Loneliness Is As Dangerous As Smoking 15 Cigarettes Per Day

Loneliness is an epidemic. It's as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Social isolation hurts our mental and physical health. Combat it through connections.

Loneliness and social isolation have comparable effects to people as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Ever feel a sense of emptiness, even when surrounded by others? Ever experience the ache of isolation, as if no one truly understands you?

If so, you're not alone. Loneliness has become an epidemic in our modern society. Surgeon general Vivek Murthy states that it's as dangerous to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day [1].

Loneliness can be devastating to our mental health. It can leave us feeling disconnected from the world around us. That leaves us stressed, anxious, and depressed. Without meaningful social connections, we'd struggle to find a sense of purpose and belonging in our lives. It's a great emotional strain.

It doesn't stop there. Loneliness can harm our physical health. Chronic loneliness is linked to a higher likelihood of developing heart disease [2]. We can't ignore that. Just like smoking cigarettes damages our cardiovascular system, prolonged loneliness can have detrimental effects on our hearts.

In this article, we’ll explore the profound impact that loneliness has on both our mental and physical health. We’ll delve into the scientific evidence behind the link between loneliness and heart disease, shedding light on why this issue deserves urgent attention.

We’ll provide strategies for combating loneliness. We'll cover building strong social support systems. Everyone deserves to feel connected and valued in their own lives.

Loneliness on Our Mental Health

Mental health can be a serious problem for people who feel lonely.

You may not realise it, but the constant feeling of loneliness can slowly chip away at your mental well-being.


Loneliness has profound psychological impacts that can significantly affect our overall mental health. One of the most common consequences of loneliness is depression. When you constantly feel isolated and disconnected from others, you develop sadness, hopelessness, and lack of motivation.

Social isolation also has severe consequences for our mental well-being. Without regular social interactions and meaningful connections with others, we are more likely to experience heightened levels of anxiety. Lacking support systems and social connections can make us feel vulnerable and anxious. We'll be anxious about facing life's challenges alone.


Loneliness can also lead to increased stress levels. A study by Holt-Lunstad et al. (2010) showed that the lack of social relationships can increase mortality risk [3]. The stress resulting from loneliness can have serious implications for our health.


Sleep is crucial for our overall health and wellbeing. Loneliness can negatively affect our sleep quality. A study by Matthews et al. (2017) found that loneliness can lead to poor sleep quality in young adults [4]. Loneliness can disrupt our sleep patterns, leading to further health issues.


There's a connection between loneliness and cognitive decline [5]. When we're socially isolated, our brains don't receive certain stimulations. We need those stimulations to stay sharp and engaged. As a result, cognitive abilities such as memory, attention span, and problem-solving skills may start to deteriorate faster than usual.

The psychological impacts of loneliness cannot be underestimated. Loneliness is strongly associated with depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline. All these factors contribute to poor mental well-being.

Loneliness on Our Physical Wellbeing

Loneliness isn't just a state of mind. It also has significant physical implications. The impact of loneliness on our physical wellbeing can be severe. Let's delve into how loneliness can affect our physical health.


Social isolation and loneliness are health issues as much as they're social issues. They are significant risk factors for mortality [3]. This means that feeling lonely and isolated can shorten your lifespan, much like chronic diseases can.

Heart Health and Blood Pressure

Loneliness can also have severe implications for our heart health. But how bad could it possibly be compared to smoking? Is feeling lonely really as deadly as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day?

Social isolation and loneliness are risk factors for coronary heart disease and stroke [2]. Feeling lonely can lead to hypertension, or high blood pressure. It's a condition that can lead to other serious health issues.


Physical frailty refers to your susceptibility to health issues. Being more frail means being more prone to conditions that harm your physical wellbeing. Loneliness can contribute to physical frailty [6].

Loneliness can have a profound impact on our physical health. It can lead to increased mortality, heart disease, high blood pressure, and frailty. To maintain our physical wellbeing, we should recognize and address feelings of loneliness.

Strategies for Combating Loneliness

A group of friends smiling and laughing together.

Loneliness can feel like a heavy burden. Remember that you're not alone in this struggle. Many people experience periods of loneliness. Thankfully, there are many strategies available to help combat these feelings.

Reach Out to Others

Reaching out to others is one of the best things you could do. This could be friends, family, or even acquaintances. Don't wait for them to reach out to you. Take initiative. Make the first move. It's simple. Send a text message, make a phone call, or invite someone for a coffee.

Join Social Activities

Social activities are a great way to connect with people. This could be anything from joining a club, participating in a hobby group, or volunteering for a local charity. This will provide you with a sense of community. It will also give you something to look forward to.

Seek Professional Help

If your feelings of loneliness persist, it may be beneficial to seek professional help. Therapists and counsellors are trained to help you navigate your feelings. They can provide you with strategies to combat loneliness.

Connect Online

In today's digital age, there are numerous online platforms and communities. Use them to connect with others amidst this loneliness epidemic. Social media, online forums, or virtual meetups provide countless opportunities to connect with people from all over the world.

Adopt a Pet

Pets can provide companionship and unconditional love. It could be a dog, cat, or goldfish. Caring for a pet can provide a sense of purpose and companionship.

Practice Self-Care

Lastly, it's important to take care of yourself. This includes

  1. Eating a healthy diet
  2. Getting regular exercise
  3. Ensuring you get enough sleep
  4. Doing something you enjoy

Self-care is crucial in maintaining both physical and mental health, and can help to alleviate feelings of loneliness.

Remember, it's okay to feel lonely sometimes. But if you find that it's taking a toll on you, reach out for help. You're not alone. There are many resources and strategies available to help you combat loneliness.


As we wrap things up, let's be clear about one thing: loneliness packs a serious punch. It can mess with your mind and your body. It can leave you feeling down in the dumps or experiencing heart issues. Yeah, it's as serious as puffing down 15 cigarettes a day.

But there's good news. We're not helpless. In fact, we're learning a ton about loneliness. The COVID-19 pandemic forced us all to take a crash course in staying alone.

You've got options. Hit up your old pals or make new ones. Join social groups or start your own. There are ways to chat with online therapists now. A furry friend could also help – nothing beats a wagging tail or a purring companion at the end of a long day. And let's not forget about looking after ourselves with good food, exercise, and plenty of sleep.

Bottom line? It's totally normal to feel lonely sometimes. It's totally okay to ask for help when you need it. There's an entire world out there, ready to connect with you. Loneliness is tough, but we're tougher. So, hang in there and remember, we're all in this together.