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Loneliness unhealthy as smoking and alcoholism, new study says

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Courtesy Flush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 10:03 AM
Original message
Loneliness unhealthy as smoking and alcoholism, new study says

A recent scientific review, involving more than 300,000 people across several previous studies, has revealed that inadequate social networking and frequent isolation can have negative effects on a person's health equal to that caused by smoking and alcohol abuse. It was found that those who experience sufficient social interactions were 50 per cent more likely to be alive when re-examined eight years later than those who were more socially isolated.



http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Loneliness_unhealthy_as_smo...
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AngryAmish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 10:04 AM
Response to Original message
1. I'm not lonely. Now I can drink and smoke as much as I want!
I win.
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ThomWV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-02-10 07:51 AM
Response to Reply #1
34. May I recommend a crowded smoke-filled bar? Those are always fun places.
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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 10:05 AM
Response to Original message
2. Wonder if the internet helps
It's sort of social, better than nothing, anyway. I can remember some times back in the 70s or 80s when it would have helped!
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 11:45 AM
Response to Reply #2
12. It's all that many of us have
if you work from home and you work long hours, or you're disabled, the internet may be it. And yes, I think it would have helped in the 70's and 80's as well.
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ThomWV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-02-10 07:52 AM
Response to Reply #12
35. that, a six-pack of Bud and a pack of Camels, is apparently all you need to break even.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 10:14 AM
Response to Original message
3. Insufficient data
25% of the human population can be classified as introverted. For this study, this very basic difference in personality type really should have been included as a significant variable.

Extreme introverts are the occasional recluses we hear about, people who can live to a very ripe old age in complete social isolation, avoiding any human contact at all.

I can see how a lack of social contact would be fatal to an extrovert. Being alone is absolutely essential to introverts and rarely results in loneliness. Introverts need alone time to recharge their batteries.

(I'm thinking of my great great grandfather, a prodigious drinker and mean drunk as well as extreme introvert. He repaired to a shack out in the woods and whatever kid was in the doghouse was charged with dumping a sack of food on his porch every week and running like hell in case he was drunk. He lived to the age of 109 with decades of avoiding human contact)
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Courtesy Flush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 10:37 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. Yes and no
By DSM IV standards, you could say I have a mild case of avoidant personality disorder. Nothing extreme, but I keep to myself.

When my wife is home (which is all the time), I'm most likely to be found in another room from where she is, usually at the computer. I'm alone in my room, but I'm not lonely, since she's in the house. Even without interacting with her, I feel much better knowing she's here.

That's why the article caught my eye. My wife is terminally ill, and she's all I have.
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zazen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 11:22 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. k&r--and so sorry about Mrs. CF :-(
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 11:30 AM
Response to Reply #5
9. .
:hug:
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 11:37 AM
Response to Reply #5
11. I think pets can fill that sort of void for a lot of people,
especially introverts. Cats are especially good since they make so few demands beyond food, water, a reasonably clean litter box, and the occasional pat.

I know what you're facing since I'm completely out of family except for cousins I either haven't seen for many years or haven't met, at all. I do correspond with a few of them, but that's it.

I'm one of the introverts. I can be sociable when the occasion calls for it, but I find the more people I have to be sociable with, the more draining it is and the more alone time I need to recharge my batteries.

Had the study considered the two very basic personality types, I think the conclusion would have been far different for each.
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badgerpup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 02:18 PM
Response to Reply #11
27. Hear you loud and clear...
True unadulterated loneliness can make you feel as though you are collapsing from the inside.
Cats help prevent this collapse with their undemanding, honest and not overwhelming affection.

People can be wonderful, but they can also be so draining for some of us...even the ones we love...
and we ARE capable of loving.

I'm described as 'kind', 'nice', and 'generous to a fault' by those who know me...but I can't deal with a lot of one-on-one (or many) for a prolonged period.

I like to think that after I die and I'm asked what I've accomplished I can place a small pearl on the table and say "This. It is power to carry crushing loneliness with grace and generousity."
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phasma ex machina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 12:33 PM
Response to Reply #5
17. Probably describes many of us on this board. IMHO extroverts may prefer Facebooking.
:hug:

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flamingdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #17
24. I think you're on to something! FB people are a bit showoffy nt
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 11:30 AM
Response to Reply #3
8. I see it as loneliness is a state of mind where alcoholism and smoking are physical...
however indeed state of mind can have a huge physical component, the alcoholism and smoking are "just" physical. If you do not drink (whether alcoholic or not) you do not have the physical component. Same with smoking. Loneliness depends on the person as someone can be not-lonely with only a few friends, where the next person is lonely unless they have a group around them all the time.

