Friday, June 10, 2022

Loneliness as a root cause of symptom distress among older adults

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

A study by Victoria Powell et al titled: Loneliness longitudinally predicts the symptom cluster of pain, fatigue, and depression in older adults was first published on April 12, 2022 for the annual scientific meeting of the Gerontological Society of America. The study concludes that:
Loneliness strongly predicts the development of pain, fatigue, and depression as well as the symptom cluster over time in a large, nonclinical sample of older American adults.
This study with 5974 participants over the age of 50 is important in relation to older adults who are being treated for pain, fatigue, and depression with drug therapy when addressing their loneliness may significantly relieve the person's symptoms.

I am concerned about cultural loneliness since lonely and depressed people are more likely to die by suicide, assisted suicide or euthanasia.

This study examines the prevalence the cluster of symptoms (pain, fatigue, and depression) when these symptoms may not be directly related to the medical condition. The researchers write:
That the cluster is found in multiple unrelated conditions suggests that its etiology may be distinct from a specific condition but perhaps shared with several. One factor that appears to be associated with the emergence of this symptom cluster is the subjective experience of social isolation even when other people are present, which defines the phenomenon of loneliness. Loneliness is only modestly correlated with objective social isolation, and feeling lonely may predict poor outcomes better than objective social isolation.
The health effects of loneliness have been known for a long time. This study point out that:
However, when loneliness persists, the same responses that are adaptive in the short-term can cause adverse long-term health consequences. Indeed, loneliness has been associated with many poor outcomes, including a 26% increased risk of premature mortality. Moreover, the negative impact of loneliness may be increasing due to social distancing measures necessary for controlling the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
The researchers state:
We found that loneliness independently predicts the development of the symptom cluster of pain, fatigue, and depression in a large sample of older American adults. Those who reported loneliness at least “some of the time” had more than two-fold odds of developing the symptom cluster compared with those who “hardly ever or never” felt lonely.
This study also finds that loneliness not only exasperates pain, fatigue and depression, but it is often the root cause of pain, fatigue and depression. The study states:
Some have posited that pain, fatigue, and depression in combination could cause activity and mobility restrictions, resulting in social isolation and, in turn, feelings of loneliness. However, our findings suggest that loneliness precedes the symptom cluster. Indeed, others have observed the same directionality supporting that loneliness may play a causal role in the development of these symptoms together.
Several studies have proven that there are significant negative health consequences related to loneliness while this study proves that often pain, fatigue and depression are not just related to loneliness but caused by loneliness.

As for the issue of euthanasia, I have listed a series of articles that prove that loneliness is often the primary reason for requests and deaths by euthanasia.


Anonymous said...

Can you actually believe that we as a nation we have decided that suicide would be a solution for anything .How sad to see that we would think that our government, medical profession or any person on the face of this earth would consider murder as a solution for our elderly ,our unborn those who actually cannot support themselves. We cringe when we here of school shootings and yet we offer death as a solution for our elderly those who seemingly have lost hope rather than giving them hope..We can do so much better than this as a people as a nation as a community as a family let’s change this culture of death to one of hope we are so much above this evil thoughts that brought such legislation into our society our nations.Let s choose politicians that actually care about people about our nation not just getting elected let’s choose life for our unborn someone made a way for you and I we can make away for the unborn, the elderly , the discourage, those who have mental illness murder is not the solution we lock up those who commit that act and we turn a blind eye to others whose evil ideology has crept into our society calling good evil and evil good.Canada we are so much better than this.We have a Heavenly Father who loves and commanded us to love our neighbour as ourselves let’s do that, it will work it always worked in the past.Choose life for all and let’s save life not destroy it.blessings Marlyen

gordon friesen said...

"...the subjective experience of social isolation even when other people are present, which defines the phenomenon of loneliness. Loneliness is only modestly correlated with objective social isolation."

Dear Friends, I was particularly Struck by the bit quoted here. It points out the difference made by the sort of social interactions we have. Traditional human society depends upon family belonging. Post-Modern social theory projects the individual as a unit.

The Post-Modern individual is to be schooled by the collectivity, in the virtual absence of, and possibly in an openly hostile relation to, his or her parents. Also, he/she/it does not have a primary link to siblings, even if siblings exist, because nearly all activities are structured, and structured activities are age exclusive. Each child in the family is thus part of a different "herd" which serves as his primary social affiliation.

The strongest non-genetic bond among humans exists between exclusive pairs formed around the fact of reproduction. Post-Modern theory holds that pairing is independent of reproduction, and that reproduction is independent of pairing. Many pairs, therefore (that is many more than previously seen) do not have the powerful inducement to permanence that is naturally furnished by reproduction. Hence more people are not included in pairs, and more pairs are not durable.

All of this taken together means that many people do not have any significant organic family bonds.

And yet they are surrounded by people; they belong to groups; they belong to "communities"; they have many "friends". But even in that crowd of relations, they are lonely.

And then one day, they are in long-term care with no visitors whatsoever.

That is the Brave New World.