Loneliness is a common feeling, though people with mental disorders like depression probably feel it more than others.
Loneliness is characterized by feeling alone or being alone. However, you can feel alone and be surrounded by people, or you can be alone and not feel lonely. Being alone can be healthy, but too much loneliness can lead to mental and physical problems.
A new survey report by the Mental Health Foundation, a United Kingdom charity dedicated to mental health, found that the modern way of life may be contributing to loneliness.
For example, the report called "The Lonely Society?" stated that some causes for loneliness could be that more people are living alone, spending more time at work and less time socializing. Also, online social networking can lead to loneliness in cases where a person only talks to people online.
The results are hard to ignore: 48 percent of adults in the UK believe people are getting lonelier. Although this is hard to believe, 22 percent say they “never feel lonely,” but 11 percent “feel lonely often.”
Depression, whether as a diagnosis or a short-term feeling, can be linked to loneliness. For example, the survey found that 42 percent “have felt depressed because we felt alone.”
Depression and anxiety can both lead to actions that create more feelings of loneliness, since according to the survey, 57 percent “who have experienced depression or anxiety isolated ourselves from friends and family.”
There is still a stigma for loneliness, since the survey found that 30 percent “would be embarrassed to admit to feeling lonely.” This could be because independence is considered valuable, and someone who needs to be around others in order to counteract feelings of loneliness might not be deemed as independent.
Loneliness can be complicated. For example, I mentioned earlier that you can be surrounded by people and even have a “good social network,” but according to the report, you can also feel emotional loneliness. This is when a person feels like he or she is in a “state of isolation” and is “emotionally cut off.”