I read an article about how loneliness kills and I’d wanted to write a post about this as I’ve experienced much personal loss myself and was intrigued by the current studies … rather than restate what I read I’ve copied some of the article. . .  the affliction is incredibly painful, people don’t like to think about it; it’s one of those ailments considered self-induced and therefore not worth talking about.

Never mind that almost all illness can be considered self-induced (especially if you talk to enough different healing practitioners or researchers) or a result of genetic tendencies or childhood experiences; loneliness has no medical cure, nothing in a bottle at least till now.

Judith Shulevitz, writes in the New Republic:  Just as we once knew that infectious diseases killed, but didn’t know that germs spread them, we’ve known intuitively that loneliness hastens death, but haven’t been able to explain how. Psychobiologists can now show that loneliness sends misleading hormonal signals, rejiggers the molecules on genes that govern behavior, and wrenches a slew of other systems out of whack. They have proved that long-lasting loneliness not only makes you sick; it can kill you. Emotional isolation is ranked as high a risk factor for mortality as smoking. A partial list of the physical diseases thought to be caused or exacerbated by loneliness would include Alzheimer’s, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and even cancer—tumors can metastasize faster in lonely people.

. . .  Loneliness, she said is the want of intimacy.. .
. . .  Loneliness “is not synonymous with being alone, nor does being with others guarantee protection from feelings of loneliness,” writes John Cacioppo, the leading psychologist on the subject. . . . The lonely get sicker than the non-lonely because they don’t have social support.

Psychobiologists can now show that loneliness sends misleading hormonal signals, rejiggers the molecules on genes that govern behavior, and wrenches a slew of other systems out of whack. They have proved that long-lasting loneliness not only makes you sick; it can kill you. Emotional isolation is ranked as high a risk factor for mortality as smoking. A partial list of the physical diseases thought to be caused or exacerbated by loneliness would include Alzheimer’s, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and even cancer—tumors can metastasize faster in lonely people.

In a survey published by the AARP in 2010, slightly more than one out of three adults 45 and over reported being chronically lonely. A decade earlier, only one out of five said that. With baby-boomers reaching retirement age at a rate of 10,000 a day, the number of lonely Americans will surely spike.

Loneliness is made as well as given, and at a very early age. Deprive us of the attention of a loving, reliable parent, and, if nothing happens to make up for that lack, we’ll tend toward loneliness for the rest of our lives. Not only that, but our loneliness will probably make us moody, self-doubting, angry, pessimistic, shy, and hypersensitive to criticism.

Cole can imagine giving people medications to treat loneliness . . .  These could be betablockers, which reduce the physical effects of stress; anti-inflammatory medicine; or even Tylenol.  Since physical and emotional pain overlap, it turns out that Tylenol can reduce the pain of heartbreak.

” Boomers, who grew up using drugs recreationally, have become a generation that lives almost full time in the Valley of the Dolls: bombarded by direct-to-consumer ads, they are happy to self-medicate, and their cost-conscious H.M.O.’s are happy to substitute antidepressants for expensive talk therapy, prescriptions for repeated doctor visits.

. . . drug use has soared. Americans routinely take pills for high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and they also routinely take pills to sleep, pills to focus, pills to chill and pills to perk up, pills for more sex and pills for less stress. Mr. Critser notes that “the average number of prescriptions per person, annually, in 1993 was seven,” but had risen to 11. . . .

So what’s the issue? I notice Tylenol (amphetamine) has emphasized the risk overdosing on their labels…. isn’t it isolation that creates loneliness!  There’s a lot of talk about depression, its also chronic and widespread yet it’s become almost fashionable to be depressed and taking a designer pill to improve mood or some other home-brewed concoction gambling, sex, fast cars, …  you get the idea. Loneliness has not been shown to be improved by antidepressants or the pursuit of thrills. Loneliness is not helped by talking about it either as what happens is stigmatization as if the lonely must be flawed and incapable of social functions, the blame is put on the one who suffers, sometimes with pity but oftentimes with a little sigh of relief that it’s not you…  at least not yet.   Now, didn’t they used to do this with “women’s troubles”….  hysterical, they called it, it’s not real it’s imaginary. Why this pressing need to deny the basic foundations of modern lifestyle?

Isolation causes loneliness; living alone after loved ones have died or left, no children maybe at all, or none nearby or maybe estranged, no family or families that disconnect, married couples that divorce, long time friends that drop away,  compound with encroaching years illness, death, loss of memories, neighbors that don’t like each other or maybe don’t even know each other . . . the days of an open door, borrowing a cup of sugar, stopping by to watch a movie or play a game of cards is rapidly being eradicated from many people’s lives.  In many communities companionship still exists, however in many more it’s rapidly disappearing.

So, no problem now there’s a pill…  good old Tyneol to the rescue! But really!!!! Is the cure, then for loneliness a pill?  What about another PERSON???? Companionship, an intimate caring and inclusion, a wanting to know and be known, a friendly hug, a hand to hold, reaching out and being joyful in doing so. . . .  No?

Okay, then I say we put a person in a bottle and label it,”take one pill once a day or as needed” Problem solved.

Lois Mahalia- Original “GoodBye”

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