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Social Partnership Counseling: Being Alone is a Health Risk

Recent studies have indicated that next to genetic factors given to us in our bodies, the level of our social interactions are the greatest predictor of our long-term health and happiness.

American are increasingly alone and lonely and this has wellness and mental health risks. 

A groundbreaking study in the July 2012 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine found that 43 percent of older adult participants reported feelings of loneliness. That study further indicated that people 60 years and older who reported struggling with loneliness faced an increased risk of mortality compared with participants who do not report being lonely (22.8 percent versus 14.2 percent).

A research perspective published in the Oxford Research Encyclopedias in 2017 by a behavioral medicine researcher at St. George’s, University of London, concluded that people who feel lonely are more likely to suffer from coronary artery disease, declines in motor function, frailty, and other physical and cognitive function conditions.

Writing in the Harvard Business Review in 2017 on work and loneliness, physician and former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy noted, “During my years caring for patients, the most common pathology I saw was not heart disease or diabetes; it was loneliness.” Noting that rates of loneliness in the United States have doubled since the 1980s, Murthy called the condition “a growing health epidemic” and pointed to research showing that “loneliness and weak social connections are associated with a reduction in lifespan similar to that caused by smoking 15 cigarettes a day and even greater than that associated with obesity.”

If you’re alone, lonely or not connected and as these issues contribute to some mental health issues tied to anxiety, depression, grief, or loss, we can partner together to shift your future.

Psychotherapists have many interventions designed to assist with the disruption of being alone, including: Improving social skills Enhancing social support, Increasing opportunities for social interaction, and working for Shifts in maladaptive thinking. 

Let’s partner together toward your better partnered social connections.