Search engines receive many questions about feeling alone and loneliness. In this page, we provide short answers to many of the more commonly searched “What’s the difference between …and…” or ‘versus’ questions. For fuller answers, we encourage you to explore the website.
Loneliness is the effect of feeling poor quality relationships. Isolation is being separated from others or your environment. So being isolated and loneliness are related both as causes and symptoms. You can be isolated and become lonely, and you can be lonely and start withdrawing, thereby isolating yourself.
The difference between lonely (subjective feeling) and being alone (objective being on your own) is about how you perceive your situation. You can feel solitude (positive) or lonely (discomfort) when you are on your own. Being alone for prolonged periods is socially isolating, which increases loneliness.
The difference between loneliness and smoking to the overall outcome of our health are similar; both being detrimental to population health. Research has found that the health risk of loneliness is equivalent to the health risk of smoking 15 cigarettes per day.
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