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  • Obesity, drugs, and alcohol abuse are routinely named as the fastest and surest ways to an early grave.

  • Disease, accidents, drowning, and burning are also reasons our lives are cut short.

  • But what is the one other major factor determining what age you will die at?

  • One factor that trumps all of these?

  • Well, have you ever felt so alone that you could die?

  • Have you ever felt desperately in need of somebody to share your life?

  • Well if so, you're in the vast majority, as humans need, above and beyond everything else, other humans in order to have a happy and healthy life.

  • In today's episode of The Infographics Show, we answer the very tragic question, Can You Die of Loneliness?

  • Recent studies claimed that moderately drinking alcohol is not a death sentence, and that overeating, while dangerous, might not be the end of the world.

  • but the largest factor relating to an early death was, according to these studies, in fact, loneliness.

  • For the last ten years, researchers have been looking deeply into the health implications of loneliness and social isolation,

  • and the data is conclusive in that lonely people die earlier than non-lonely people, whether they smoke, drink, exercise or not.

  • Brigham Young University found that social isolation increases risk of death by up to 30%, while other studies place the risk as high as 60%.

  • Psychologically, loneliness is linked to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, schizophrenia, and dementia.

  • It is safe to say that not all lonely people are depressed or suicidal,

  • but it is also realistic to observe that of those who are suffering from psychological problems, that loneliness is part of the problem.

  • Loneliness can have practical and circumstantial effects that might lead to one's demise.

  • A lonely person may have a disease that would ordinarily be recognized if he or she were amongst a group of caring people.

  • Or maybe a sudden health event like a heart attack or a stroke may go unchecked, and nobody is there to rush the patient to a hospital.

  • Is this death caused by loneliness, or death caused by a symptom of loneliness?

  • Well, that's a good question.

  • Generally, good health and hygiene tend to be overlooked when one is living alone, advancing in age,

  • and, prone to forgetting to take their pills, elderly people may simply slide in deathly decline without realizing it.

  • Then factor in the chances of the house setting on fire and nobody being there to warn you.

  • We survive better, statistically, when we have people around us.

  • On a practical level, we have a better chance of surviving in groups, and that is why we are biologically predisposed to live as group animals.

  • Although we do have a carnivore's solitary hunter instinct, we are still largely bovine and herbivorous in our social behavior.

  • John Cacioppo, a social neuroscientist at the University of Chicago, once said,

  • For a social species, to be on the edge of the social perimeter is to be in a dangerous position,

  • the brain goes into a self-preservation state that brings with it a lot of unwanted effects.”

  • So according to science, yes loneliness is a very real threat, and it can kill you if you slip into a solitary world.

  • The type of relationship we have is of equal importance to whether we have social relationships at all.

  • It's not so much about how many people we socialize with but the sense of connection we feel with those people.

  • And relationships with the wrong types of people can lead to an early death.

  • We are statistically more likely to be murdered by somebody we know,

  • and so called enabling relationships such as co-dependent drug dependent relationships are worse for the individuals than had they not been together at all.

  • Some people who have been subjected to abusive relationships in childhood are hardwired to seek solitude, as for them, that was the coping strategy that kept them safe.

  • It is important that they break this way of thinking, as it will ultimately lead to them having a longer, healthier life.

  • But what about those who simply prefer isolation?

  • Those who are more comfortable and content being by themselves, who value solitude, and feel awkward in social settings?

  • Monks, holy men, Sages, Sadhus, all these figures throughout history have been known to acquire knowledge and wisdom through isolation, and why not?

  • Having our social minds constantly set toondoesn't give a chance for us to rest and replenish, so there is an argument for temporary isolation.

  • Solitude does help productivity and self-discovery, it also encourages deep thinking, and it helps people work through problems more effectively.

  • This is why great scientists like Einstein, artists such as Van Gogh, and religious leaders such as Buddha, spent a lot of time working out problems by themselves.

  • Ultimately, although it depends on the individual, sociability and interaction with other humans is fundamental to living a longer, fuller life.

  • And yes, loneliness can kill, you can die of it, and what's more, it is perhaps the world's biggest killer.

  • So, do you enjoy being alone?

  • Or do you feel like loneliness is killing you?

  • Let us know in the comments!

  • Also, be sure to check out our other video called What is the Deadliest Substance on Earth?!

  • Thanks for watching, and, as always, don't forget to like, share, and subscribe.

  • See you next time!

Obesity, drugs, and alcohol abuse are routinely named as the fastest and surest ways to an early grave.

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Can You Die of Loneliness?

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    Minnie posted on 2021/03/09
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