The current review has the ultimate scope to accurately define social isolation and loneliness while highlighting the serious repercussions on health and behavior. Daily hundreds of people across the globe report suffering from social isolation and loneliness; an over whelming feeling of emptiness, unworthiness and personal failure. Human beings are social species that have the need to nurture reliable and secure social settings to survive. Simultaneously, trustworthy social relationships are critical for mental and physical wellbeing whereas impaired social interactions can lead to social isolation and loneliness. In an attempt to tease out and elucidate salient problems and issues, we seek to critically compose studies, views and issues from a variety of perspectives by providing opposing standpoints and conversational voices instead of intensifying traditional narratives and dominant discourses. Few aspects of social isolation and loneliness are untouched by scientific attention. The role of these concepts in old age is no exception and arguably has a tremendous impact in multiple aspects of life. Social isolation and loneliness are two distinctive concepts that have been identified as risk factors for wellbeing, health and everyday functioning in profound ways. Therefore, we aimed to examine the associations with various psychiatric disorders for instance anxiety, depression, psychotic disorder and Alzheimer’s disease as well as with a variety of physical disorders such as cardiovascular diseases, cholesterol and autoimmune diseases. Given the alarming records from healthcare which depict an almost two-fold rise in healthcare attendance, we attempt to assemble the proposed interventions through an in-depth review of the current literature available and provide the incentive for constructive and collective thought. To our theoretical understanding, in order to better comprehend these psychosocial concepts and deliver timely and more effective personalized interventions to those in need, it is of paramount importance to thoroughly examine the identified causal links. However, further research is required for the reduction or the deletion of the undesired effects.

KEYWORDS: Social isolation, emotional loneliness, Alzheimer’s disease, psychosis, interventions

Panagiota Tragantzopoulou, Vaitsa Giannouli


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