Impact of Loneliness
“2010 study concluded that weak social connections are associated with a reduction in lifespan similar to the effect of smoking 15 cigarettes a day.” Social isolation leads to depression and violent behavior. In the novel, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, the creature suffered from social isolation which led him to act out of violence and murder many. Socializing is a necessity to have great mental health and to avoid depression, suicide, and violent behavior.
Socializing is essential to improving mental health because it has a positive impact on the mind. “Interacting leads to and develops social cohesion, which is key for establishing social integration” (Hill 25-45). Social cohesion works towards the well being of individuals by giving them a sense of belonging by avoiding exclusion. This is important for establishing social integration because it incorporates multiple social groups such as religious and cultural groups. “High levels of social integration indicates high levels of happiness” (Hill 25-45) because these groups help individuals stray away from depression and loneliness since people are surrounded by positive influences. Happiness comes from the feeling of being loved and supported by strong relationships. The “MTV/associated press poll found that for 13-24 year olds, spending time with friends ranked second in importance for causing happiness” (Hill 25-45). Being surrounded by our friends and loved one’s causes our self esteem to rise, stress management improves, and our health risk decreases. Increasing social connections can give positive impacts on the body, which can help fight diseases Having positive relationships also decrease the depression, suicidal thoughts, and substance abuse. Without socializing, people lack positive relationships and fall into depression.
Loneliness impacts the brain tremendously leading to numbers of psychological issues. French sociologists Emile Durkheim “warns about the lack of social connectedness” (Hill 25-45). Being isolated can lead to Anomie which is the feeling of despair and normlessness, according to Durkheim. People who have this feeling lose sense of reality. Loneliness can be caused by social changes, breakups, family issues, and numbers of other problems. When someone is lonely the brain will push the idea into their thoughts because we were born to socialize. Our brain needs interactions to survive. Without interactions, psychological issues come to play. Social isolation can cause clinical disorders such as, Depression, Schizophrenia, Paranoid Personality Disorder, Personality, Personality Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, etc, etc… Loneliness can also lead to criminal behavior such as violence because of built up anger. For example, if someone is neglected or bullied, one might feel the need to get revenge. This
is due to the treatment in which they received. According to Elena Blanco, researchers have found that social isolation affects the activation of dopaminergic and serotonergic neurons, which is important for mental health. The Dopaminergic neurons are activated to response to severe isolation, which tells the brain to engage with others, trying to improve mental health. Sometimes instead of improving mental health, one might fall into criminal behavior. The Creature lacked socializing and faced neglect from Frankenstein and humans because of his appearance. He had minimal contact with others which took a mental toll on him leading him to act out in violence. Due to inactivity, he soon murdered multiple people but suffocation. Social isolation can take a toll on someone’s mental health causing numbers of psychological problems.
Social isolation does not only affect the mind, it affects the body. “45% of respondents aged 24 to 25 claim that they feel lonely…” (Alone in the Crowd 49) which means about forty five percent of adults between twenty-four and twenty five are at health risks. Loneliness weakens the immune system allowing diseases to overtake the immune system. People are lonely often develop heart attacks, strokes, cancer putting them at risk. According to Psychology Today, researchers have been studying how loneliness plays a role on genes. Genes that promote inflammation are more active in lonely people which is why some people are prone to diseases, while other aren’t. These genes are more active than inhibit inflammation genes. Inhibit inflammation genes are not as active in people who are lonely. People who are lonely fall into drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, and obesity which can weaken the body and its immune system. This allows diseases to take over the body.
Depression can affect someone’s mental state throughout their life. Most people experience depression at least once in their life because of multiple factors. There are three main types of depression; Dysphoric Mood, Dysthymia Mood, and Clinical Depression. A person can fall into depression because of a breakup, work related issue, loss of a family member, graduation, and many more. Depression causes physical changes and mental changes leading someone to sickness, drugs habits, or even violence. People are depressed put themselves at risk of diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, cancer, etc… because the immune system is weakened. Depression also affects confidence, causing them to have low self esteem, the feeling of hopelessness, and the feeling of being lonely. People who fall into depression often become lonely because of the lack of interactions and social skills. The monster most likely suffered from depression because he was neglected. He hated the way he looked which is a sign of depression. In the novel he saw his reflection in water and got angry because he realized he was ugly. He felt there was no hope because nobody would like him because he felt hideous.
Depression has multiple levels that can be minor or severe. The first state is the Dysphoric Mood, which is minor. Dysphoric Mood is also known as Dysphoria which is a caused by stress, breakups, graduation, and other environmental problems. Dysphoric Mood leaves people feeling sad, having loss of motivation, muscular weakness, and hunger. Researchers classify Dysphoria as a mood because of people have brief moments of the feeling. While most people get Dysphoria for a short amount of time, some can experience it through a longer time period. Someone who suffers from long term Dysphoria fall into clinical depression or mania.
The next level of depression is known as Dysthymia Mood. Dysthymia Mood is more severe than Dysphoric Mood. Dysthymia Mood is a long term depression that “keeps people from functioning at their best or from feeling good” (Gurung 48-657). An individual who experiences Dysthymia mood are gloomy all day. People who experience this mood develop eating problems, sleeping problems, concentration problems, and tiredness. These individuals often times become insecure and feel hopeless. This can interfere with everyday life and will slow someone down.
Finally, Clinical Depression is known as a depressive disorder and is the most severe depression. Clinical depression is a long term depression that interferes with way of life. Most people with the depressive order develop anxiety, changes in appetite, sleep, motor functions, suicidal thoughts, loss of interest, dissatisfaction, energy, and concentration. “Over 50% of students in the United States have experienced mental health problems” (Frequency of depression… 468) opening up health risks for students. Clinical depression causes immune problems because depression weakens the immune system allowing diseases to take over the body. The creature suffered from social isolation and depression because he was abandoned by Frankenstein and neglected by the villagers. In the novel “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley, Frankenstein created a creature that could sustain sickness and wounds. His goal was to make a beautiful creature, but when it came to life he abandoned him because he thought it was hideous. The creature then traveled looking for his owner and ran into a village. Not knowing the consequences he walked into the village when “The whole village was aroused: some fled, some attacked…”(Shelly 103) because of his looks. This affected him causing him to become depressed. He grew angry and took it out on Frankenstein. Since he was lonely and depression he killed Henry Clerval and Frankenstein’s wife, Elizabeth because of the way he was treated. Social Isolation led to the Creature to act of violence and caused depression.
In conclusion, Social isolation leads to depression and violent behavior because the mind changes in these dark times. Some people use violence, some use drugs, while others completely shut people out. In the novel Frankenstein, the creature was shut out and was not accepted by others causing him to fall into depression and take is anger out by the use of violence.