More at the link:
Once social and upbeat, I became morose and mildly paranoid. I knew I needed to connect to people to feel better, but I felt as though I physically could not handle any more empty interactions. I woke up in the night panicked. In the afternoon, loneliness came in waves like a fever. I had no idea how to fix it.
Feeling uncertain, I began to research loneliness and came across several alarming recent studies. Loneliness is not just making us sick, it is killing us. Loneliness is a serious health risk. Studies of elderly people and social isolation concluded that those without adequate social interaction were twice as likely to die prematurely.
The increased mortality risk is comparable to that from smoking. And loneliness is about twice as dangerous as obesity.
“Admitting you are lonely is like holding a big L up on your forehead,” says John T. Cacioppo of the University of Chicago, who studies how loneliness and social isolation affect people’s health.
He admitted that on an airplane he once became acutely embarrassed while holding a copy of his own book, which had the word Loneliness emblazoned on the front cover. He had the impulse to turn the cover inside-out so that people couldn’t see it. “For the first time I actually experienced the feeling of being lonely and everyone knowing it,” he says.
Now this is not new information on life expectancy, but it does raise on enormously interesting point: why IS loneliness stigmatized?
Topic at the request of Depression gaf, so don't be a dick.