Nautilus

Loneliness Is a Warning Sign to Be Social

In 2002, a group of adults aged 50 and over answered a series of questions about their physical and mental health. A subset of the questions went as follows.

How often do you feel …

1) A lack of companionship

2) Left out

3) Isolated from others

The adults rated their answers on a scale of 0-3 with “hardly ever or never” to “often.” Three points or more qualified that person as “lonely.” Six years passed. In 2008, the researchers followed up with the participants. They discovered lonely individuals were at greater risk to be depressed and less mobile than their non-lonely counterparts. They were also more likely to be dead.

The physiological ravages of loneliness are no mystery to those sunk in “a perfect solitude,” which is

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