1.a state of gloomy sorrow
2.a disposition toward being alone
3.sadness resulting from being forsaken or abandoned
4.the state of being alone in solitary isolation
1.(MeSH)The state of feeling sad or dejected as a result of lack of companionship or being separated from others.
LonelinessLone"li*ness (?), n.
1. The condition of being lonely; solitude; seclusion.
2. The state of being unfrequented by human beings; as, the loneliness of a road.
3. Love of retirement; disposition to solitude.
The mystery of your loneliness. Shak.
4. A feeling of depression resulting from being alone.
Syn. -- Solitude; seclusion. See Solitude.
(Loneliness Made Me Realize) It's You That I Need • 4 Seasons of Loneliness • A Saucer of Loneliness • Age of Loneliness • Bad Fog of Loneliness • Eleven Kinds of Loneliness • Eleven Kinds of Loneliness (album) • Epistemic loneliness • Good-bye My Loneliness (album) • Killing Loneliness • Loneliness (song) • Loneliness Is Bliss • Loneliness Knows My Name • Loneliness Shines • Loneliness in America • Love Steals Us from Loneliness • Perfecting Loneliness • Please Help the Cause Against Loneliness • The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner • The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (disambiguation) • The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (film) • The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (song) • The Loneliness of the Long Distance Walker • The Long Loneliness • The Well Of Loneliness • The Well of Loneliness • The Well of Loneliness (song)
Harassment, Nonsexual, Harassment, Non-Sexual, Nonsexual Harassment, Non-Sexual Harassment, Social Behavior - General Social Development and Population, Sociology - Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms[Hyper.]
Loneliness (n.) [MeSH]
solitariness; desolation; loneliness; solitude[ClasseHyper.]
douleur psychologique (fr)[Classe]
qui a des remords (fr)[Classe]
qualificatif du jeu musical (fr)[DomainJugement]
qualificatif du regard (fr)[DomainJugement]
grieve, mourn, sorrow - dejection, dreariness, gloominess, inhospitality, loneliness, mournfulness, ruthfulness, sadness, sorrowfulness - sadness, sorrow, sorrowfulness - dolefully, piteously, plaintively, sorrowfully - sorrowfully[Dérivé]
distressed, dysphoric, unhappy - unhappy - sad, sorrowful - abandonment, defection, desertion - forsaking, giving up - desolation, forlornness, loneliness - defector, deserter, runaway, turncoat - apostate, deserter, ratter, recreant, renegade, turncoat[Dérivé]
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Loneliness is an unpleasant feeling in which a person feels a strong sense of emptiness, yearning distress and solitude resulting from inadequate quantity or quality of social relationships. Loneliness is a natural phenomenon, since humans are social creatures by nature. Loneliness has also been described as social pain — a psychological mechanism meant to alert an individual of isolation and motivate her/him to seek social connections.
People can experience loneliness for many reasons and many life events are associated with it, like the lack of friendship relations during childhood and adolescence, or the physical absence of meaningful people around a person are a few causes for loneliness. At the same time, loneliness may be a symptom of another social or psychological problem, such as chronic depression.
Many people experience loneliness for the first time when they are left alone as infants. It is also a very common, though normally temporary, consequence of a breakup, divorce, or loss of any important long-term relationship. In these cases, it may stem both from the loss of a specific person and from the withdrawal from social circles caused by the event or the associated sadness.
The loss of a significant person in one's life will typically initiate a grief response; in this situation, one might feel lonely, even while in the company of others. Loneliness may also occur after the birth of a child (often expressed in postpartum depression), after marriage, or following any other socially disruptive event, such as moving from one's home town into an unfamiliar community leading to homesickness. Loneliness can occur within unstable marriages or other close relationships in a similar nature, in which feelings present may include anger or resentment, or in which the feeling of love cannot be given or received. Loneliness may represent a dysfunction of communication, and can also result from places with low population densities in which there are comparatively few people to interact with. Loneliness can also be seen as a social phenomenon, capable of spreading like a disease. Learning to cope with changes in life patterns is essential in overcoming loneliness.
A twin study found evidence that genetics account for approximately half of the measurable differences in loneliness among adults, which was similar to the heritability estimates found previously in children. These genes operate in a similar manner in males and females. The study found no common environmental contributions to adult loneliness.
Enforced loneliness has been a punishment method throughout history.
One of the most popular typologies of loneliness was developed by Robert S. Weiss. He categorized loneliness into two types: Loneliness of Emotional Isolation (also known as emotional loneliness) and Loneliness of Social Isolation (also known as social loneliness).
