The loneliness epidemic is a growing problem. Over the last five decades, two significant changes have contributed to the loneliness epidemic. They are atomization and social media. You can experience loneliness whether you are single or married. Here is a look at the loneliness epidemic how atomization and social media increases social isolation today.

 

The Loneliness Epidemic and Social Media Paradox

 

 

Loneliness Epidemic

 

Loneliness is isolation and a state of discomfort from having a gap between your desire for social connection that does not meet your experience in reality. Click To Tweet

 

Related: Know Your Enemy: Loneliness

Related: What Is The Difference? Solitude Versus Loneliness

 

Loneliness is the cause of the loneliness epidemic. Loneliness is the distressing feeling of being alone or separated. Loneliness is the state of distress or discomfort that results from a gap between one’s desires for social connection and actual experiences. Loneliness is isolation when you have no friends or a community in your life, creating a feeling of sadness. However, it is vital to point out that you live by yourself without feeling lonely. There is a difference between solitude and loneliness. More people are experiencing the feelings associated with loneliness and experiencing a gap between what you currently have and what you want to have in your social life. A large amount of people experiencing loneliness creates the loneliness epidemic.

 

There are two critical reasons for the rise in loneliness today. The atomization of people has led to increased social isolation and loneliness. Those are two recent essential components of a society that have led to people becoming more isolated and less involved in their communities. People rarely know their neighbors today compared to previous generations. Social media has helped drive the loneliness epidemic as people spend more time on their screens rather than interacting with people in real life. There are also health consequences that come from loneliness. The other reason is the atomization of people, which results from people becoming more divided today.

 

Short-Term Loneliness and Chronic Loneliness

 

The two types of loneliness are short-term loneliness and chronic loneliness. Click To Tweet

 

Related: Loneliness: Four Ways a Lack of Social Connection Can Kill You

 

There are also different types of loneliness. The first type is short-term loneliness. Short-term loneliness is a brief period of experiencing loneliness. You may experience short-term loneliness when you move because you don’t know anyone in the town or city where you now live.

 

The second type of loneliness is chronic loneliness or long-term loneliness. Chronic loneliness occurs when you have feelings of loneliness and social isolation for a long time. Chronic loneliness is a constant and unrelenting sense of being alone, separated, or divided from other people in your life. Long-term loneliness cannot connect on a deeper level with others in your life. Chronic loneliness can also include having deeply rooted feelings of inadequacy, poor self-esteem, and having self-loathing for yourself. Whether it is short-term or chronic loneliness that you may experience, health issues come with loneliness.

 

Social Isolation and Loneliness

 

Loneliness and social isolation fuse together and are the first requirement for mass formation psychosis. Click To Tweet

 

Related: The Search for Community and the Loneliness Epidemic

 

The loneliness epidemic has continued to worsen due to the increase in social isolation and loneliness that people now experience. Social isolation also means not having enough people to interact with regularly. It does not matter the amount of social contact you may have in your life, but you can still experience loneliness. Social isolation is when people do not interact with others. As a result of atomization, people have become more socially isolated. Social isolation connects to loneliness, and social isolation leads to mass formation psychosis.

 

[1]Since more people have become more disconnected over the last three years due to the pandemic, social isolation and loneliness have risen, affecting young adults.[2]Men often struggle more with isolation and loneliness than women, and men are less social. Social isolation and loneliness are problems because people are naturally social creatures. You can improve your mental and physical health by being social and active with your friends, family, or community. As people have become more atomized, social isolation and loneliness have continued to grow.

 

 

Atomization of People

 

The atomization of people goes back to the 1970s and continues with the fragmentation of society from politics to more people living alone. Click To Tweet

 

Related: 5 Ways Singles Can Overcome The Loneliness Epidemic That Affects Half Of Americans

 

People are lonelier today. The loneliness epidemic is a result of people spending more time alone. The fragmenting of society has happened over time. People have become more atomized today. [3]Atomization goes back to the mid-1970s when businesses started selling goods and services abroad.[4]Social atomization has happened because society has become more fragmented today.[5]Atomization is the “process by which larger units—compounds or cultures, molecules, or families—are broken down into their subcomponents, their individuality gaining clarity as their … Continue reading The atomization of society has happened as modern society has become more divided and politics has become a part of everything. The atomization of society leads to otherizing people who don’t politically agree with you while people remain in their bubble.

