After living her entire forty years of life in one state, close to her friends and family, Elaine got a job in a new state. Though she was initially excited about the new challenge, she’s found making new friends to be its own challenge. She also misses her family and their frequent gatherings.
Ms. Virginia moved to a new town to live with her son after a fall caused some lasting injuries. Though her son and his family are good to her, she is far away from her friends and other social connections. She is lonely without friends her age to socialize with.
Loneliness and social isolation are incredibly painful. If you’re experiencing either of these, or both, you need to know that there is a solution, and we can help. This doesn’t have to last forever.
Loneliness and Social Isolation Counseling in Knoxville
Many people believe that loneliness and social isolation are one and the same. The truth is that while they may be two sides of the same coin, there is an important difference. A person who experiences social isolation is physically separated from friends, family, and other close relationships.
On the other hand, people who are lonely are people who feel separate from the world although they are frequently surrounded by people. They may be married, they may have children, and they may have rewarding careers, yet they still feel lonely.
Thriveworks Knoxville counselors know how significant of an impact both loneliness and social isolation can have on physical and mental health, and they are prepared to help you find a solution to the very real pain of being disconnected from healthy social outlets and close relationships.
The Impact of Loneliness and Social Isolation
Loneliness and social isolation are not simple inconveniences. Some people believe the impact of loneliness and social isolation is as simple as feelings of sadness. The reality can be much grimmer. Physical symptoms like aches and pains, an increased risk of depression, low energy, sleep issues, loss of or increase in appetite, substance abuse, and feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and thoughts of suicide are all potential consequences of loneliness.
If these symptoms seem serious, that’s because they are. While occasional loneliness or social isolation is normal, an ongoing situation can be seriously detrimental to mental and physical health. Humans are social creatures who are meant to form meaningful relationships. The level of social interaction required by each person is different; introverts will recharge by being alone, while extroverts will recharge by spending time with others. There’s an entire spectrum of “normal,” so don’t compare yourself to anyone else. If you’re feeling unhappy, seeking the advice of a counselor for loneliness or social isolation is completely valid.
The goal of counseling is to improve the quality of life for patients. If you’re struggling with loneliness or social isolation, contact Thriveworks Knoxville counselors. Our top priority is to help you live the fullest life possible.
Special Considerations for The Elderly
Loneliness is reported in higher numbers in people over age sixty-five (Hawkley). As it turns out, loneliness may be a precursor to mental decline. Cognitive decline in the aging population diminishes self-reliance. Diminished self-reliance can lead to depression and suicidal ideation, and it can cause the patient to become a danger to themselves or others through no fault of their own.
Since your mental health is just as important as your physical health, it’s important to ask for help if you’re feeling alone or lonely. The stronger your cognitive abilities remain as you age, the more independent you’ll be able to remain, and the less prone to depression you’ll become.
If you know an elderly person, be sensitive to the issues faced by the elderly—after all, none of us are getting any younger. Regular visits or even simple phone calls can be a big help, as can the help of a therapist. Thriveworks Knoxville therapists are sensitive to the special needs of the aging population. If you’re struggling, or you know someone who is, contact us. We’re ready to help you recover healthy socialization that provides the close relationships necessary for your mental and physical well-being.
What’s the Solution for Loneliness and Social Isolation?
It may seem that the solution to social isolation would be simple: create and / or grow relationships. The truth is not often that simple. A counselor helps patients understand the core cause of their social isolation. Is it just a matter of not living near people? Or is there a fear of intimacy? What is holding the client back from seeking out relationships?
For those experiencing loneliness, similar questions will be explored. A counselor can help their client discover what the core cause of their loneliness is. If it’s social isolation, as in the previous paragraph, that will likely be treated first. For those who have strong social ties but are still experiencing loneliness, we’ll dig a little deeper. In some cases, an underlying condition, such as depression, may be the culprit. Depression often mimics other issues, such as loneliness. Once the real problem is found and addressed, the other issues will often resolve on their own or with minimal work.
Our counselors are experienced at helping patients find the cause of their troubles and develop a plan to overcome them. Loneliness and social isolation are no different.
Thriveworks Knoxville Counseling for Social Isolation and Loneliness
No matter what the cause, working with a counselor is the first step toward letting go of these uncomfortable and painful feelings. Thriveworks Knoxville Counseling offers compassionate, confidential, and comprehensive services. We don’t operate with a waiting list, so we can usually see new clients within 24 hours. Don’t wait any longer—contact us today to get on the road to a healthier, happier self.
Hawkley, Louise C., and John T. Cacioppo. “Loneliness Matters: A Theoretical and Empirical Review of Consequences and Mechanisms.” Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.