I hope that makes sense, am not expressing it very coherently.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 11:59 AM
Response to Reply #8
15. It makes sense but that state of mind is affected profoundly
by the basic personality type, whether one is an introvert or extrovert.

That's why I don't think this study holds up. Had they considered this extremely important variable, it might have been worthwhile.
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Nay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 07:20 PM
Response to Reply #15
29. I have to agree there, Warpy. As a confirmed introvert myself, I wish
a study could be done on introverts, seeing whether our teeth grinding habits, upset stomachs, general feelings of malaise are caused by too damn much exposure to other people.

Extroverts ARE going to be mentally affected by the lack of social contact, but if I can be used as an introvert example -- heck, I can go for months without anything but very fleeting human contact, and, in fact, I think the reason I take Nexium is BECAUSE I have too many people in my face every day. So if we're a quarter of the population, study us and see how better we fare with less contact.

Secondly, I think lots of extroverts are being affected not by loneliness (most of them see gobs of people every day at work) but by too much contact with the wrong type of people. Have any studies been done on that?
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-02-10 11:14 AM
Response to Reply #29
38. Right.
People can be lonely in a crowd. It is not so much an introvert-extrovert issue in these cases, as it is the quality of relationships with others. Loneliness has too many factors to be covered in any single study, though the one per the OP has value.
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-02-10 11:11 AM
Response to Reply #3
37. Interesting point.
Being an introvert can indeed be a factor. It is not the only factor, of course. Many introverts do not experience loneliness at a harmful level, while many extroverts do.
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shanti Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-02-10 11:23 AM
Response to Reply #3
39. 109
and an alcoholic? wow, that is very rare to live that long.

i think introversion runs in families. several of my family members are like that (as i am). you are correct about needing solitude to recharge one's batteries. extroverts are just the opposite. they need social time to recharge, and think that introverts are weird.
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 10:25 AM
Response to Original message
4. Kicked and the counter stayed at 'Zero.'
Gee. The OP's only trying to help the members of the cowardly unrec crew.

Thank you for the heads-up on the research, Courtesy Flush. Old people like me really appreciate friends and family.
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NNN0LHI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 10:41 AM
Response to Original message
6. Only time I drink is when I am alone or with someone
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Fuzz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 11:34 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. I only drink and smoke when I'm awake.
Edited on Sun Aug-01-10 11:34 AM by Fuzz
The upside is, I sleep 14 hours a day.

;)
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NNN0LHI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-02-10 11:07 AM
Response to Reply #10
36. Which got me thinking. I have been really worried about my puddy cat sleeping too much
Back when he was a young puddy he would only sleep 16 hours a day. Now that he has gotten older he has been sleeping 16 and a half hours a day.

Think I should be concerned? Get him to the vet or something?

Cheers ...

Don
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dmallind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 11:51 AM
Response to Original message
13. If that's the title of the article it's laghable and has no credibility from the start.
By assuming that smoking and alcohol are equally harmful in the first place.

21% smoke, 435000 die a year
66% drink, 100000 die a year.

