Now that the coronavirus pandemic is over, there has surfaced another called the alone-virus epidemic and it’s very real.
The World Health Organization has declared loneliness a “pressing health threat,” with risks as deadly as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.
In its announcement, WHO claims one in four older people suffer social isolation, while 5-15% of adolescents experience loneliness.
WHO’s new commission follows a new study by the University of Glasgow in Scotland that found that not socializing with friends or family may increase the risk of dying early by 39%.
Some 458,000 middle-aged participants were tracked for around 12 years, with about 33,000 deaths reported during the follow-up period.
The research, published last week in the journal BMC Medicine, found connecting with friends and family at least once a month to be very valuable, while surface-level interactions didn’t appear to cut the risk of premature death.
Studies have shown that constantly being by oneself carries the risk of anxiety, depression, poor immune function, cardiovascular issues, and even brain shrinkage.