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Health Risks of Social Isolation and Loneliness


Social isolation and loneliness have become widespread problems in the United States, posing a serious threat to our mental and physical health.

Social isolation and loneliness have been linked to increased risk for:

  • Heart disease and stroke.
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • Depression and anxiety.
  • Addiction.
  • Suicidality and self-harm.
  • Dementia.
  • Earlier death.

Social isolation is the lack of relationships with others and little to no social support or contact. It is associated with risk even if people don’t feel lonely.

Loneliness is feeling alone or disconnected from others. It is feeling like you do not have meaningful or close relationships or a sense of belonging. It reflects the difference between a person’s actual and desired level of connection. This means that even a person with a lot of friends can feel lonely.


Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023). Loneliness and social isolation linked to serious health conditions.