How many are lonely and how many die from it?
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AlabamaLibrul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 11:52 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. Indeed, the only possible effect of loneliness is on mental health,
and I don't know of any study stating that loneliness causes mental illness, rather that loneliness is an effect of many mental illnesses.
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #14
20. Social isolation does indeed cause mental illness
I have seven psychologists in my family and they see the effects on a daily basis.
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dmallind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-02-10 07:45 AM
Response to Reply #14
32. I think all replies are missing my main point - tobacco and alcohol are not equal to each other
The question about loneliness wqas exactly that - a question. The point is saying something is as deadly as tobacco and alcohol is like saying something is as deadly as amateur motorcycle racing and stamp collecting.
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #13
18. Check the suicide stats
loneliness can also cause stress, which in turn can cause adrenal failure and heart disease. Read the works of Dr. John Sarno for more on this topic.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 01:05 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. Isolated people also don't have social support -- like that elderly gay couple
who was separated by the f#cking county up in Sonoma when one of them fell. If they had a network, maybe they wouldn't have been separated or turned out of their own home.
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seattleblue Donating Member (437 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 01:18 PM
Response to Reply #13
25. You are assuming loneliness has nothing to do with drinking or smoking
Also you are assuming drinking and smoking are completely separate in terms of causes of death. And you buy into the nice round numbers epidemiologists provide for the number of deaths allegedly from "drinking" and "smoking". I think all of it is BS. It used to be that when someone dies at a certain age doctors would give "natural causes" or "old age" as a cause of death. Now if someone either drinks or smokes that gets put down as the cause of death when it could be any number of causes.
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dmallind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-02-10 07:48 AM
Response to Reply #25
33. You have a very ,limited and false idea of these data it seems
It's certainly NOT that a doctor puts down "smoking" as the cause of death if a dead person smoked. It is instead based on the statistical difference in deaths between smokers and non-smokers from a variety of coauses applied to the overall number of deaths from that cause. It is in fact the exact opposite of your characterization.
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seattleblue Donating Member (437 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-02-10 12:32 PM
Response to Reply #33
41. I suspect I have worked with this data far more than you
but you will believe what you want if that helps you.
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dmallind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-02-10 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #41
42. I suspect otherwise, but be as contentious as you like. Just back it up next time. NT
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seattleblue Donating Member (437 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-02-10 02:49 PM
Response to Reply #42
43. As should you. And please continue to be as contentious as you were in your first post.
Edited on Mon Aug-02-10 02:50 PM by seattleblue
You obviously don't know where the "deaths" that are used in the statistical difference come from
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dmallind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-02-10 03:07 PM
Response to Reply #43
44. Your claim is utterly false on its face
You said any smoker who dies is now listed as a smoking death.

I know fuill well where they come from and said so. It is based on observable differences in death rates betwen smokeres and non-smokers from specific causes. The difference being, obviously the deaths caused by smoking. Where am I wrong compared to your utterly laughable claim?

Here's my cite http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00021441.htm now give me an equally compelling one saying all smokers' deaths are listed as being caused by smoking or admit you were either lying or uninformed.

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Curmudgeoness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 07:31 PM
Response to Reply #13
30. It is easy to determine whether someone who dies was a smoker
or a drinker. Not so easy to determine if they were "lonely". So statistics would be a lot harder to get. Loneliness causes several other health related problems, which cause death. It is the same as stress, overwork, etc. It is a mental issue, but can effect many other systems in your body.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 12:24 PM
Response to Original message
16. I'm screwed!
:(
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #16
22. No, you're not! You here with us!
lol
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 01:25 PM
Response to Reply #22
26. LOL, good point!
:)
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Desertrose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 01:03 PM
Response to Original message
19. Theere is lonely and then there is being alone....
two different things.
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Jennicut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 01:09 PM
Response to Original message
23. Then there is people who wish they could get a second to themselves.
If you have young children, your personal space is no longer your own! That's okay, I like having them around.
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shanti Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-02-10 11:30 AM
Response to Reply #23
40. or adult children!
i have two boomerang kids living with me in a small house (out by the end of august, TG) for the past 4 months, and as an introvert, i'm REALLY feeling that need for personal space!
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Jennicut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-02-10 03:28 PM
Response to Reply #40
45. LOL! I lived at home until I was 24, saving some money.
I can imagine more adults living at home due to the economy.

My kids don't give me a moment to myself very often...they are 5 and 6. But they will be grown up before I know it so I try to enjoy my time with them.
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MilesColtrane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 02:23 PM
Response to Original message
28. A good part of this may have to do with the fact that there is no one around to...
Edited on Sun Aug-01-10 02:24 PM by MilesColtrane
say, "Hey, you've got this thing on your back that needs to be checked out.", or "You're really starting to blimp out. Lay off the pork rinds."

Sometimes those around you are more likely to see a display of symptoms than you are.

And, if you're a guy who's reluctant to go to the doctor (like me), it's nice to have someone around you to nag you to get it done.
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surrealAmerican Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 08:50 PM
Response to Original message
31. Did they rely on the test subjects to define ...
Edited on Sun Aug-01-10 08:50 PM by surrealAmerican
... just how much social interaction is sufficient, or have they come up with some sort of standard they are applying to everyone?

As other posters have noted, different people require different amounts of interaction.
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mdmc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-05-10 09:11 PM
Response to Original message
46. ..
kit
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