementary school students. Older people help students with homework and looking after them. It gives them a purpose and helps to feel healthier.
Of course, from time to time the body needs the stress. And loneliness is necessary for us. The periods of loneliness during the life is quite natural.
But, according to Cole, now the loneliness turn into an epidemic which is necessary to struggle. After all, it is even more dangerous for health than anxiety and depression, which we usually afraid.