Of all emotional conditions that can affect our physical health, however, loneliness is one of the least understood and least clinically recognized problems.
But loneliness can have lasting impacts on our body and modern society faces a rather lonely future. List a disease and the chances that western medicine has a pill for that are pretty big.
Heart problems, muscle pain, abdominal pain, even anxiety, and depression are treated with a carefully planned pill. Now scientists are even working on a pill that will help fight loneliness. Stephanie Cassiope, director of the Brain Dynamics Laboratory at the University of Chicago Pritzker and her team claim that loneliness is what happens when chemical signals encourage us to reach out to other people, but our hypervigilational minds instead of perceiving social hazards, similar to social anxiety, do not prevent us from making contact.
Similar to the feeling of thirst, the body tells us that we have a need for water, the feelings of loneliness are indications that we, social human beings, need social contact. To maintain these feelings, the research team is putting its hopes in a neurosteroid called "pregnenolone", which can help alleviate the anxiety of the mind and over-perception of potential dangers.
The goal is not to eliminate the feelings of loneliness, but to prevent these feelings from causing harmful effects on the mind and body. "If we can successfully reduce the alarm system in the heads of solitary individuals, then we could connect them, not to retreat from others," said Kassiopo.
There are still non-clinical ways to help get rid of loneliness. A simple embrace is enough to release oxytocin in the brain, which helps to ease the feelings of loneliness by promoting social behavior and trust in humans. But for those whose feelings of loneliness are so enormous that discourage participation in activities, there is hope on the horizon.