 

There are several reasons for the atomization of people today. Politics has become more divisive than ever before in history. [6]A recent poll found that Americans have more political division than ever before in history. [7]The second reason is more people are living alone today. They often will not get to know their neighbors since people are working more or busy spending their time making enough to cover the costs of living. The third reason is people are spending more time online, on social media, or on their mobile devices rather than getting to know people in real life. The fourth reason is that more people are working online rather than going into the office to get social interaction with co-workers and colleagues. The fifth reason is that people are spending less time in their communities. When people spend less time in their community, they spend more time alone without interacting with other people.

 

The political division continues to divide people into groups. The division from identity politics further leads to the atomization of people. Social media also helps people give people content that feeds their own personal or political biases. Social media creates an infinite loop where people don’t get out of their atomic bubble. It becomes more irrational in a society where people cannot interact with others who do not fit in their personal, social, or political atomic bubble. People can no longer have a rational conversation or debate with someone who disagrees with them on an issue. The atomization of individuals in society is the logical result of people being unable to leave their bubbles.

 

As people remain in their ideological bubbles, atomization leads to social isolation and loneliness. People are interacting less with people in person today. It has become challenging to find community today because everything is now political, and people remain in their atomic bubbles. People are also spending more time online interacting with people in their virtual atomic bubbles. Those atomic bubbles have created the social media paradox.

 

Effects of Social Isolation and Loneliness on Health

 

Social isolation and loneliness can cause mental health issues and suicide. Click To Tweet

 

Related: How Does Mental Health Affect Your Life? 5 Tips To Improve Your Life!

 

Loneliness negatively affects people’s health. Loneliness is as harmful to health as obesity or smoking, and loneliness also affects mental health. Some mental health issues that can come from loneliness are depression and anxiety.
[8]The CDC has found negative effects of social isolation and loneliness on personal health. [9]The National Academy of Sciences found risks from loneliness and social isolation from studies. According to the CDC and National Academy of Sciences, health risks from social isolation and loneliness include the following:
• Social isolation significantly increased a person’s risk of premature death from all causes. This risk may rival those of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity.
• Social isolation was associated with about a 50% percent increased risk of dementia.
• Poor social relationships (characterized by social isolation or loneliness) were associated with a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke.
• Loneliness was associated with higher depression, anxiety, and suicide rates.
• Loneliness among heart failure patients was associated with a nearly four times increased risk of death, 68% increased risk of hospitalization, and 57% increased risk of emergency department visits.
Social media also affects personal health from mental to physical health. The social media paradox is another piece of the loneliness epidemic puzzle.

The Social Media Paradox

 

The Social Media Paradox is that people have become lonelier despite having more connections and friends online. Click To Tweet

 

Related: 5 Ways How to Deal with Loneliness During the Coronavirus Pandemic

 

