Social anxiety leads to great isolation. From the outside people may say “well that is good right? People with social anxiety avoid others so they don’t feel uncomfortable. They get what they wanted.” Well not necessarily. Everyone can endure some isolation and some might even enjoy it for the most part but no man is an island. Unfortunately those with social anxiety find it hard to make friends unless they find someone outgoing who makes them come out of their shell. To quote Robin Williams: “I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone.”
Is isolation an early death sentence?
Being all alone isn’t only detrimental to your mental health but it may also increase your chances of an early death. Studies have shown that a lack of social connections can increase the risk of death by 50% at a minimum. In some circumstances it was more than 90%. That is very similar to the risk caused by smoking and more than that from lack of exercise or obesity.
Keeping track of social relationships and health
In the four studies mentioned here, scientists tracked thousands of people from their youth to old age in order to determine the impacts of social interactions on health. In order to check social connections the researchers asked questions regarding the structure and quantity of peoples relationships as well as the quality. The results revealed a distinct connection between the amount of social connections a person had in their youth and later years and their physical health.
Researchers found that social isolation increased the risk of inflammation in adolescence by the same amount as not exercising. Having a poor social life increased the risk of high blood pressure in the elderly even more than risk factors like diabetes.
In keeping with the current theme this article is another reason to start addressing your social anxiety now and to stop isolating yourself. Your life literally depends on it.