Does Social Isolation Adversely Affect Health? Do you agree or disagree?
Society is the connection between people live together in communicates for love, friend and support. Many different relationships are part of social interaction such as family, neighbor, friends and work colleagues. However, some people lack of participation, activity and communication. That is a result of social isolation. The health problems of an elderly, adult and children who are socially isolated are increasing. Therefore, this essay will argue that socially isolated people will seriously suffer not only effect on physical, psychological but also behavioral health.
One of negative effects of social isolation on human being is a large number of diseases which are consequence of physical health problems. First of all, there is strong relationship between social isolation and cardiovascular problems. Many studies (cited in Yang et al. 2013) suggest that the huge number of people who lack of social support are increasing and can lead to the cause of coronary heart disease (CHD) and mortality from heart disease. Eaton et al. and Eng et al. (cited in Elder & Retrum, 2012) also found the lack of social interaction could lead to coronary disease. Furthermore, immune and cardiovascular systems (CVD) may be affected by chronic loneliness (Dawkes & Simpkin 2013). This means heart disease is one of consequence of social isolation. Secondly, social isolation is connection with risk of other diseases. According to House et al. (cited in Cacioppo & Louise, 2003), the seriously suffer from socially isolated people are increasing very fast of the population, especially older people, poor people and minorities such as African Americans. Cacioppo and Hawkley (2003) explain the relationship between social isolation and diseases. Elder and Retrum (2012) state that blood pressure was found to increase in people who socially isolated in study of Africa American and white older Americans.
In addition, the people who lack relationships are at risk of mortality (Dawkes & Simpkin 2013). Theeke (cited in Elder & Retrum, 2012) explains that in the research of loneliness in people aged 50 and older, the chronic loneliness was strong linked with huge numbers of chronic disease and higher depression score. The socially isolated people have a connection with health consequences such as diabetes, hypertension, arthritis and emphysema (Tomaka et al. cited in Elder & Retrum, 2012). This evidence shows that socially isolated people have strong connection with chronic disease. It is clear that people who are socially isolated or do not have quality social support, are at greater risk of developing coronary heart and chronic diseases.
Another serious effect on lack of relations and participation on human being is mental health. The first issue is about anxiety and irritability. According to Cacioppo and Hawkley (2003) and Yang et al. (2013), social isolation is produces of higher chronic disease, emotional effects and nervous system problems activation that have strong connected with stress. Moreover, the absence of social contacts and social participation can increase stress level and lead to difficult in sleep, negative impact on metabolic, neural and hormonal regulations (Dawkes & Simpkin 2013). This example shows that social isolation adversely affects nervous system which link to anxiousness and crossness.
The second issue is depression that is a part of mental disorder. According to Alpass and Neville (2010), lowered effect, decreased activity levels, withdrawals distressing thoughts and negative thinking about the past, present and future are consequences of depression which was found in socially isolated people. Elder and Retrum (2012) state that the connection between mental health and isolation is very close and it will lead to the feeling of loneliness and lack of belonging. As a result, people who are social isolation have a strong link to depression (Griffin The Lonely Society citied in Dawkes & Simpkin 2013). Ertel, Glymour and Berkmen (citied in Yang et al. 2013) also reports that the huge numbers of socially isolated people will be has a strong link with memory loss. That is, people who are lack of social interaction, especially elderly may lead to memory loss and depression. To sum up, it is clearly to see the serious effects and the connection between social isolation and mental health through to anxiousness and risk of suicide.
The last of serious suffer from health problem of society isolated people is behavioral. Firstly, the serious numbers of people who are social isolated are increasing drinking alcohol. According to Dawkes and Simpkin (2013), feeling of loneliness will be increasing self-destructive habits such as over-eating or increasing alcohol consumption. The survey of more than 2600
young adults and more study of 135 of these individuals state that people who socially isolated are drinking more alcohol compared with people who are social interactive (Cacioppo & Hawkley 2003). Then Smith and Christakis (citied in Yang et al. 2013) also report that alcohol consumption, diet, weight control and exercise are example of interpersonal health effects. This means the proportion of people who feel loneliness will drink more alcohol than others will. Secondly, the large of socially isolated people are using tobacco. It is clear that the result of cigarette smoking habit is increasing the risk for chronic inflammation of lung (Yang and Kozlozski cited in Yang et al. 2013). Cacioppo et al. (cited in Cacioppo & Hawkley 2003) state that in the research of older adults in Chicago showed that the large numbers of tobacco use everyday which lead to unhealthiness of socially isolated people. This example shows that increasing smoking with people who lack of social contacts and social participation leads to unhealthy. In brief, behavioral health such as drinking or smoking has serious effect to health.
In conclusion, the absence of social contacts and social participation has serious effect to people health. Social isolation may affect health through biological processes associated with the development of cardiovascular disease and other diseases. Loneliness appears always to be a response to the absence of some particular type of relationship. Therefore, people who lack social interaction often have a feeling of loneliness, which leads to mental health effect or, more accurately, which further results in anxiety, irritability, and depression. Similarly, social isolation may affect health independently through their effects on health behaviors which are a result of increasing drinking alcohol and smoking. Therefore, these many aspects of social isolation need to be addressed by family member or society to reduce socially isolated people.
Words count: 1057
Alpass, FM & Neville, S 2010, ‘Loneliness health and depression in older
males’, Aging & mental Health, vol.7, no.3, pp. 212-216.
Cacioppo, JT & Hawkley, LC 2003, ‘Perpective in biology and medicine’, John Hopkins University Press, vol. 46, no. 3, pp. S39-S52.
Dawkes, A & Simpkin, S 2013, ‘Lonelines and social isolation’, A special JSNA topic paper, Essex County Council.
Elder, K & Retrum, J 2012, Framework for Isolation in Adults Over 50, AARP Foundation, view 19 August 2013, .
Yang, YC, McClintock, MK, Kozloski, M & Li, T 2013, ‘Social isolation and adult mortality: the role of chronic inflammation and sex differences’, Journal of Health and Social behavior, vol. 54, no. 2, pp. 184-203.