Deadly loneliness: loneliness makes you sick!

Deadly loneliness: loneliness makes you sick!

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Are mental illnesses related to more and more single-person households?

There are more and more people in Germany who live alone, and the trend is constantly increasing. The trend of increasing single-person households can be linked to more mental illnesses, as a recent French study now shows.

People who feel lonely are more susceptible to mental illness

According to the current study, living alone has extremely adverse effects on our psyche. The researchers recently published the results of their study in the journal PLOS One.

The research team reports that single people are 1.5 to 2.5 times more likely to have a mental illness than other people. Common mental illnesses include depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders. All age groups and genders were considered in the study.

In their study, however, the scientists did not show whether living alone is the reason for mental illnesses occurring. The chronological order was also not examined. However, it was found that there is a statistical connection between loneliness and illness in people who feel lonely.

Reasons for more and more single households

One reason, for example, is the steadily increasing life expectancy. Other reasons are the declining marriage and birth rates, which ensure that more and more people live alone, although there are of course people who choose this way of life very consciously.

Data from the past few years have already shown the trend

As reported by the Federal Statistical Office in 2016, 41 percent of all households in Germany are so-called single-person households, a share that is significantly above the EU average of 33 percent. In addition, a Finnish study from 2012 found that the likelihood of developing depression within eight years increases by 80 percent among single people.

Great study

The research team at the University of Versailles analyzed the data of 20,500 people from England, aged 16 to 64, who had taken part in the National Psychiatric Morbidity survey in 1993, 2000 and 2007. The mental health of the participants was determined using interviews and questionnaires. The researchers also used the data collected on height and weight, alcohol addiction, drug use, social network and the feeling of loneliness.

In all three years, the proportion of single-person households in the survey rose from 8.8 to 9.8 and finally 10.7 percent. At the same time, the rate of the most common mental illnesses increased from 14.1 to 16.3 and 16.4 percent. All three surveys showed a statistical connection between living alone and the occurrence of mental illnesses. The biggest factor was loneliness. When someone felt lonely, the risk of mental illness was also the highest


Of course there are people who consciously choose to live alone and this way of life can also be seen positively for people. However, loneliness also means the unwanted loss of relationships. There is greater anonymity in large cities, as is often sought by mentally ill people. If living alone means that relationships are missing, then on the one hand this can favor certain illnesses, but on the other hand it is a symptom of depression when people withdraw.

It is also widely researched that loneliness has a negative impact on mental health. That is why stable and trusting social relationships are the best protection for mental and physical health.

Important for the future

Because loneliness is still associated with a great deal of shame, many lonely people do not seek help. Therefore, many lonely people never arrive in therapy. The topic should be made more popular in the future in order to raise people's awareness of their fellow human beings. This should show lonely people that their loneliness is not just their private problem. That is why it must be ensured that people can meet, talk to each other and exchange ideas.

Other illnesses that can occur due to loneliness

Medical practice has also reported in the past that loneliness has a worse impact on life expectancy than obesity. Furthermore, loneliness can often be a first indication of Alzheimer's disease. (fm)

Author and source information

Video: Can Loneliness Kill You? (October 2022).