More and more people live alone – even in Germany. The increase in the number of single-person households may be associated with more mental illness. In this context, at least from a study of the French University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines.
As the researchers in the journal “Plos One” reports, develop living Alone in a 1.5 – to 2.5-times more likely to be one of the most common mental disorders than other people. In this category also depression as well as anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The connection had been observed in all age groups and in both sexes, the scientists report.
The study does not show, however, whether this Alone is the cause of the observed diseases, restrict the researchers the result. It is, however, that the statistical correlation between living Alone and diseases, especially in the case of the people who felt lonely.
The results are consistent with those of other studies. For example, a Finnish study in 2012 showed that the probability of getting within eight years of a Depression, is increased by living Alone by nearly 80 percent.
Germany: 41 Per Cent One-Person Households
There are various reasons why more and more people are living alone. In addition to a rising life expectancy and declining marriage and birth rates of some of these life-choose the form explicitly. In Germany 41 percent of all households in 2016, according to data from the Federal Statistical office, the so-called one-person households. Thus, the proportion is significantly above the EU average of 33 percent.
For the current investigation, the Team took advantage of the physicians of Louis Jacob of the University of Versailles, the data of about 20.500 people from great Britain who were between 16 and 64 years old. The subjects had participated in either the 1993, 2000 and 2007 at the “National Psychiatric Morbidity”-collection, using Interviews and questionnaires, their mental health was determined. In addition, the researchers requested information about the size and weight, alcohol dependency, drug use, social network, as well as the feeling of loneliness.
Between the three study years, the proportion of one-person households in the survey of 8.8 to 9.8 and finally, to 10.7 percent. At the same time, the Rate of common mental disorders grew from 14.1 to 16.3 and 16.4 percent. In all three surveys, there is a statistical correlation between living Alone and the spread of mental diseases was observed, so the doctors.
The largest influential factor is the loneliness was Felt someone lonely, was the risk of a mental illness is particularly high.
Living alone does not mean loneliness
For Arno Deister, chief physician of the centre for psycho-social medicine of the Klinikum Itzehoe, this finding is Central. “If you wanted to be alone, it can be for people is quite positive,” said Deister, who was not involved in the study. Solitude call, however, the unwanted loss of relationships.
From Deister point of view, the study is structured carefully and is important. The psychiatrist warns, however, to restore quickly the causal relationships: “In big cities, says he, for example, more people with mental illness, which is often explained in terms of the anonymity there,”. “Often mentally ill people are looking for but be aware of the anonymity, in addition, the supply situation in big cities is better.”
Moreover, If being alone meant that relations were missing, and could favor certain diseases. “On the other hand, it is about a Symptom of depression, that people are moving back,” said the psychiatrist. Not a shortcoming of the study is that the researchers collected this temporal relation. It remains, therefore, unclear, whether, first, the mental illness developed or the participants, first in a Single-person household moved.
Nevertheless to be adequately researched, that loneliness had a negative impact on the mental health, too, says the psychologist, Jürgen Margraf from the University of Bochum: “Stable and trusting social relations are the best protection for the mental and also physical health.”
Loneliness: a shame-studded theme
A social Problem is that solitude is still occupied shame. Many lonely people were looking for, therefore, is no help, says Deister. “A lot of it comes from the loneliness in the therapy never.” The physician advocates to put the issue to society and to sensitize people to have an eye on your fellow human beings.
Such awareness-raising was launched in the UK, as the country’s 2018 appointed a Minister for solitude. Whether or not it should enter this in Germany, too, is for Deister is not so important: “Rather solitary people should be shown that your solitude is your private problem.”
Also, each individual is asked, says Margraf: “If we shift our purchases now on the Internet, we have a massive Problem.” Instead, the company should promote spaces in which people meet. “You have to make sure that people talk to each other and exchange ideas.”