Social isolation is an occurrence wherein a species experiences continued separation from other members of the species. Humans tend to suffer from this intentionally, consciously retreating and evading any forms of social contact. The term should not be confused with being anti-social, as the latter refers to negative and violent behaviors towards society, while social isolation does not do any harm to the public.
More than an ailment, this can be treated as a symptom or an offshoot of other events. Generally, people who feel that they do not fit the norm may display this behavior. Those with physical disorders can, as a result, feel unattractive and embarrassed and would shy away from social contact. Psychological disorders such as schizophrenia or paranoia can alter a person’s perspective of how people can treat them, which can cause the isolation.
Usually, a low self-esteem can also be associated with wanting to be alone. Social isolation may be a symptom of a problem, but it can also result in worse and more harmful illnesses. Such illnesses can include body dysmorphic disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, drug and alcohol abuse, and depression. All of these can somehow be an attempt to be cope with the isolation.
Aside from mental disorders and damaging actions, social isolation is also found to cause many physiological and mental risk factors. Studies show that people who experience depression and seclusion have inferior immune systems, which can lead to many sicknesses. Isolation can even trigger obesity, as some people turn to eating food in large amounts to comfort themselves. On the other hand, social interaction is known to benefit the human heart. The brain also improves its performance when stimulated by human contact and conversation.
When isolation is severe, it can also cause a person to have suicidal thoughts, which can lead to death. Many research studies have shown that modern technologies may have been a cause for an increased social isolation among people. In 2009, 25 percent of Americans reported they felt like they cannot confide in anyone, as opposed to 10 percent during 1985. Communication is so convenient through the use of text messages, phone calls, and emails that people do not feel the need to interact in a personal way, experts have said.
On the opposite end, some researches assert that technology helps an individual cope with loneliness. Social networks give registered members the freedom to express themselves through blog posts and “shout outs.” Other members, in turn, give comfort through responses and comments. In this case, technology creates a bridge that links people together, no matter how distant, perhaps making people handle social isolation better.