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Understanding Mental Health: Interrelation Between Loneliness and Depression

The author is a medical student with a weird sense of humour and spends a great deal of time exploring human psychology.


Abstract :

The 21st century along with it's blessings of new and technological advanced gadgets have introduced mankind to new type of health concern, the disease of depression, which has led to a substantial number of suicidal cases over the decades. Depression, like many other traits of man have always been clinically overlooked in most of the countries. Suicides on the other hand is not something that any government has dared to trifle with. Hence, we find in our interest to seek out the causes and methods of possible recovery from depression , thus reducing the cases of suicides. That being said, suicides are not the only outcomes of depression. Marital discord, child abuse, rape cases and most importantly a rapid rise of drug addicts are the possible miseries that depression bring with it. Loneliness however is a different issue, still loneliness seems to have a close relationship with depression. Depression and loneliness creates a cycle of cause and effect. So denying a person of social acquaintances, can ultimately lead to create the chain of social discord. Thus depression along with loneliness are to incorporated in mental health sector as a substantial threat to society.


Introduction :

Depression is a void created in mind. A depressed mind lacks the necessary drive to engage any strength in action. That means, a depressed mind is devoid of the reason to do anything. This lack of intention ultimately starts a chain reaction of mental and physical trauma. For many years, a misconception prevailed in our society that any void created in the mind is confined. But recent case studies proves that any disturbance in the mind affects the biological functions of the body. This is now proved to be a fact rather than hypothesis and it applies to animals with a certain level of cognitive response.

Now coming to the causes of depression, we are introduced to the concept of the ‘vicious cycle of mental mania'. This is such a cycle where the factors and effects are interchangeable. That means any effect of mental disturbance, be it psychological or biological will serve as the cause of further mental disturbance. Thus developing an interchangeable relationship between the causes and effect of mental instability creating a loop, which in normal sense seems to be unbreakable. Considering this factor many people focus on avoiding this cycle rather than treating it.
Now loneliness is a complete different idea which may always not co-relate to depression. It is not essential for a lone person to be depressed. Because loneliness, sometimes acts as a engaging factor of perseverance. However, in most of the cases a lone person turns out to be depressed. Now again most of us have a misconception that a lone person is always friendless. To some extent, this may be true but with the advent of easy access to digital social media, loneliness cut off its relationship with being friendless. At present, a person may have a lots of virtual friends, fans but always may feel like a fish out of the water. Because deep down he/she may feel that nobody can see or feel the person behind his /her veil of social profile. Thus leaving the person to be mentally isolated and in turn mentally confidence less. This ultimately paves the road for a person to be depressed and mentally unstable.

Vicious cycle of mental mania

Vicious cycle of mental mania

VICIOUS CYCLE OF MENTAL MANIA : Interrelationship between psychological and biological health

Vicious cycles are so called due their nature of miserable outcomes. Vicious cycle of mental mania deals with repeated actions of causes and effect of mental disturbance and instability which often leads to depression. Let's consider an example, Mr. X is a cheerful lad of 21 and goes to medical school. Initially, he did good, attended lectures regularly, hanged out with friends and did what a normal student does so fur. Now on a sudden evening he found himself in front of gorgeous lady of his choice and gradually fell in love. As day passed he engaged more and more to impress this lady which left a negative impact on his academic life. But being in love, he overlooked everything. However, soon he realised that he was cheated on and found himself extremely depressed. Gradually, he lost interest in studies, his teaches started to look down upon him and he fell behind. All these paved a dark path of depression for Mr. X and he, by his own actions began to loose his friends now. With time he became a loner like typical depressed person. On the other hand other new kids found no interest in incorporating with Mr. X.
So in such case scenario, loneliness acted both as an effect and cause of depression. A vicious cycle of mental mania works in such a way leading a lot of people to fall in an abyss of mental torture where most people find them in a state of hopelessness .

By now we came to an understanding of psychological health or to be more precise the impact of loneliness and depression on psychological health. Psychological imbalance broadly not only affects the way of thinking of an individual but also affects the physical health to great extent. Normally mind can't not directly always biology of an being, however a living body, though in all cases is doesn’t need a mind to function but need a mind to survive. Like, a depressed person at his/her initial stage shows certain symptoms of loss of appetite and some other physical traits like sleepless ness and a sudden rise in blood pressure which in long term may cause insomnia and hyper tension. Again almost all patients suffering from depression have shown to have grown bad habits like smoking , taking alcohol and in some cases drugs, some patients even have shown habits of hurting themselves. These traits which are triggered by mental disturbance are not necessary for the body to function properly but they sure can in the long run end one's life. So we just cannot deny that psychological health broadly affects physical health rather we are to accept this as a fact.

Helicopter parenting

Helicopter parenting

Family life : Impact of over-protectiveness on child's psychology

Psychologists ,after analysing case history of several patients with any sorts of mental disorder found that in about 85% cases, the cause of depression roots back to unhealthy relationship with family members. As strange as it may seem, lack of an intimate relationship among each members of the family ultimately leaves a child with a cracked and unstable mind-set, thus children develops a nature of being afraid to open up to people. Children of these category suffer from extreme inferiority complex and as such fails to socialise with people even in a favourable environment.

Now that we came to find a reason which is common in most of the patients suffering from depression, we can theoretically assume that an unhealthy relationship within family members is the prime reason behind leaving a child with the torment of loneliness, hence depressed. In such scenarios, the pointer of accusation however always directs towards guardians. Several patients on enquiry have directly or indirectly stated that this lack of intimate relationship is the outcome of denying the patients of their necessary freedom. They felt that their guardians willingly or unwillingly took control of their (patients') life. Repeated attempts of trying to break free from this situation ended up in creating a feud in the family and hence the loneliness. However these over protectiveness of guardians came from their innate nature of nurturing their offspring. From a guardian's point of view these type of behaviour is mandatory to help secure their children a bright and stable future. These sort of behaviour, though not wrong are not appropriate either as in most cases children don't take positively and gradually develop an idea that their patents are trying to take over their life. As such a huge distance in relationship develops which combined with generation gap leaves a permanent negative impression on a child’s mind striping them of the quality of trusting people.

