Loneliness is an essential part of a person’s life that can occur during any period. People can suffer short episodes of loneliness, however clinically it is considered that if it lasts for a longer amount of time it is chronic. Therefore, it is very important to pay attention to the signs and symptoms , they can affect each person differently.

Loneliness is generally accompanied by feelings of guilt, anguish and a decrease in self-esteem, for example. Thus, social isolation for short periods lasts longer, making the condition worse. The inability to connect with other people and with the environment makes it difficult to recover on their own, the intervention of third parties is necessary that can provide the necessary help.

Due to the current lifestyle, it is considered that loneliness has become more common among different groups and sectors of society globally. This means that no person is exempt from suffering an episode of loneliness, which could be associated with a personal problem. As with depression, in the case of loneliness it usually starts from some kind of emotional problem.

However, it is also possible to mention some positive aspects that are associated with loneliness, but often go unnoticed. Psychologists consider that it is also a facet that can provide us with psychological tools that will help us face difficult situations in the future.

What is loneliness?

Loneliness can be defined from different perspectives . It is generally defined as an unfavorable perception between what is expected of interpersonal relationships and reality. The subjectivity of loneliness lies precisely in the emotional aspect that is connected with social disconnection. For example, a person may feel lonely even when surrounded by many people.

It could be considered that loneliness is the result of beliefs that a person adopts and combines with their own valuations . In combination these components will serve as a guide to analyze and question your social and emotional situation.

Loneliness can serve as a warning sign, it is a feeling of lack due to social and affective contact . But it is important to clarify that loneliness is not a problem in itself, instead it depends on how we react to it. How it makes us feel and how we manage it is key to be able to overcome this facet.

From a more positive perspective, it can be interpreted as a signal that should prompt us to act accordingly . In this way, people should focus on seeking to relate in a more active way. While it is true that loneliness can be an attempt at self-protection, not knowing how to manage it could cause us harm.

What are their characteristics?

The signs and symptoms of loneliness vary according to how the patient reacts, but some elements can be identified that are common in any case. This means that it is possible to notice changes in behavior that are easily noticeable by other people. It also depends on the situation and the environment.

Below we describe what are the most common aspects that characterize loneliness. They are as follows:

  • The patient is unable to connect on a deep and intimate level with other people . For this reason, it is unusual for them to maintain direct and regular contact with family and friends. It could be said that the degree of commitment with these people decreases over time, due to the disconnection it is difficult to reestablish contact.
  • People are often described as lonely and having no close friends. Their social relationships are usually sporadic , they are temporary so that they do not have a group of friends with whom they usually share.
  • Isolation is a common factor in everyday life for these people. They tend to live separately and disconnected from everything that happens in their environment. This means that even in public spaces they will seek to stay away by establishing physical limits, it is as if they lived inside a “bubble” in their own “world”.
  • Patients experience negative thoughts and feelings , examples of this type are self-criticism, doubt and low self-esteem. They tend to be very critical of their own abilities, which affects their emotional stability.
  • Distorted thoughts convince the person that he is not worthy of being appreciated or valued. Behind these beliefs his jazz is the fear of sharing and of showing himself as is; which makes it difficult to create strong interpersonal relationships.
  • They often have difficulties communicating effectively. Consequently, they tend to experience rejection situations because they are not reciprocated or ignored.
  • There is an existential period characterized by reflection and questioning of various aspects of personal life. This means that the person is more aware of their reality.

In addition to the aforementioned characteristics, patients who suffer from loneliness often feel fatigued due to their inability to socialize. That is why they may feel frustrated by their problems, which is why they are more prone to developing associated health problems such as insomnia. It even has repercussions on the immune system.

Types of loneliness

Loneliness can be shown and experienced in different ways . In summary, the different types of loneliness are described below, they are the following:

  • Emotional loneliness is associated with the lack or loss of a recent emotional relationship. The patient experiences a feeling of emptiness due to the absence of the person with whom he had created an intimate bond. It is normal for them to experience separation anxiety, they will be forced to cope with the loss on their own.
  • Social loneliness is associated with the inability to be part of a network of social relationships. The patient is not integrated into a family group or friends with whom he feels identified and can share common interests. It is a frustrating situation that leads them to feel rejected, misunderstood and ignored.
  • Contextual loneliness is one that is possible to predict, this means that it is possible to identify when it begins and ends. Understanding that loneliness is not only limited to a single context, in this case it is generated from a situation, place or person.
  • Transient loneliness appears briefly from concrete situations. Examples of this type are conflicts caused by a love relationship. A sense of separation arises that forces us to rethink the events that preceded the distancing.
  • Chronic loneliness, unlike the previous cases, does not depend on a particular context or situation. Instead, it perpetuates itself over time, affecting different aspects of the personal life of the person who suffers from it. It is possible to treat it in the right conditions, otherwise it will have long-term repercussions.
  • Self-imposed loneliness is that which characterizes people who voluntarily remain in isolation that provides them with protection and tranquility. That is, it may be the result of a search to develop a method of self-defense that arose from mistrust in other people.
  • The imposed loneliness is the result of material and affective deprivations that go against the will of the person who suffers them. When people are unable to achieve normal and stable relationships, they are more likely to experience these situations. For various reasons such as lack of time, financial constraints, physical limitations, social instability or other similar causes can contribute.
  • Existential loneliness is one that reveals a state of mind that expresses doubt, criticism and reflection regarding various aspects of personal life. It is a state of full consciousness that makes us analyze in a subjective and private way our own existence, the environment and those who inhabit it. The search begins to identify the meaning of existence.
  • Psychopathological loneliness defines a mixture of all the previous typologies. To be more precise, it represents the deterioration of mental health, which is why it is considered to point to a psychiatric disorder. It is usually associated with schizoid personality disorder.

Importance of accepting and enjoying solitude

It is very important to accept loneliness in order to focus in a more positive way. While it is true that over long periods of time it can affect health in various ways, this does not mean that you can take advantage of it. The important thing is to identify symptoms early so that their effects on physical and emotional health can be counteracted.

Some psychologists consider that loneliness should also be seen as a period that invites reflection and self-knowledge. As a result, changes are observed that favor the learning of knowledge that in the future will help to face difficult situations.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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