Emotional loneliness is derived from attachment theory. Part of attachment theory looks at the relationship between parents/caregivers and children. When securely attached children are separated from their parents, they exhibit separation distress such as crying, attempts to search for parents, inhibited behavior. Adults get attached to romantic partners and show separation distress when separated from their partners. Weiss defined emotional loneliness as "separation distress without an object". This means that emotional loneliness is caused by the lack of a romantic partner, and feels like the separation distress one feels when a romantic partner is missing.
Social loneliness, on the other hand, is the loneliness people experience because of the lack of a wider social network. They do not feel they are members of a community, or that they have friends or allies whom they can rely on in times of distress.
The other important typology of loneliness focuses on the time perspective. In this respect, loneliness can be viewed as either transient or chronic. It has also been referred to as state and trait loneliness.
Transient (state) loneliness is temporary in nature, caused by something in the environment, and is easily relieved. Chronic (trait) loneliness is more permanent, caused by the person, and is not easily relieved. For example, when a person is sick and cannot socialize with friends would be a case of transient loneliness. Once the person got better it would be easy for them to alleviate their loneliness. A person who feels lonely regardless of if (s)he is at a family gathering, with friends, or alone is experiencing chronic loneliness. It does not matter what goes on in the surrounding environment, the experience of loneliness is always there.
One way of thinking about loneliness is as a discrepancy between one's desired and achieved levels of social interaction, while solitude is simply the lack of contact with people. Loneliness is therefore a subjective experience; if a person thinks they are lonely, then they are lonely. People can be lonely while in solitude, or in the middle of a crowd. What makes a person lonely is the fact that they want more social interaction than what is currently available. A person can be in the middle of a party and feel lonely due to not talking to enough people. Conversely, one can be alone and not feel lonely; even though there is no one around that person is not lonely because there is no desire for social interaction. There have also been suggestions that each person has their own sweet spot of social interaction. If a person gets too little or too much social interaction, this could lead to feelings of loneliness or over-stimulation.
Solitude can have positive effects on individuals. One study found that although time spent alone tended to depress a person's mood and increase feelings of loneliness, it also helped to improve their cognitive state, such as improving concentration. Furthermore, once the alone time was over, people's moods tended to increase significantly. Solitude is also associated with other positive growth experiences, religious experiences, and identity building such as solitary quests used in rites of passages for adolescents.
Loneliness can also play an important role in the creative process. In some people, temporary or prolonged loneliness can lead to notable artistic and creative expression, for example, as was the case with poet Emily Dickinson, and numerous musicians. This is not to imply that loneliness itself ensures this creativity, rather, it may have an influence on the subject matter of the artist and more likely be present in individuals engaged in creative activities.
The existentialist school of thought views loneliness as the essence of being human. Each human being comes into the world alone, travels through life as a separate person, and ultimately dies alone. Coping with this, accepting it, and learning how to direct our own lives with some degree of grace and satisfaction is the human condition.
Some philosophers, such as Sartre, believe in an epistemic loneliness in which loneliness is a fundamental part of the human condition because of the paradox between the desire of man's/person's consciousness to have meaning in life conflicting with the isolation and nothingness of the universe. Conversely, other existentialist thinkers argue that human beings might be said to actively engage each other and the universe as they communicate and create, and loneliness is merely the feeling of being cut off from this process.
There are several estimates and indicators of loneliness. It has been estimated that approximately 60 million people in the United States, or 20% of the total population, feel lonely. Another study found that 12% of Americans have no one with whom to spend free time or to discuss important matters. Other research suggests that this rate has been increasing over time. The General Social Survey found that between 1985 and 2004, the number of people the average American discusses important matters with decreased from three to two. Additionally, the number of Americans with no one to discuss important matters tripled.
Loneliness appears to have intensified in every society in the world as modernization occurs. A certain amount of this loneliness appears to be related to greater migration, smaller household sizes, a larger degree of media consumption (all of which, it should be noted, have positive sides as well in the form of more opportunities, more choice in family size, and better access to information). For more on these subjects, see the social capital entry.
Within developed nations, loneliness has shown the largest increases among two groups: seniors and people living in low-density suburbs. Seniors living in suburban areas are particularly vulnerable, for as they lose the ability to drive they often become "stranded" and find it difficult to maintain interpersonal relationships.
Americans seem to report more loneliness than any other country, though this finding may simply be an effect of greater research volume. A 2006 study in the American Sociological Review found that Americans on average had only two close friends in which to confide, which was down from an average of three in 1985. The percentage of people who noted having no such confidant rose from 10% to almost 25%, and an additional 19% said they had only a single confidant, often their spouse, thus raising the risk of serious loneliness if the relationship ended. The modern office environment has been demonstrated to give rise to loneliness. This can be especially prevalent in individuals prone to social isolation who can interpret the business focus of co-workers for a deliberate ignoring of needs.
