Monthly Article Archives: February 2018

Similar to Smoking 15 Cigarettes a DayRobert Brooks, Ph.D.

Loneliness is A Bad Thing

Dr. Vivek Murthy, former U.S. Surgeon General, was interviewed by Felice Freyer for an article that appeared last month in The Boston Globe.  Murthy highlighted a condition that he believes is more prevalent than many people realize and represents a major health issue, including a heightened risk for cardiovascular disease and chronic illnesses.  He noted that its effect on mortality was similar to “smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”  What is the condition that is so injurious to our health?  “Loneliness.”  In the interview with Freyer, Murthy asserted that loneliness “places the body in a chronic stress state and increases inflammation levels. . . .  Essentially that data is telling us that loneliness kills.”  Murthy recently published a thought-provoking article in the Harvard Business Review examining the presence and impact of loneliness in the workplace.  He defined loneliness as “the subjective feeling of having inadequate social connections” and noted,  “Rates of loneliness have doubled since the 1980s and affected people of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds across the country.” He added this sobering observation about the consequences of a lack of connections with other people.  “During my years caring for patients the most common pathology I saw was not heart disease

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