Home Medizin Europa steht vor der Epidemie der Einsamkeit

Europa steht vor der Epidemie der Einsamkeit

von NFI Redaktion

The content has been rewritten and expanded and now includes HTML tags:

Loneliness: The Silent Epidemic

Loneliness is no longer just a personal struggle; it’s a silent epidemic. The US Surgeon General has compared it to smoking, claiming it’s as harmful as up to 15 cigarettes a day. The health effects are immense, ranging from cardiovascular risks to mental health problems. It’s time to face the harsh truth: loneliness not only harms the heart, it’s also a threat to our well-being.

Impact on Health

In older adults, loneliness is associated with a 50% higher risk of developing dementia, a 30% increased risk of coronary heart disease or stroke, and a 26% increased risk of overall mortality. It’s also linked to a higher risk of heart disease in people with diabetes. In fact, loneliness is a stronger predictor of cardiovascular disease in people with diabetes than diet, exercise, smoking, or depression.

World Health Organization Recognition

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized loneliness as a global public health priority and established a Commission on Social Contacts with the goal of providing clear evidence to policymakers and practitioners on how to best improve social interaction.

Evaluation in Europe

The first European Union (EU)-wide survey on loneliness, EU-LS 2022, conducted by the Joint Research Centre (JRC), found that about 13% of the 20,000 participants reported feeling lonely most of the time or all the time in the weeks leading up to the survey.

Loneliness by Age

Contrary to intuition, loneliness is not only affecting older adults. Studies suggest a U-shaped relationship with high levels of loneliness in both young and older adults, highlighting the need for interventions targeting different age groups.

Connections to Social Media Use

Loneliness has been associated with increased use of social networks, suggesting these platforms may replace offline connections with online ones. However, the association between social media use and loneliness is complex and warrants further research.

Role of Healthcare Professionals

Healthcare professionals have a critical role in identifying and mitigating the impact of loneliness on mental and physical health. Proactive approaches, integrating mental health assessment into routine check-ups, and linking with community engagement programs are essential in addressing loneliness.

Call for Coordinated Action

Transitioning from isolation to inclusion requires not only recognizing the problem but also implementing targeted policies and interventions. Community-based programs and national initiatives have shown promise in combating loneliness.

Innovation and Technology

Innovative projects, such as I2I, and technologies like ElliQ are emerging as tools to address loneliness, providing avenues for social connection and support for older adults.

Mapping Local Interventions

The Joint Research Centre has developed a map of loneliness interventions in Europe, serving as an information source for policymakers, practitioners, researchers, and the general public. This mapping can inform future intervention development and collaboration efforts to support different at-risk groups, including adolescents.

Overall, addressing loneliness requires a multi-faceted approach at the individual, community, and policy levels, with innovative technologies and targeted interventions playing a crucial role in combating this silent epidemic.

Related Posts

Adblock Detected

Please support us by disabling your AdBlocker extension from your browsers for our website.