A new study suggests that suffering from loneliness is common for young adults between the ages of 18-24. Even young and active adults can feel isolated.
Data from 1200 participants revealed that at least 20% felt “left out,” lonely or isolated at times and provided low ratings for mental and physical health.
Loneliness was more commonly reported in adults younger than 25 with 30%, where only 11% of adults 65 and older reported similar feelings.
The “Loneliness Epidemic” has been highlighted by many studies and supported by numerous researchers. “Last year, a study of more than 20,000 U.S. adults found that nearly half felt lonely at least sometimes. And only 53 percent said they had meaningful face-to-face interactions everyday.”
Researchers believe this is no longer just a social issue and should be considered a public health issue. Chronic loneliness is linked to an increased risk of hyptertension, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and other mental health issues.
“It’s possible the relationship goes in “both directions” — with loneliness and health issues feeding each other.”
The lead researcher on the study, Dr. Rebecca Mullen, talks about the difference between being lonely and having “alone time.” Alone time in many cases can be healthy and many people are happy to be alone.
“Subjective loneliness is different. It makes people feel bad. And, Maddux said, that can come with a “whole package” of issues, like poor diet, poor sleep and time spent on the couch instead of being physically active.”
Maddux dives into theories as to why a typically socially active group, ages 18 – 24, would be suffering from loneliness. In the age of smartphones, Maddux believes this may be robbing young people of face to face interactions. A number of studies support this theory stating that screen time is directly correlated with depression and loneliness.
“Young people, she added, may have a harder time keeping those social media experiences in perspective — and understanding that when other people post, they are probably trying to present their lives in the shiniest terms possible.”
It is important to address your own feelings of loneliness, but also recognize the signs in others. It is easy for someone to isolate themselves. Maddux hopes to destigmatize the issue in order to shed some light on the importance of mental health and community.
To learn more: 1 in 3 Young Adults Suffers From Loneliness in the U.S. – HealthyDay
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