How To Tell If You’re Lonely

friends support each other

This week (May 9th-15th), Mental Health Awareness Week has been taking place, with loneliness the set theme for 2022, with the aim being to raise awareness of how loneliness can affect our mental health… and what we can do in practical terms to address the situation.

The Mental Health Foundation started the awareness campaign 21 years ago and the importance of it cannot be overstated, particularly now when life is so chaotic, with so much pressure coming from so many different quarters.

Figures from the organisation show that one in four of us feel lonely some or all of the time, so if this sounds like a familiar story to you, it’s important to know that you’re certainly not alone… and there is help and support available out there should you need it.

Some people are at a higher risk of feeling lonely than others and the longer we feel this way, the more at risk we are of developing mental health conditions.

However, it can be difficult to recognise loneliness in yourself, as many of the signs and symptoms are normal for people to experience.

While they may not be an indication of a more serious underlying concern, if certain behaviours and actions become more regular and more focus is placed on them, it’s possible that you are demonstrating the first signs of chronic loneliness.

Constantly feeling tired all the time has been linked to loneliness and lack of sleep or sleep disturbances could be an indication that you are more lonely than you think. 

A focus on the material things in life could also be a sign that you’re lonely, with studies showing that loneliness can drive people to go out and spend money on material objects as a way of filling the void they feel… however temporarily.

There is also a link between loneliness and food, with recent research from 2014 suggesting that eating disorders like binge eating, bulimia and anorexia are specifically related to loneliness, with the associated negative emotions contributing to eating disorder symptoms.

Feelings of loneliness and eating disorders can also be exacerbated by negative interpersonal relationships, including actual experiences and more skewed perceptions of events. 

The study noted that understanding the relationship between loneliness and eating disorders is vital in order to target the underlying intense emotions and provide the right kind of support. 

“We need to be aware of the power of loneliness as it applies to individuals in general and specifically to those struggling with disordered eating,” it concluded.

Dealing with loneliness can be difficult, but coping strategies from the Mental Health Foundation could prove useful, such as trying to do enjoyable things that will keep you busy, doing activities that stimulate your mind and getting physical exercise, even if it’s something as simple as going for a walk in the park when feeling overwhelmed.

For anorexia treatment in Manchester, get in touch with The Abbi Clinic today.

Published: 13 May 2022