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Is Loneliness Deadlier Than Drugs?

4 min readMay 5, 2023


Did you know that loneliness can be as harmful to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day?

According to a study by Holt-Lunstad et al. (2010), the impact of loneliness on mortality is comparable to that of well-established risk factors such as smoking and alcohol consumption.

The Science Behind Loneliness and Its Effects on Health

Loneliness is a complex and multifaceted experience, which can be defined as a subjective feeling of social isolation, lack of companionship, or feeling disconnected from others.

Research has shown that loneliness is associated with a myriad of health issues, including increased stress, depression, anxiety, and even cognitive decline (Cacioppo & Cacioppo, 2018).

In 2015, a groundbreaking study by Cole et al. found that loneliness can have a profound impact on our immune system, making us more susceptible to infections and diseases.

The study revealed that lonely individuals had higher levels of inflammation markers and weaker antiviral responses than their socially connected counterparts.

Moreover, loneliness can have severe consequences on our cardiovascular health.




Psychology Expert | MSc Social and Cultural Psychology