loneliness, meaning they feel lonely often or always. Not considered to be a mental illness, loneliness can affect people of all ages and can have a devasting effect on people's lives.
Depression, on the other hand, is referred to as a mental health issue and affects around 5% of the population.
So, is there a link between these two common problems, and if yes, can one turn into the other? Let's take a closer look.
What are the most common symptoms of loneliness and depression?
In many cases, people who are struggling with loneliness and those with depression experience similar symptoms, such as:
- Mental fogginess
- Low energy levels
- Changes in appetite
- Difficulty sleeping or wanting to sleep more often
- Aches and pains
However, there are a few symptoms that you are likely to experience if you are depressed that are unlikely if you are just lonely such as feelings of hopelessness, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.
Can loneliness turn into depression?
Depression is a complex mental illness that requires treatment from a trained healthcare professional, whereas loneliness is a feeling that can be overcome (in some cases) without the need for medical intervention.
That being said, there is a difference between people who are struggling with social isolation, meaning they do not spend enough time around other people, and those who spend time in others' company every day but still feel alone.
Whilst the former can often be overcome with a few lifestyle changes and the support of loved ones or by meeting new people on platforms such as Erobella, the latter could potentially turn into depression if left unresolved.
How to cope with loneliness
If you are experiencing loneliness, it can sometimes feel like you are the only person in the world feeling this way. But you aren't, and there are steps that you can take to come out the other side happier and more confident than ever before.
Look at your existing relationships
Even if family and friends surround you, it is still possible to feel lonely. If this is the case for you, taking a closer look at these key relationships can be beneficial.
Do you connect with these people, or are you just going through the motions? Is everyone glued to their own devices, or do you have meaningful conversations?
Do things you enjoy
Rather than fill your days with anything you can think of to not feel lonely, it is a much better idea to do things you love. Think about what hobbies you used to like doing or might want to try in the future, and then make plans to actually do them.
Not only will this boost your mood, but it also provides the perfect opportunity to meet new people.
Reach out for help
If you are struggling with feelings of isolation or loneliness or you think you may be depressed, you may want to reach out for help from a professional such as your doctor or a therapist. Alternatively, you could join an online support network if you do not feel ready to talk to someone face-to-face.
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