Social isolation is rapidly becoming a serious problem among adults all over the world. Unfortunately, many people do not recognize it until it is too late. By understanding the signs of social isolation, you can begin to treat it.
The signs of social isolation are sometimes very subtle. It can begin by slowly distancing yourself from your friends and family. Many people who isolate themselves don’t even realize that they are doing it. People who are isolating, stop returning phone calls, stop talking to friends, stop talking to family and eventually stop leaving their homes.
What Causes Social Isolation?
Many factors are involved when you begin to isolate yourself. You may live or work alone, be grieving, suffer from a mental health illness, suffering from a breakup, or a significant change in life circumstance. No matter what the reason is, you have cut yourself off from others around you.
Depression and anxiety are also a factor in isolation and loneliness. With mental illness, the problem is cyclic. The depression causes loneliness, which in turn causes depression.
The Health Effects of Isolation
Isolation has some severe consequences for your health. There are physical symptoms such as random pain, stomach upset and sleep disturbances.
It can also cause problems with your relationships. As you distance yourself from friends and family, you damage your relationships with them.
After long periods of loneliness and isolation, you will begin to feel depressed, anxious and even suicidal. These feelings can lead to mental illness and other disorders if left unchecked.
How to Combat the Effects of Social Isolation
Fortunately, there are things you can do to combat social isolation. The most obvious is to socialize with friends, family and co-workers. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. If you cannot visit your loved ones, you can call or use video conferencing software.
Another way to combat it is to join a group. There are hundreds of groups that specialize in different interests. Many of these groups meet online or through chats. Social networking also gives you a variety of groups and other activities.
Some video games can provide social interaction. These games can serve as a distraction and provide much-needed socialization.
Getting a pet may also help with loneliness. Pets are known to provide companionship, lower blood pressure and improve mood. Even small pets can help you feel less isolated.
In today’s contactless society, social isolation is an increasing problem. You don’t have to feel so alone; there is help.