Overcoming Loneliness!


An Electronic Mental Health Newsletter from Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. & Associates
                                                Volume 17, Number 2

This month’s letter is about the epidemic of loneliness. In 2020, pre-pandemic, thirty-six percent of Americans felt serious loneliness according to research from Harvard University. During and after the pandemic, loneliness thrived.

Being kept apart from family and co-workers has taken a big toll on our mental health, especially for children. People need personal contact with others to feel a sense of belongingness and importance.

Loneliness causes people to feel empty, alone, and unwanted. But just being with people is not a solution to being lonely. Loneliness is a state of mind, and the good news is that loneliness can be overcome.

Our February e-Letter is entitled Overcoming Loneliness! Dr. Kimmel’s blog is about the Fifth Anniversary of the MSD shootings and can be found here.

We hope you find the enclosed information helpful and interesting. We also thank you for reading our e-Letters and for the positive and compassionate comments we have received.


Loneliness today is a huge and serious problem. Some experts even think it is an epidemic and one of the continued consequences of the pandemic. Not only does it affect us psychologically, but it also has medical implications. It should not be taken lightly.

Loneliness is not just having friends or social contacts. One can be quite lonely being surrounded by other people or co-workers. In fact, research has shown that 60% of married people are lonely.

Loneliness is a state of mind that is often brought on by a loss of close/loved ones, divorce, breakups, job loss, move to new communities, or contagion from other lonely people. Since it is a state of mind, a person can be surrounded by other people yet still feel lonely.

Individuals/influencers, performers, or other celebrities can have thousands of followers but still feel lonely as they may not have a personal connection.

In contrast, loneliness is quite different from solitude. Solitude, which can have very positive effects on people, can improve concentration, productivity, relaxation, and creativity. Being alone doesn’t necessarily mean that a person is lonely. It is not uncommon for professionals who deal with people such as psychotherapists, physicians, teachers, etc. to enjoy their solitude by not having to interact with others.

Loneliness has been shown to be a cause of depression, alcoholism, drug use, and other addictions such as gambling. Many people, for example, spend their days in casinos where they are not alone and are engaged in what may be stimulating activities. But the high wears off once they leave.

People who are lonely may also have significant sleep problems, feel different from others, and can be pessimistic about their ability to succeed in life. They may overeat and overwatch television programs as an avoidance of their loneliness.

Chronic loneliness has been found to be associated with cardiovascular disease and an increased risk of stroke. Often, lonely people have increased high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and impaired cell immunity causing vaccines to be less effective.

One of the best ways to overcome loneliness is to get a pet. The presence of animal companions can reduce feelings of loneliness and depression. It can easily allow a connection to another living entity that can provide affection, love, and support. A bonus is the opportunity to meet other pet owners.

Psychotherapy can help to reverse negative thoughts, provide support for new behaviors, and develop ways of connecting with other people. Group therapy can be extremely helpful in understanding others and developing connections with others.

Loneliness can be overcome by changing that mindset. We offer the following information:


Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been…
Lives in a dream…
Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door…
Who is it for?
All the lonely people…Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people…Where do they all belong?… Paul McCartney/Beatles


  • Loneliness is a state of mind where people feel isolated, unwanted, empty, unimportant, anxious, and/or depressed
  • Loneliness can occur even when with or surrounded by people
  • A study by Morning Consult, commissioned by Cigna, found that 58% of U.S. adults can be considered lonely
  • Even though they may be married, 60% of people feel lonely in their marriage
  • Loneliness is subjective: even though people may have friends, they can still feel disconnected from them
  • Being lonely may be temporary due to environmental factors or chronic due to personality characteristics or a mental disorder
  • Loneliness has also been described as “social pain” since people feel disconnected from others
  • Medically, loneliness is highly correlated with alcoholism, depression, poor sleep, isolation, weight gain, and anxiety
  • Loneliness also increases the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease as social isolation can impair cellular immunity
  • Even people with a large social network of followers can still feel lonely as it is the quality of the connection to others that matters
  • Loneliness is often caused by a relationship break up, move to a new location, self-isolation, divorce, grief, low self-esteem, lack of confidence, and depression
  • In children, loneliness is linked to antisocial behavior including hostility, delinquency, and violent acting-out
  • Emotional support animals such as cats, dogs, and horses can be very effective in decreasing loneliness and depression
  • Research has shown that decreasing social media use can lead to a decrease in loneliness and an improvement in well-being; in-person interactions are better


  • Understand the importance of social connection with others
  • Recognize when you are lonely; be active to feel better
  • Understand that loneliness can affect you physically as well as emotionally
  • Push yourself to talk to others; connecting with them can cause good feelings
  • Interact with people in person rather than online; this will boost endorphins
  • Push yourself to talk regularly with neighbors and co-workers
  • Volunteer for community service to meet other people with similar interests
  • Join a book club, card game, team sport, travel group, or religious organization
  • Attend discussions or lectures, work out at a gym, volunteer at a school
  • Focus on positive thoughts and attitudes and be upbeat around others
  • Seek professional help if you cannot overcome your feelings of loneliness, depression, pessimism, and social anxiety
    Call us at 954 755-2885 or email us at [email protected]

                    Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates
                    5551 N University Drive, Suite 202
                    Coral Springs FL 33067

    As always, we are interested in your thoughts. If you would like to respond to this e-Letter, email your comments to [email protected] and we will publish them next month.

    Till March 2023…

    The information provided in this electronic newsletter is not a substitute for professional treatment. It is the opinions of the writers and is provided solely for educational purposes. For mental health care, seek a qualified professional.

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    Copyright © 2023 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates.