(photo credit: TNS)
Loneliness affects millions of people from all walks of life. Yet despite how common it is, few people are fully aware of how dramatic its impact is on our lives. Hundreds of research studies attest to the fact that loneliness is a very destructive force. Like alcoholism, smoking and overeating, loneliness has a detrimental effect on an individual’s physical health. In addition, loneliness may lead to sleep problems, disturbed appetite, depression or even suicidal behavior (Wood, J. 2017). Many of my clients come to therapy to get help with their loneliness. I once treated an elderly women whose main complaint was feeling terribly alone after her husband was stricken with Alzheimer’s disease. At times it got so bad her husband did not even remember who she was, even though they had shared 60 years of marriage and raised a family together. Her children were all married and were busy with work and their own families. Although she had some friends, she spent the bulk of her time taking care of her husband rather than paying attention to her own emotional and physical needs.
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