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Is Loneliness Related to Depression? The Differences & Commonalities

written by: Joy Lynskey • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 7/20/2010

Loneliness and depression have some very closely related signs and symptoms. Learn to recognize the difference in the two so that you may be able to help family or friends who may be suffering from one or both.

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    When searching for the answers on loneliness and how it is related to depression you may find some entirely confusing information. It is important to remember that you can indeed suffer from depression if you are not lonely, and that you can suffer from loneliness without having depression.

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    What Do Loneliness and Depression Have in Common?

    There are many signs and symptoms common to both of these feelings. Some of them include:

    • Feeling unworthy of love, attention or affection
    • Anti Social behavior
    • Self blaming thoughts and actions
    • Loss of self esteem
    • Sleep pattern changes, insomnia or excessive sleeping included
    • Fatigue
    • Obsessing over resolved past issues, arguments or decisions

    Although all of these symptoms can be signs of loneliness and depression, it is always recommended to see a medical professional if you have begun to suffer from any serious fatigue or physical illnesses.

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    What is the Difference Between Loneliness and Depression?

    The principle way to sum up loneliness and how it is related to depression is to weigh the differences. With depression often long term emotional suffering can manifest in the body as illnesses or out of character behavior. Although loneliness can also cause a person to act out of character, it should rarely if ever cause physical symptoms. With clinical depression the list of signs and symptoms become a bit more serious:

    • Unexplained mood swings
    • Excessive tearing or crying
    • Various changes in eating patterns
    • Loss of weight
    • Irritability
    • Problems with concentrating
    • Random body aches such backaches and headaches

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    Can Extended Loneliness Lead to Depression?

    The best way to be able to determine if you are suffering from a random bout of the loneliness blues or are actually beginning to fall into a depression is to know your body. With loneliness and how it is related to depression running such a close race in the list of signs and symptoms, knowing if you are suffering unusual mental or physical changes is the best way to keep an eye on your mental, emotional and physical health.

    If you begin to notice any changes in your health try to keep a small diary to monitor the changes. If they start to become annoying or begin to lead you into a state of depression and anxiety, grab up your diary and carry it to your medical professional. There is a lot of help available out there in the forms of free clinics, non profit organizations as well as medical facilities that will be able to help you determine if you are suffering from a bout of the loneliness, or if you will need to see a physician because there maybe something more serious going on for which you might need specialist treatment.

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    References:

    http://www.industrialpsychiatry.org/article.asp?issn=0972-6748;year=2009;volume=18;issue=1;spage=51;epage=55;aulast=Singh

    http://www.ejop.org/archives/2006/11/personality_tra.html