Strengthening social relationships improves health and quality of life

Miami.- The latest research shows that loneliness and social isolation affect a significant percentage of the population, becoming a health threat, which is why experts recommend paying attention to this condition.

Even the World Health Organization (WHO) established norms to combat this phenomenon With the creation of the Commission on Social Relations, which seeks to promote social relations as a priority and accelerate the elaboration of solutions on this issue in countries regardless of their income levels.

“When a person has feelings of loneliness, they may have difficulty doing things on their own and this may lead to aggressive or withdrawn behavior. It has also been proven that these emotions can negatively affect self-esteem, mood and the desire to interact with the environment,” said Venezuelan psychologist Hilary Torres. Diario Las Americas,

stress hormones

In Torres’ opinion, many times these cases are caused by a hormone called cortisol, better known as stress hormonesWhich can cause various effects on the body such as increasing blood pressure, causing insomnia and increasing symptoms of depression.

The latest national survey of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) states that 30% of adults experience feelings of loneliness at least once a week, as published in Diario Las Americas.

A more recent study from the University of Glasgow, published in the journal BMC Medicine, showed that people who did not see friends or family at least once a month had a 39% higher risk of premature death. The research analyzed data from almost 460,000 people aged 40 to 70 registered with the UK Biobank over a follow-up period of 12.6 years.

“What is really serious and associated with a greater risk of mortality is objectively being alone and isolated.”One of the authors, Jason Gill, professor of cardiology at the University of Glasgow, explained when presenting the research.

Company and Support

Hilary Torres explains that support and company are fundamental pillars of people’s well-being Especially when it comes to older adults. This is why they should, for example, be encouraged to take daily exercise as it has many benefits for physical and mental health “as long as these are clearly appropriate for their age and physical condition.” He said, a simple walk can be very beneficial for your health.

It is important to be present when other people want to talk and actively listen to them, showing interest and empathy towards their concerns, joys and needs. “Currently we can use technology to make video calls and stay in touch and ensure that the person does not feel alone,” the expert said with a clinical mention.

In May 2023, Surgeon General of the United States Vivek Murthy, MD, MBA, called loneliness a public health epidemic. Lack of emotional connections is closely linked to problems such as anxiety, depression and “a 30% increase in the risk of cardiovascular diseases”, WHO stressed.

For expert Torres, the feeling of loneliness is not necessarily linked to the lack of physical contact.“We can also have company and feel lonely, this is because loneliness is a mental state just like anxiety. This mental state is associated with feelings of sadness and insecurity, which can lead to lack of attention, “not feeling important.” Or “can be caused by. Even the loss of a loved one, whether due to death or a breakup.”

social disconnection

The psychology expert said, “Holding on to this feeling for a long time can have negative consequences on our mental health, which can damage our self-esteem and lead us into a vicious cycle, resulting in depression. “

Social isolation can also lead to poor educational outcomes: Youth who feel lonely in high school are more likely to drop out of college. It can also worsen the financial situation of those affected: feeling isolated and unsupported at work can lead to reduced job satisfaction and performance, said the international health body, WHO.

For Dr. Hilary Torres “it is important to know what meaning is given to loneliness.” Since it can have different meanings and is not always negative. In fact, it can be positive if it is accompanied by good self-esteem and attitude. Support from family members is extremely important for the elderly. When faced with physical affection and sympathy, people’s quality of life will improve. “Time-to-time meetings, family visits, phone calls, etc. are necessary.”

yojeda@diariolasamericas.com

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waterfall: American Psychiatric Association / Telesoldiero / BMCMedicine /Interview with psychologist Hilary Torres

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