“You’re Not the Only One”: Experts Speak Out Loneliness Declared an Epidemic in America

Loneliness has become an epidemic in the United States, according to US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. In a recent report, he stated that the country is experiencing a crisis of disconnection, which has resulted in costly consequences. Murthy has urged people to strengthen their relationships to combat the situation.

The report highlights that one in two people are battling loneliness, which has adverse impacts on the body, similar to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day. Age, social status, and geographic location do not matter as the situation afflicts everyone. Dr. Deborah Fernandez-Turner, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, revealed that many people are experiencing depression and anxiety, making it challenging to find timely help.

Loneliness is more than just a sad feeling, according to the Surgeon General. It lies at the heart of many health problems prevalent in the country. Isolation creates a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, depression, anxiety, and premature death. There are also various warning signs, including difficulty in enjoying hobbies. People are spending more time scrolling on social media instead of interacting with friends, and this may indicate the existence of loneliness and isolation.

To combat loneliness, the Surgeon General suggests prioritizing making time to connect. This can be achieved by answering friends’ calls, sharing meals, listening without distractions, and volunteering. Dr. Fernandez-Turner highlights the importance of knowing that you are not alone in feeling lonely. She emphasizes that normalizing the situation will motivate people to take action to alleviate their loneliness.

People can also seek professional help by scheduling sessions with therapists at CVS MinuteClinic or by calling the toll-free Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Line at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). The problem of loneliness affects everyone, but it can be combated by understanding its warning signs and taking necessary action to foster relationships.

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