Social isolation impacts upon mental and physical health

Social isolation has a significant impact upon mental and physical health, and should be classed among smoking and obesity as a major risk factor to health, according to the authors of a new book.

The authors of Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection, found that chronic loneliness has a significant effect upon a variety of physiological processes. After analyzing numerous research studies  they found that social isolation causes higher rises in morning levels of the stress hormone cortisol, altered gene expression in immune cells, and higher blood pressure. It is also associated with an increased risk of depression and sleep problems, and a faster progression of Alzheimer's disease.  

Cacioppo JT, Patrick W. Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection. W. W. Norton & Company; 2008.

 

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