Social isolationis one of the fast-growing issues that may cause serious health hazards. Socialisolation is the deficiency of social contact in an individual or beingisolated away from the society, which may be caused by various reasons, such asdepression.
It is a common misconception that social isolation is similar tobeing lonely. Social isolation is long term and can be a permanent situation.It is a state where an individual has a little to none interaction with socialgroups due to being remote. Thus, social isolation differs from lonelinesswhich is usually temporary condition and loneliness is easily felt by anyone,even the people who are well surrounded by their loved ones due to lack ofconnection emotionally, absence of attachment figure and lack of one’s actualand desired relationship (as cited in Pate, A 2014). However, “both lonelinessand lack of social interaction have a distinct association with physical andmental health” (Pate, A 2014). Due to the health risks it can possibly pose, expertshave been debating whether the lack of social interaction can affect anindividual’s health in the long term. This essay will argue that socialisolation is just as harmful to a person’s health as the other health disordersthat have a substantial effect on the well-being of an individual ultimately,as social isolation is a condition that can leave a significant effect onpsychological well-being and physical health, as well as behavior of anindividual. Extremeloneliness due to the effects of social isolation increases the risks ofdiseases, as it alters the normal bodily functions of a human being.
Researchers have discovered that isolation affects cardiac responses (Krupa, D2007). A study conducted at the University of Illinois, Chicago, was presentedat the American Physiological Society (APS) annual meeting involving Prairievoles in order to illustrate the levels of oxytocin, a hormone that helpregulates cardiac responses, is affected due to the effects of socialisolation. Oxytocin decreases due to isolation and thus causes the heart rateto increase and heart variability to decrease (Krupa, D 2007).
Thesecardiovascular changes contribute to increased risks of heart diseases.Additionally, loneliness due to lack of human contact also increasesdysfunctional immune responses, such as increase in production ofinflammation-related proteins that increase being prone to more pain,depression and fatigue symptoms (Jaremka L. et al.), as well as diseases suchas coronary heart diseases, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s diseases. Furthergrowth of social isolation in the current society will lead to increase ofpotential harm to the over-all individual health of the society. The impact ofsocial isolation on mortality rate is alarming and thus, experts havehypothesized that loneliness and social isolation might pose higher healthrisks than obesity. Statistics laid out by Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Ph.
D., ofBrigham Young University from two different studies found that greater socialconnection is linked with 50% decrease of pre-mature mortality and the resultsfrom the second study showed social isolation, loneliness or living alone havedisplayed a correlation with risk of early death, having a similar or greatereffect on prevalent health problems such as obesity (Sliwa, J 2017). Moreover,as mortality rate increases, the population is also affected due to theincrease of socially detached individuals which affects the rate of marriagesto decrease and the number of children per household in America, as researchedby the AARP (Sliwa, J 2017).
Social isolation has high health risks due to thefact that it can widely affect a whole population. Lack of socialconnection may largely affect the physical well-being of an individual but thelevel of negative effect that social isolation can present towards mentalhealth is similar and might be even worse. A study shows that adults who livealone are 80% more likely to have depression, according to Dr. Matthew Pantellof University of California Berkley-University of San Francisco Joint MedicalProgram (Rivas, A 2013). The link between mental health and socialdisconnection is whether the feeling of loneliness is present and does notreceive enough support from their social groups as they desired, which leads toloneliness.
Mental health is affected by social isolation that leads to thefeeling of loneliness, which increases the risk of cognitive decline, dementiaand depression (Pate, A 2014). Similarly, the behavior is also affected bysocial isolation, however, it is again more an effect of loneliness. Lonelinesscan lead to drug-take and risky behavior such as suicide. In regard to mentalhealth and behavior, loneliness plays more part compared to the idea alone ofsocial isolation.
To conclude,social isolation does not only affect the physical health of an individual butalso the psychological state of a person, as well as behaviorally, which giverise to potential detrimental health risks. Additionally, social isolation andloneliness have distinct differences, however, loneliness have a particularrole in the subject and thus, connect the two different ideas together. Socialisolation not only affects the increase of health risks such as diseases andmental illnesses but also the mortality rate, making it a great threat to thepublic. Social connection is a one of the most basic need of human, as it cangravely affect a person’s being. I believe that social isolation does adverselyaffect health as it does not only affect an individual’s well-being but alsothe population, which is very alarming.