Recent studies suggest that people who live alone are far more prone to depression. The COVID-19 pandemic has made the situation worse because even the normal social interactions that help people forget their loneliness for some time is not possible. It is this that has caused the rise in the consumption of drugs, alcohol, liquor, tobacco and other addictive substances among those who live alone. These may provide some short-term solace, but the dependencies that are created will, in the long term, make the loneliness and the related depression worse. Research also shows that living alone lowers immunity against diseases, increases blood pressure and the possibility of dementia in later years, among other physical and psychological disorders.
There Is a Solution
The problem with loneliness related depression is that the onset is so gradual that people are not aware of the change in their mental state. It is only when the condition becomes intolerable or when others get involved that treatment is sought. By this time, the condition will have reached a stage where extensive treatment and therapy will be required to overcome the problem. Had action been taken earlier, the cure would have been simple. If you are living alone and are feeling the pressure of your condition, there are some actions you can take to improve the situation:
- Make an extra effort to maintain the relationships you have and use the internet to contact people and communicate with them as social distancing protocols prevent physical interactions.
- Your friends and co-workers will often mention things they have done with others. Show an interest in these activities and get in touch with other people and increase your network.
- Social media is a good window to get in touch with the outside world, if used properly. Keep updating your profile and keep your online image a positive one. It will draw people to you. Ensure that you follow all the safety precautions advised for social media use.
- Are you living alone out of choice or necessity? If it is by choice, why not think about making changes? If it is due to necessity, review your current situation and check if you have more lifestyle options open to you.
These actions will help you ward off the symptoms of depression though they are not a long-term solution. You cannot fight it alone. Depression is a disease like any other and just as physical disorders are cured by doctors, depression can be overcome with professional counselling. The counsellor will be able to work with you to help you understand the causes of depression. With their knowledge, guidance, support and some lifestyle modifications you will be able to live a positive, productive and happy life. If you live alone and are depressed or even if you feel your life is not what it should be, contact a professional counselling organization to get the help you need to return to a happier quality of life.