Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Isolation & the Brain

I live alone and except for my cell phone, some zoom calls, and delivery persons, I have been isolated. My memory seems much worse that it was at the beginning of the pandemic. Some days I feel like I’m going crazy!

 You are not alone. A Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2018 found that 1 in 10 Americans feel lonely or isolated all or most of the time—and that was before COVID-19. Social isolation brings with it its own health cost and can affect mental health. The human brain is relational. Granted, different brains need more relational connection than others—but regular human connection is vital. A correlation between viral attacks on the brain and resulting mental-health symptoms has been well-documented since the 18th Century. Social isolation during the early postnatal period of development can lead to several abnormal and lasting behavioral and pathophysiological features resembling the core symptoms of some neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia.  Estimates are that social isolation is the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day. 

 More tomorrow.

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