Whether a correlation exists between Internet usage and loneliness is a subject of controversy, with some findings showing that Internet users are lonelier and others showing that lonely people who use the Internet to keep in touch with loved ones (especially seniors) report less loneliness, but that those trying to make friends online became lonelier. On the other hand, studies in 2002 and 2010 found that "Internet use was found to decrease loneliness and depression significantly, while perceived social support and self-esteem increased significantly" and that the Internet "has an enabling and empowering role in people's lives, by increasing their sense of freedom and control, which has a positive impact on well-being or happiness."
The one apparently unequivocal finding of correlation is that long driving commutes correlate with dramatically higher reported feelings of loneliness (as well as other negative health impacts).
Chronic loneliness is a serious, life-threatening condition. At least one study has empirically correlated it with an increased risk of cancer, especially for those who hide their loneliness from the outside world, and it is also associated with increased risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. Severe and persistent loneliness can be an extremely painful experience and increase the risk for serious psychological dysfunction. Loneliness has been linked to adolescent truancy, behavior problems, and unemployment. Studies of loneliness generally find high correlations with low self-esteem, shyness, self-consciousness, introversion, and the lack of assertiveness.
Loneliness has been linked with depression, and is thus a risk factor for suicide. Émile Durkheim has described loneliness, specifically the inability or unwillingness to live for others, i.e. for friendships or altruistic ideas, as the main reason for what he called egoistic suicide. People who are socially isolated may report poor sleep quality, and thus have diminished restorative processes. Loneliness has also been linked with a Schizoid character type in which one may see the world differently and experience social alienation, described as the self in exile. Loneliness can also play a part in alcoholism and substance abuse.
In children, a lack of social connections is directly linked to several forms of antisocial and self-destructive behavior, most notably hostile and delinquent behavior. In both children and adults, loneliness often has a negative impact on learning and memory. Its disruption of sleep patterns can have a significant impact on the ability to function in everyday life.
Some other effects of loneliness may not be symptomatic for years. In 2005, results from the American Framingham Heart Study demonstrated that lonely men had raised levels of Interleukin 6 (IL-6), a blood chemical linked to heart disease. A 2006 study conducted by the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago found loneliness can add thirty points to a blood pressure reading for adults over the age of fifty. Another finding, from a survey conducted by John Cacioppo from the University of Chicago, is that doctors report providing better medical care to patients who have a strong network of family and friends than they do to patients who are alone. Cacioppo states that loneliness impairs cognition and willpower, alters DNA transcription in immune cells, and leads over time to high blood pressure.
There are many different ways used to treat loneliness, social isolation, and clinical depression. The first step that most doctors recommend to patients is therapy. Therapy is a common and effective way of treating loneliness and is often successful. Short term therapy, the most common form for lonely or depressed patients, typically occurs over a period of ten to twenty weeks. During therapy, emphasis is put on understanding the cause of the problem, reversing the negative thoughts, feelings, and attitudes resulting from the problem, and exploring ways to help the patient feel connected. Some doctors also recommend group therapy as a means to connect with other sufferers and establish a support system. Doctors also frequently prescribe anti-depressants to patients as a stand-alone treatment, or in conjunction with therapy. It may take several attempts before a suitable anti-depressant medication is found. Some patients may also develop a resistance to a certain type of medication and need to switch periodically.
Alternative approaches to treating depression are suggested by many doctors. These treatments may include exercise, dieting, hypnosis, electro-shock therapy, acupuncture, herbs, amongst others. Many patients find that participating in these activities fully or partially alleviates symptoms related to depression.
Another treatment for both loneliness and depression is pet therapy, or animal-assisted therapy, as it is more formally known. Studies and surveys, as well as anecdotal evidence provided by volunteer and community organizations, indicate that the presence of animal companions such as dogs, cats, rabbits, and guinea pigs can ease feelings of depression and loneliness among some sufferers. Beyond the companionship the animal itself provides there may also be increased opportunities for socializing with other pet owners. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there are a number of other health benefits associated with pet ownership, including lowered blood pressure and decreased levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
A 1989 study found that the social aspect of religion had a significant negative association with loneliness among elderly people. The effect was more consistent than the effect of social relationships with family and friends, and the subjective concept of religiosity had no significant effect on loneliness.
One way to counteract loneliness is to live with other people. Homeshare programmes seek to match people who have homes with those who need a place to live.
Why Loneliness Is Hazardous to Your Health by Greg Miller http://www.sciencemag.org/content/331/6014/138.full
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