Loneliness has long been on the rise in the US and COVID-19 is only making it worse.

A recent study shows a concerning rise in loneliness across the US. According to this latest research, more than three in five Americans report feelings of loneliness. The report, which has been collecting data since 2018, shows that loneliness is consistently increasing across the US and is worse among younger generations. Those facing chronic loneliness may report struggles with connecting with others at a deeper level, feelings of isolation even at social events, feelings of self-doubt, and lack of close relationships.

How does loneliness affect health?

Loneliness has direct implications on both mental and physical health. The mental health consequences of loneliness can include symptoms such as depression, suicidal thoughts, stress, and anxiety. Less intuitively, long-term loneliness can also lead to physical and behavioral issues including cardiovascular disease, stroke, alcoholism, drug use, and antisocial behavior.

Take steps to prevent loneliness

With COVID-19 dramatically affecting the day-to-day social interactions of most Americans, loneliness is certain to be taking more of a toll as well. If you are among the many susceptible to loneliness (or you know someone who is) it’s important to take steps to protect your well-being. Recognizing loneliness is the first step. Stepping outside your comfort zone and changing your routine can be difficult but is critical for long term health and well-being. While COVID-19 has made social interaction more difficult, trying new outdoor and social-distanced activities, as well as phone and video calls, can be effective ways of combating loneliness. Paying extra attention to self-care is also important, including getting plenty of sleep, exercising, and maintaining a healthy diet. If you are experiencing challenges related to loneliness, please reach out to us at Unger Primary Care. We are always here to help.