Social isolation kills more people than obesity does—and it’s just as stigmatized.
Over the winter I moved from Lahre City to IslamAbad, The reasons for my move were purely logical. Lahore was expensive and stressful. Islam Abad, I reasoned, would offer me the space and time to do my work.
Upon arriving, I rented a house and happily went out in search of "my people." I went to parks, bookstores. I even tried golfing. It wasn't that I didn't meet people. I did. I just felt no connection to any of them.
Once social and upbeat, I became morose and mildly paranoid. I knew I needed to connect to people to feel better, but I felt as though I physically could not handle any more empty interactions. I woke up in the night panicked. In the afternoon, loneliness came in waves like a fever. I had no idea how to fix it.
Feeling uncertain, I began to research loneliness and came across several alarming recent studies. Loneliness is not just making us sick, it is killing us. Loneliness is a serious health risk. Studies of elderly people and social isolation concluded that those without adequate social interaction were twice as likely to die prematurely.
The increased mortality risk is comparable to that from smoking. And loneliness is about twice as dangerous as obesity.