Research has found that mental health and social interaction have a strong connection with one another.
We find that consistent and positive patterns of social interaction boost overall mental health as well as physical health. Humans naturally gravitate towards social interaction. Hanging out with friends, seeing the smiling face of another person, these moments of social interaction all trigger a response in our bodies.
It is a central part of an individual’s survival. Research has found that the neurotransmitters responsible for regulating stress and anxiety are typically released during these moments of social interaction.
We find that social interaction plays an important role in boosting and maintaining good physical and psychological health in an individual.
When we strip this away, we find the opposite effect. This can be observed in the prison system. Prisoners are removed from society as a punishment for their crimes. The social isolation is necessary for the safety of the community, and we can observe very clearly the effect the social isolation has on these individuals. Most inmates already have existing psychiatric disorders and so they experience an even greater decline in their mental health with the loss of social interaction.
The Impact of Social Isolation on Mental Health
There was a study done which found that rats would rather have social interaction than drugs such as heroin or methamphetamine. Another study found that individuals who experience lots of social interaction also experience lowered stress levels.
Social isolation is directly linked with many mental health illnesses and so we see the importance social interaction has upon overall wellbeing. A marked symptom of depression is social withdrawal. One risk factor we observe amongst individuals who commit mass shootings is social isolation. The effects of social isolation have a negative impact not only on the body but also the mind. Research finds that social isolation was linked to a higher release of cortisol in both men and women. Cortisol is a hormone the body produces in response to stress. If cortisol levels gets too high we
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