A study found solitary adults report much more severe symptoms when they came down with a bout of illness. Researchers claim lonely people feel worse physically and mentally. And it increases the risk of dying young by 26 per cent – a similar effect as obesity.
In a bid to test the impact of our emotions on how we cope with sickness, scientists infected 160 adults with a cold. They were then isolated for five days in hotel rooms. Scientists participants who claimed they were lonely also reported feeling the most unwell. It concluded: “Put simply, lonelier people feel worse when they are sick than less lonely people.”
Researcher Angie LeRoy, from by Rice University in Texas, said: “Loneliness puts people at risk for premature mortality and all kinds of other physical illnesses. “But nothing had been done to look at an acute but temporary illness that we’re all vulnerable to, like the common cold.” The study, published in the journal Health Psychology, found lonely adults were no more likely to catch a cold. But if they did fall ill, they felt worse. (*Source: The Sun 30th March 2017)
Experts said GPs should factor in a patient’s social circumstances when treating them. Fellow researcher Dr. Chris Fagundes said: “Doctors should take psychological factors into account at intake on a regular basis. “It would definitely help them understand the phenomenon when the person comes in sick.” Four in 10 elderly people claim they sometimes spend a day without speaking to anyone. Experts warn loneliness is as bad for health as a 15-a-day smoking habit.