Loneliness can be worse than smoking 15 cigarettes a day

The psychologist Javier Yanguas says that "in relationships we play the future of what we want to be"

The problem is such that some American insurance companies already include it in their offers.

Ser Chain | 8/26/19

The loneliness has been a major social problem in America and has reached such a point that has already become a business. This is reflected in the report "Friends and hugs are bought: the epidemic of loneliness in the United States is already a business" that Antonia Laborde has written from Washington for the newspaper El País.

The situation is such that health authorities have come to warn that feeling alone is as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day; and is that more than half of American adults are convinced that nobody really knows them and 46% admit to feeling lonely sometimes or always according to a survey of Cigna and Ipsos companies.


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The economic profitability of loneliness

Insurance companies already take into account this problem in their health plans and the company CareMore Health offers two years the program States that in practice is to make weekly phone calls or visits to the patient's home.

In La Ventana we have spoken with Javier Yanguas, psychologist and scientific director of the Senior Program of the "La Caixa" Foundation who believes that this American reality is not far from the Spanish. In addition, Yanguas points out that these accompaniment programs are not a solution to the problem: "I think the challenge we have is that of loneliness; and the reverse of loneliness is not non-loneliness, to feel accompanied; the real reverse of loneliness is to have good social relations."

Caring for social relationships

Yanguas is convinced that we live in a "slightly dark time" in which "we don't like complicated things"; and he believes that having good social relations is a complicated thing: "Our children scream at us, our brother makes us don't know what ... He has that bad part too."

"Likewise, the problem we have is not only that of loneliness, but we have a world in which we have been taking away good things or things that social relations give us for greater individualism, for a greater momentary triumph of the person"; Yanguas explains that he thinks it is something reversible, although "now the pendulum swings to the side of individualism."

More and more individualism

This psychologist believes that the problem of loneliness and social networks is also related to other problems such as the Open Arms ship "has to do with a way of not recognizing the other (...) We are becoming increasingly individualistic, we get more inward and in that direction the world seems to be going. And the loneliness I think is a part of that kind of pendulum that leads us to be alone. "

Yagues believes that it is difficult to reverse this situation, which is something that must be done "generating new discourses more community, less individualistic, more gold, more long term, more investing relationships ..."; and, although he does believe that all this is difficult, he assures that it is fundamental to do it because "in relationships we play the future of what we want to be in short".