Most of us, if not familiar with the term ‘Helicopter parenting ‘ can easily get a rough idea of the term in the above discussion. Helicopter parenting is a circumstance where parents being too overprotective of their children tends to loose their trusts in certain issues . To put it simply ‘helicopter parenting ‘ is merely a synonym of ‘over parenting ‘


Social media : Can it serve as a solution?

Social media is a way of communication which allows its user to simultaneously interact with a huge number of people without any interruption. It may serve as a platform for expressing one's views to society which in turn can mould a social opinion or at times provides a user with a substantial data base to aid him in his project. However, now a days, social media serves a purpose of connection too. Teenagers find social media interesting due to its easy methods to creating a handsome personal profile. So a lot of kids tend to hide their weakness behind the appealing profile of false grandeur.. Thus it strips such person of any confidence when it comes to real life interactions leaving our user to be a loner.

On the other hand social media is a depot of useful information which can serve the purpose of a rich database for any sorts of projects . In case of dealing mental health , the easiest way of interpreting a persons physiology is to analyse the pattern of his use of social media.

So, social media effectively does not serve the purpose of treating depression but it can provide the tools of analysing mental health problems.

Therapy session

Therapy session

Treating loneliness : Effectiveness of therapy :

Now that we understand the relationship between loneliness and depression, we can easily consider loneliness as a mental health issue or more clearly mental disease. In many countries of the world, still now people tends to show negligence towards mental health or are not acquainted with the term ‘mental disease'. So going to therapists or phycologists are still a taboo to them. But this is a total misconception.
Mental therapy have proved to be of great success to many patients. Because loneliness, whatever the cause maybe shows to have form a mental barrier to patient. Such people looses the quality to open up to people as in most of such cases people loose the confidence to so such. As a result these people fails to socialise with people and slowly grows a considerable distance form social norms. To some, these social norms seems useless, some patients consider them to be violent and others simply become unsure if they would be able to or are worthy enough to follow those rules. Hence, a trait develops in such persons to mitigate their social needs in obscure ways or as we call it by involving in unsocial activities.

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Therapists can help a lone patient to break free from such mental barrier and help an individual to understand his place or worth in society, thus helping in socialization which in turns can turn a loner into a animated, jolly social person. So, yes, therapy is effective in treatment of loneliness and depression.


Conclusion :

Human beings are inborn social beings. Barriers to lead a social life puts the very life of an individual in jeopardy. So, dealing with mental health is an important issue. By now we can be sure of the fact that loneliness can pose a threat as a mental disease and it a close association with depression. We can no more deny the fact that like all other diseases, mental diseases need treating to lead a stable social life. So dealing with patients of depression , loneliness cannot be struck out from the symptoms of mental disease.

Hasibul Islam (author)

Hasibul Islam (author)

Bibliography :

1. Mental Health: A Person-Centred Approach – Nicholas Procter, Helen P. Hamer, Denise McGarry, Rhonda L. Wilson, Terry Froggatt

2. How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body – David R. Hamilton

3. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy: Basics and Beyond – Judith S. Beck, Aaron T. Beck

4. The Mind-Gut Connection: How the Hidden Conversation Within Our Bodies Impacts Our Mood, Our Choices, and Our Overall Health – Emeran Mayer

5. The Social Skills Guidebook: Manage Shyness, Improve Your Conversations, and Make Friends, Without Giving Up Who You Are – Chris MacLeod MSW

6. Depression: A Teen’s Guide to Thrive and Survive – Jacqueline B. Toner, Claire A. B. Freeland

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Hasibul Islam Apon


Hasibul Islam Apon (author) from People’s Republic of Bangladesh on June 24, 2020:

Anupam Mitu human psychology is so diverse that you never get bored

Anupam Mitu from MUMBAI on June 24, 2020:

Excellent write up Hasibul. It is really a well designed post. I have also developed an interest in psychology and pursuing masters in that.

God bless you

Khorshed Alam on June 17, 2020:

In light of recent issue, this is an excellent article.

Hasibul Islam Apon (author) from People’s Republic of Bangladesh on June 15, 2020:

Tanha, you are right in light of recent events, I can not but accept the fact that depression indeed has become an issue of concern for all.

Sumiya Rahman Tanha on June 15, 2020:

Such a beautiful post....amazing apon....appreciate your work....and now a days it is become a important issue for whole world

Samip Katwal on June 14, 2020:

Great Work Apon! Proud of you♥️

Hasibul Islam Apon (author) from People’s Republic of Bangladesh on June 14, 2020:

People in developing countries still shows a certain amount of negligence towards treating mental problems and this corona crisis has already posed a great impact on peoples' psychology. Quarentine may trigger depression via loneliness. So, it’s imperative that we understand the upcoming threat prepare ourselves like wise.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on June 14, 2020:

This is an interesting article and I agree. Loneliness can cause hopefulness, therefor causing mental decline. We are living in uncertain times with this C virus and not socializing like we used to do. I know I feel the loss and wonder if we will ever feel carefree.

Liz Westwood from UK on June 14, 2020:

In the UK there are fears that the prolonged lockdown will adversely affect mental health. A recent move has been to allow people who live alone to form a bubble with another household where they are allowed to visit and stay to combat loneliness.

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