Loneliness and Isolation - Major Causes of Early Mortality


Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
We're social animals. Loneliness and isolation may have as great an impact on early mortality as obesity!

There are a number of health and lifestyle factors - obesity, smoking, air pollution - that are known to be risk factors for early mortality and receive considerable attention. New research has suggested that social connections should be added to this list, with a study finding loneliness and social isolation to be risk factors for all ages.

Psychologists from Brigham Young University in Provo, UT, discovered in a meta-analysis that loneliness and social isolation better predicted premature death among populations aged less than 65 years, despite older people being more likely to be lonely and having a higher mortality risk overall.
"The effect of this is comparable to obesity, something that public health takes very seriously," says lead author Julianne Holt-Lunstad. "We need to start taking our social relationships more seriously."

The meta-analysis is not as robust as the meta-analyses regarding obesity and more work needs to be done - but the results were rather startling.

Check it out here: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/290934.php


Well-Known Member
I've seen this in dementia people. The more isolated they are the worse and faster the dementia progresses. Whether or not the illness is causing them to no longer want to socialize or just the reality of their circumstances causes others to not associate or try to help those- not sure what comes first. But for sure sitting down, not moving and isolation makes them digress even faster.

We are social and created to interact. The more a person isolates themselves the less social skills they have. It takes interaction to learn how to have positive relationships with others.

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Active Member
If this is true, I am in deep trouble. lol I can laugh.

Isolation is the worst. I joke that I am under house arrest evenings and weekends.

My ability to concentrate has decreased considerably, making those lonely quiet hours even harder. It was relatively easy to escape into books and music and needlework.

Julie G

The internet and forums like this help me a great deal. Simply accepting that I just can't do things other people can do helps most of the time. I'm very fortunate that until I turned 35 I had a very active lifestyle. Finding some patients of this and other debilitating illnesses who are very young is heartbreaking. Contemplating the consequences when I used to try living a normal life helps--the pain and the suffering of being bedridden most of each day for MONTHS are so bad I'm extremely selective about what I do. Watching movies helps because I love quality films. I'm far away from most family and friends now, so keeping in touch via facebook and emails is very important. My faith helps tremendously. Using the Internet I can maintain relationships and share encouragement with others of my faith, which is good because I can no longer make it to church. The internet also gives me the opportunities to write on activist websites and other venues. Writing is my only professional skill, but it's one I can do in bed!

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