Life is lived in seasons, and for some of us, there is a season of isolation and loneliness we must overcome. It can be a very dark and overwhelming feeling with uncertainty as to where to reach out for help. So often, those afflicted by loneliness and isolation get progressively worse over time and need the help of other people to identify the problem and connect them with the right resources.
Is there someone in your life you worry may be sinking into isolation or loneliness? Keep reading to learn some of the common signs. Should any of this sound familiar, please don’t delay in reaching out to medical professionals and experienced resources who can provide advice and assistance. Everyone deserves a life where they feel loved, connected, and appreciated!
Lack of Communication
Be aware of any changes in your loved one’s communication. Do they seem distant? Are they withdrawing? It may seem counterintuitive that someone who is lonely would decrease in their desire to communicate, but this is a sign of depression and mental and emotional distress.
Loneliness and isolation can cause a change in cognitive ability, making it difficult to concentrate on basic tasks like keeping a conversation, doing household tasks, and taking care of hygiene. When the mind is weighted down with the feelings caused by isolation and loneliness, focusing on other things becomes all the more challenging.
Changes in Appearance and Hygiene
Emotional stress can take on an outward presence. Be aware of any changes in the way your loved one looks, speaks, moves about, and cares for themselves. Most often it will be signs of rapid aging due to stress and a decreased quality of life. Should it be something more than the isolation that is causing these changes, it’s still something that must be addressed promptly.
Decreased Interest in Food, Socializing, and Hobbies
Were there hobbies and activities your loved one used to enjoy but now have given them up? Sadness from isolation can cause people to lose interest in things they once loved. A decreased appetite is also a key sign that something more is going on with their mental or physical health.
Much like a lack of concentration, depression, isolation, and loneliness can make it hard to focus on anything else, causing memory problems. If you find your loved one is easily forgetting recent memories or struggling to maintain a schedule without prompting, this could be a sign there is something more going on.
And finally, as you visit and check in with your loved one, take note of their mood. We all have “off” days, but if you find this is becoming more and more frequent, there could be more going on. When isolation and loneliness cause us to become disconnected from the world around us, moods become less predictable and controllable. Sadness, anger, and frustration may quickly take over a situation when the person feels out of control and overwhelmed.
Take Action to Get Help
Are you or someone you know showing these signs and symptoms of loneliness? If so, take action promptly. The sooner you can identify the problem and seek resources and support to address what may be causing the isolation and loneliness, the better the outcome. No one should live a life feeling alone and void of meaningful engagement with others. Talk to a medical professional, seek advice from trained counselors, and help those you love to overcome this serious situation.