Loneliness causes physical health problems with consequences as dire as smoking fifteen cigarettes a day. Loneliness also contributes to and exacerbates mental health problems. Loneliness occurs across the lifespan, from childhood to old age.
People experiencing loneliness have been shown to have less optimism about social situations and are likely to behave in ways that distance them further from others. This can develop into a persistent spiral of increasing loneliness.
The research evidence is clear. Loneliness can be addressed. Interventions that focus on changing negative thinking and encourage us to improve the quality of our relationships and build intimacy with those around us can reduce our loneliness.