When faced with danger, humans draw closer together. Social distancing thwarts this impulse. Professor Ophelia Deroy from Ludwigs-Maximilians Universitaet in Munich (LMU) and colleagues argue that this dilemma poses a greater threat to society than overtly antisocial behavior.
Over long periods of time, social isolation can increase the risk of a variety of health problems, including heart disease, depression, dementia, and even death. A 2015 meta-analysis of the scientific literature by Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a research psychologist at Brigham Young University, and colleagues determined that chronic social isolation increases the risk of mortality by 29%.
The quality and quantity of individuals’ social relationships has been linked not only to mental health but also to both morbidity and mortality.
Multidisciplinary research priorities for the COVID-19
pandemic: a call for action for mental health science
PDF download of the paper available from The Lancet: https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lanpsy/PIIS2215-0366(20)30168-1.pdf
A study by King’s College London has found that putting suspected coronavirus patients in quarantine could cause long-lasting, psychological damage. Spending weeks in isolation can trigger PTSD, depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even drug abuse.