The Social Media Paradox is that while people have become more connected than ever before, people have become lonelier. Social media is popular for psychologists to blame for the rise in isolation and atomization of people. People now spend more of their time online or on their phones rather than interacting with other people in the real world. People spend more time on their phones, which has led to more isolation and loneliness.
[10]Lance Morrow writes in (“An Age of Violated Boundaries“) that “Electronic communication is now replacing human communication.” That certainly seems to be the case. [11]According to a 2019 Digital Report from Hootsuite and We Are Social, people are now spending an average of 6 hours and 42 minutes online every day. People now spend half of that nearly seven hours on mobile phones. That means that people spend close to seven hours of their day on the Internet. People spend more of their time online virtually than interacting with people in real life. There is also negative health effect that has come from social media.
Social media platforms are addictive. [12]Social media addiction can cause “anxiety, depression, and even physical ailments.” [13]It has been found that “excessive social media use can result in fatigue which is linked to high anxiety and depression among adolescents.”[14] Social media can cause mental health to decline by increasing anxiety, depression, fatigue, and physical ailments. Social media can also negatively affect sleep.
The most significant way social media can negatively affect mental health is sleep. It has been found that there is a link between social media use and less sleep. It is vital to get quality sleep and sleep for enough hours each night for personal health. When you don’t get enough sleep, or you have poor quality sleep, it can cause several health conditions:
• Weight gain and obesity
• Multiple sclerosis (MS)
• Increased inflammation
• Reduced mood
• Depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety
• Diabetes
• Reduced cognition and brain health
• Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease
• Heard disease and stroke
• Chronic pain and arthritis
• ADHD
People often sleep with their phones by their bed today, and this causes people to have poorer sleep quality each night. By having their phone by the bed, they will check it if they wake up rather than going back to sleep. In an ironic twist, the social media platforms and apps we use daily make us lonelier and negatively affect our mental and physical health. At the same time, social media can cause mental health and other problems. Loneliness can cause mental health problems as well.

Solutions for the Loneliness Epidemic and the Social Media Paradox

 

Spend less time on social media and interact with people in real life. Click To Tweet

 

Related: 12 Ways How to Beat Loneliness and the Loneliness Epidemic

 

There are eight ways for the loneliness epidemic and the social media paradox. The first way is to spend less time on social media or eliminate social media. The second solution is to spend more time with your friends, family, and people in your community. The third step is to find a hobby or something that you are passionate about and find other people interested in that same thing. Meetup is a great place to meet people around an interest or a hobby. The fourth way is to stay busy. The fifth solution is to exercise. The seventh step is to sleep without your phone near you to get a good night’s rest. The eighth solution is to make personal time for yourself. These eight steps will require you to act in your life to break free from social media and your smartphone. You will feel better once you have done it because people are naturally social animals.

 

Conclusion

 

The loneliness epidemic and social media paradox affect mental and physical health. Click To Tweet

 

There are two primary reasons for the loneliness epidemic. They are atomization of people and people spending more time on social media. If you feel lonely, the simple solution is to meet with people again and be involved with your community.

 

What do you think of the loneliness epidemic? Have you experienced social isolation or loneliness? What do you think about the atomization of people over the decades? What are your thoughts on the social media paradox?

 

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References

References
1 Since more people have become more disconnected over the last three years due to the pandemic, social isolation and loneliness have risen, affecting young adults.
2 Men often struggle more with isolation and loneliness than women, and men are less social.
3 Atomization goes back to the mid-1970s when businesses started selling goods and services abroad.
4 Social atomization has happened because society has become more fragmented today.
5 Atomization is the “process by which larger units—compounds or cultures, molecules, or families—are broken down into their subcomponents, their individuality gaining clarity as their relationships disintegrate.”
6 A recent poll found that Americans have more political division than ever before in history.
7 The second reason is more people are living alone today.
8 The CDC has found negative effects of social isolation and loneliness on personal health.
9 The National Academy of Sciences found risks from loneliness and social isolation from studies.
10 Lance Morrow writes in (“An Age of Violated Boundaries“) that “Electronic communication is now replacing human communication.”
11 According to a 2019 Digital Report from Hootsuite and We Are Social, people are now spending an average of 6 hours and 42 minutes online every day.
12 Social media addiction can cause “anxiety, depression, and even physical ailments.”
13 It has been found that “excessive social media use can result in fatigue which is linked to high anxiety and depression among adolescents.”
14  Social media can cause mental health to decline by increasing anxiety, depression, fatigue, and physical ailments. Social media can also negatively affect sleep.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
James Bollen is the Founder and President of Secure Single. He is an entrepreneur and a content creator with the goal of helping all different types of singles to learn to thrive as a single person.
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