by:  Susan Kuchinskas

Loneliness can hit at almost any time. When Amity Brown separated from her husband of 11 years, for instance, she felt — understandably —  isolated and sad. “The hardest thing is not having someone with that deep emotional knowledge of me to catch me when I fall,” says the 41-year-old photographer based in Oakland, Calif.

It’s almost inevitable that losing a spouse or moving to a new town can make you feel lonely; but loneliness can strike even without major life changes. You can be alone without being lonely, or you can feel lonely in a crowd. True loneliness is simply a feeling of being disconnected from others; 5% to 7% of middle-aged and older adults report feeling intense or persistent loneliness.

“Loneliness is what you say it is. You can’t tell somebody you shouldn’t be lonely,” says Louise Hawkley, PhD, senior research scientist with the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago.

The next two posts will deal with loneliness and illness & the loneliness cure

Advertisements