Although people are more connected than ever before, it's been said that loneliness has become an "epidemic" in America today. That can be a major problem because feelings of loneliness are associated with various health issues such as chronic stress, poor mental health, less socialization, a sedentary lifestyle, and less emotional and social support, Jagdish Khubchandani, MD, associate professor of community health at Ball State University, tells Bustle. According to research, there are some physical signs of loneliness that you may not even be aware of.
"Loneliness takes an extreme toll on us given that humans are social beings by nature," Kelsey M. Latimer, PhD, founder of Hello Goodlife, tells Bustle. "I think it's critical that we understand that emotional challenges can come out physically in addition to emotional or psychological symptoms. Frequently, loneliness is a sign of depression and therefore many of the signs will be similar to it."
For instance, when someone is dealing with loneliness, they may isolate themselves and will give up on going out or attempting to find friends. They may experience symptoms of panic, have a disheveled appearance in comparison to before the loneliness, and have changes in their food intake.
"While no study examines the direct relationship between loneliness and effect on health, there are indirect assessments and pathways," Dr. Khubchandani says. "There is a complex interplay of these factors that may impact one's overall physical health." So here are some surprising physical signs of loneliness, according to science.