Psychologists have examined the impact of living alone on one’s mental health and well-being. Mood, anxiety, and drug abuse disorders are among the most common mental diseases (CMDs).
One in three persons will have a CMD at some point. It is not only the person affected by these situations but society.
According to the findings, living alone is associated with an increased risk of CMDs. Loneliness is the primary cause of depression in people of all ages and genders.
Living Alone and Mental Health
The risk of depression is higher among those who live alone than those with a romantic partner or friends. Those who live alone have a higher chance of developing a mood disorder than those in a committed relationship.
Additionally, a person’s age is a significant factor in their likelihood of being depressed due to their living setup. Senior citizens who live alone are twelve times more likely to develop depression than the elderly who live with family members.
Some studies also show that women who live alone are twice as likely to develop depression than those living with a partner. Interestingly, separated or divorced women are at a higher risk of developing depression than those in a relationship.
People who live alone for long periods, such as college students, single people, and business travelers, are at a greater risk of developing depression.
Living Alone and Mental Health Symptoms
Several factors are associated with living alone, affecting a person’s mental health.
Those who live alone tend to have lower-quality relationships with others. They do not have a partner to communicate with and share several common interests. Social isolation may develop feelings of loneliness, leading to anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.
With less social interaction, a person who lives alone cannot form relationships with neighbors and other community members. Studies show that older adults who live alone have a lower quality of life than seniors who live with others.
Living alone cannot control environmental factors, such as noise, lighting, and room temperature, significantly affecting their mental health.
Depression and Anxiety
Living alone is one of the most common causes of depression among older adults. Nearly 12 percent of people aged sixty years or older that live alone develop depression each year.
Living alone is also associated with other mental health disorders, including anxiety. Anxiety is a mental condition caused by stress, fear, and anxiety.
Connection with Drug Abuse
Drug abuse is another mental health problem associated with living alone. People who live on their own are at a higher risk of drug and alcohol abuse than those who live with a romantic partner, friend, or housemate.
Loneliness intensifies the effects of depression and anxiety and can even cause them in the first place. It can also lead to problems, such as difficulties socializing and having fewer relationships with others.
Feeling incredibly lonely can cause a person to be less satisfied with their relationships. Living alone increases the risk of nervousness, fearfulness, self-consciousness, and all-consuming neurotic fears.
The Risk of Suicide
The risk of suicide is much higher among those who live alone than those who live with others. According to a study conducted by researchers at Brigham Young University, the risk of suicide is around twenty-eight times higher among people who live alone.
With feelings of isolation, those who live alone may develop mental health problems such as depression, further developing into suicidal thoughts.
Planning Ahead and Prevention
Living alone doesn’t always have to be wrong because it can be a good thing too. It provides an individual with the freedom to choose their lifestyle and spend time embracing being alone. However, it can take a toll on someone’s mental health if they don’t know how to navigate their life independently.
Therefore, developing a close circle of friends and family is essential to help prevent loneliness and keep oneself from wallowing in negative thoughts and actions.
Living alone can cause mental health problems. Those who live alone are at a higher risk of developing depression, anxiety, and loneliness than others. Loneliness and living alone can be especially harmful to older adults.
Moreover, living alone can also lead to the development of drug abuse and suicide. While it may not be for everyone, it does provide some with the freedom to do what they want.
For those living alone and experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, it’s crucial to advise one’s primary care doctor or mental health professional regarding the situation.
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