Social the deficiency of social contact in an individual

Social isolation
is one of the fast-growing issues that may cause serious health hazards. Social
isolation is the deficiency of social contact in an individual or being
isolated away from the society, which may be caused by various reasons, such as
depression. It is a common misconception that social isolation is similar to
being lonely. Social isolation is long term and can be a permanent situation.
It is a state where an individual has a little to none interaction with social
groups due to being remote. Thus, social isolation differs from loneliness
which is usually temporary condition and loneliness is easily felt by anyone,
even the people who are well surrounded by their loved ones due to lack of
connection emotionally, absence of attachment figure and lack of one’s actual
and desired relationship (as cited in Pate, A 2014). However, “both loneliness
and lack of social interaction have a distinct association with physical and
mental health” (Pate, A 2014). Due to the health risks it can possibly pose, experts
have been debating whether the lack of social interaction can affect an
individual’s health in the long term. This essay will argue that social
isolation is just as harmful to a person’s health as the other health disorders
that have a substantial effect on the well-being of an individual ultimately,
as social isolation is a condition that can leave a significant effect on
psychological well-being and physical health, as well as behavior of an
individual.

 

Extreme
loneliness due to the effects of social isolation increases the risks of
diseases, as it alters the normal bodily functions of a human being.
Researchers have discovered that isolation affects cardiac responses (Krupa, D
2007). A study conducted at the University of Illinois, Chicago, was presented
at the American Physiological Society (APS) annual meeting involving Prairie
voles in order to illustrate the levels of oxytocin, a hormone that help
regulates cardiac responses, is affected due to the effects of social
isolation. Oxytocin decreases due to isolation and thus causes the heart rate
to increase and heart variability to decrease (Krupa, D 2007). These
cardiovascular changes contribute to increased risks of heart diseases.
Additionally, loneliness due to lack of human contact also increases
dysfunctional immune responses, such as increase in production of
inflammation-related proteins that increase being prone to more pain,
depression and fatigue symptoms (Jaremka L. et al.), as well as diseases such
as coronary heart diseases, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s diseases. Further
growth of social isolation in the current society will lead to increase of
potential harm to the over-all individual health of the society.

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The impact of
social isolation on mortality rate is alarming and thus, experts have
hypothesized that loneliness and social isolation might pose higher health
risks than obesity. Statistics laid out by Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Ph.D., of
Brigham Young University from two different studies found that greater social
connection is linked with 50% decrease of pre-mature mortality and the results
from the second study showed social isolation, loneliness or living alone have
displayed a correlation with risk of early death, having a similar or greater
effect on prevalent health problems such as obesity (Sliwa, J 2017). Moreover,
as mortality rate increases, the population is also affected due to the
increase of socially detached individuals which affects the rate of marriages
to decrease and the number of children per household in America, as researched
by the AARP (Sliwa, J 2017). Social isolation has high health risks due to the
fact that it can widely affect a whole population.

 

Lack of social
connection may largely affect the physical well-being of an individual but the
level of negative effect that social isolation can present towards mental
health is similar and might be even worse. A study shows that adults who live
alone are 80% more likely to have depression, according to Dr. Matthew Pantell
of University of California Berkley-University of San Francisco Joint Medical
Program (Rivas, A 2013). The link between mental health and social
disconnection is whether the feeling of loneliness is present and does not
receive enough support from their social groups as they desired, which leads to
loneliness. Mental health is affected by social isolation that leads to the
feeling of loneliness, which increases the risk of cognitive decline, dementia
and depression (Pate, A 2014). Similarly, the behavior is also affected by
social isolation, however, it is again more an effect of loneliness. Loneliness
can lead to drug-take and risky behavior such as suicide. In regard to mental
health and behavior, loneliness plays more part compared to the idea alone of
social isolation.

 

To conclude,
social isolation does not only affect the physical health of an individual but
also the psychological state of a person, as well as behaviorally, which give
rise to potential detrimental health risks. Additionally, social isolation and
loneliness have distinct differences, however, loneliness have a particular
role in the subject and thus, connect the two different ideas together. Social
isolation not only affects the increase of health risks such as diseases and
mental illnesses but also the mortality rate, making it a great threat to the
public. Social connection is a one of the most basic need of human, as it can
gravely affect a person’s being. I believe that social isolation does adversely
affect health as it does not only affect an individual’s well-being but also
the population, which is very alarming.