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Depression and Loneliness

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While being depressed and being lonely are not mutually inclusive or exclusive situations, numerous studies have indicated that some correlation at least may exist between the two. Often, people who suffer from long-term loneliness are far more likely to experience some sort of depression than those who are only periodically lonely, however, sometimes the situation may sometimes reverse.

Generally speaking, though, the reason the two things are so often tied together is because of the characteristics which they have in common. Both involve feelings of helplessness, a sense of loss and may eventually lead to disinterest in activities that one derived enjoyment from in the past. Both can impact diet, sleep and work habits. And finally, both can severely hinder the mental health of a given person.

The best way to tell cases of depression and loneliness apart is gauging why someone is alone. If it is because they lack the social skills or experience to communicate effectively with others, then odds are the person is struggling with loneliness. If, on the other hand, a person feels a perpetual sadness about the world and all things in it, then more often than not, that person is struggling with depression.

Also key in differentiating between loneliness and depression is the duration of the sad feelings. The longer someone has been alone and/or down, the more likely that he or she is actually suffering from depression and is not simply sad about being alone.

Finally, the best flag to look for when attempting to tell the two apart may be determining the amount of guilt felt. Usually, sufferers who experience severe guilt trips are more likely to be suffering from depression than simply dealing with loneliness.

While depression and loneliness are not the same thing and should not be characterized as such, both are very serious. Anyone who is suffering from either one should find a person to talk to, be it a friend, family member or trained mental health professional, and get the necessary help to solve the problem.

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