Getting the Help You Need: Counseling for Loneliness and Social Isolation in Charlotte NC
Elaine moved to a new town about six months ago. She has found making friends outside of work difficult. While she was very social in college, making friends in post-college life has proven more of a challenge. She is beginning to contemplate moving back to her home state.
Ms. Virgie, on the other hand, is surrounded by very nice co-residents in her nursing home. Unfortunately, none of the residents are relatives or lifelong friends of Ms. Virgie, so she struggles with feeling truly close to any of them. While Ms. Virgie is not socially isolated like Elaine, she is lonely. Her relatives come visit once a week, but six days in between visits seems like a long time.
Counseling for Loneliness and Social Isolation in Charlotte
It’s not uncommon for people to think that social isolation and loneliness are one in the same. The truth is there are important differences between them. While a person who is socially isolated is by definition physically separated from close friends and family, a person is lonely if they feel that they’re not a part of the world – even if they have plenty of people around them. It’s not the number of people surrounding you, after all, that meet your social needs. It’s the quality of those relationships. With loneliness, regardless of how many people are around, one’s social needs are not met.
Social isolation can have some of the same signs. Being around people who you do not identify with can be socially isolating in its own right.
It isn’t wise to think of social isolation and loneliness as simple inconveniences or to assume that the only consequences are feelings of sadness. The reality is that symptoms can include everything from aches and pains to suicidal thoughts. Other common symptoms include depression, sleep issues, substance abuse, and issues with too much or not enough sleep.
These symptoms sound serious, and that’s because they are. Counselors in Charlotte who are trained in loneliness counseling know this, and they are prepared to help you.
The Real Consequences of Loneliness and Social Isolation
Thriveworks Charlotte counselors are very aware of the consequences of loneliness and social isolation, because we see them every day. Some loneliness is a normal part of life, and so is social isolation under certain circumstances. It’s when either of these becomes ongoing that the related symptoms appear—and with the related symptoms, a drastic downturn in quality of life. Counseling is all about improving quality of life for patients. If you’re experiencing ongoing loneliness or social isolation, seeking counseling sooner rather than later can help you turn the situation around before it gets so serious it causes other problems, like the aforementioned depression.
Loneliness, Social Isolation, and Aging
People of any age can experience social isolation or loneliness, of course, but it’s particularly common among the elderly—and particularly concerning. Cognitive decline in the aging population diminishes self-reliance which can in turn lead to depression and suicidal ideation. Cognitive decline can also cause the patient to be a danger to themselves or others through no fault of the patient’s own. Loneliness is reported in 40 percent of people over age 65, with that number increasing in the very old (over 70) (Hawkley).
You may be asking yourself, “What’s the relationship?” and you would be right to ask. Loneliness, some studies indicate, is a precursor to mental decline. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, particularly as you age. It’s important if you’re feeling alone to get help—you’ll thank yourself, and your future self will thank you.
Counseling Can Help
Many people assume that the solution is simple: make new friendships or focus on the ones already in your life. While this may be a part of your treatment plan, it’s typically not enough. A counselor can work closely with you to determine what is at the core of your issue. Are you separated from people because of your location? We’ll help you figure out how to get closer to those you value. Are you afraid of intimacy? We can help you figure out why and what actions to take to change that.
Charlotte counseling for loneliness and social anxiety can help you in several ways. We’ll work on your social skills if necessary, provide support as you venture into new social arenas, and help you identify any thought patterns that may be hindering your ability to be socially successful.
Counselors can also help determine if the issue is related to an underlying medical condition. For example, we’ve discussed that loneliness can cause depression, but the reverse is also true.
At Thriveworks Charlotte, we want you to know we support you. Seeking therapy for loneliness counseling doesn’t mean you have to suddenly become a social butterfly. It does mean that we’re here to help as you find a balanced social life that meets your needs—and those needs are different for every person.
Thriveworks Charlotte Counseling for Loneliness and Social Isolation
No matter what the cause is, the only way to get the personalized treatment plan you need is to work with a counselor or coach. Thriveworks Charlotte coaching and counseling has the experience you need. You need a compassionate therapist in Charlotte who will take your unique needs into consideration. That’s what you’ll get with us. We don’t keep a waiting list, so we can usually see you within 24 hours. We hope to see you soon.
Hawkley, Louise C., and John T. Cacioppo. “Loneliness Matters: A Theoretical and Empirical Review of Consequences and Mechanisms.” Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.