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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Mental and Behavioural Disorders Loneliness


Loneliness is described as the absence of identification, understanding or compassion. Loneliness is not the same as being alone. Many people have times when they are alone through circumstances or choice. Being alone can be experienced as positive, pleasurable, and emotionally refreshing if it is under the individual's control.

Solitude is the state of being alone and secluded from other people, and often implies having made a conscious choice to be alone. Loneliness does not require aloneness and is often experienced even in crowded places. It can be described as the absence of identification, understanding or compassion.



  • People can experience loneliness for many reasons, and many life events are associated with it.
  • The lack of friendship relations during childhood and adolescence, or the physical absence of meaningful people around a person are causes for loneliness, depression, and involuntary celibacy.
  • At the same time loneliness may be a symptom of another social or psychological problem.



  • Situational / circumstantial - loss of a relationship, move to a new city
  • Developmental - a need for intimacy balanced by a need for individualism
  • Internal - often including feelings of low self-esteem and vulnerability

Signs & symptoms

Loneliness can evoke feelings that 'everyone else' has friends, or that one is socially inadequate and socially unskilled. A lonely person may become convinced there is something wrong with him or her, or that no one understands his or her situation. Such a person may feel reluctant to attempt to change or to try new things. In extreme cases, a person may feel a sense of emptiness, which may become a state of clinical depression.



There are many different ways used to treat loneliness, social isolation or clinical depression.