Why do I feel lonely and unpopular

Depression: Why You Can Be Lonely Despite Having Many Friends

There are people who meet colleagues every day at work, maybe even sit in an open-plan office and in the evening stand next to acquaintances in the pub, drink a glass of wine - and yet they would call themselves lonely.

Because loneliness is not necessarily a condition that results from a lack of social contact, but rather a feeling that arises primarily from how someone perceives himself and his environment.

This finding is not necessarily new, but it was scientifically proven for the first time by two researchers from the University of Chicago in a comprehensive study. When it becomes clearer what causes pathological loneliness, it can also be better combated and that is an important step for medicine.

Loneliness is dangerous to health

At least current studies show that loneliness is just as big a risk factor for health as being overweight or smoking. Loneliness negatively affects blood pressure, sleep quality, heart attack risk, and other health factors.

For the scientific study of loneliness, Christopher Masi and John Cacioppo from Chicago, a doctor of internal medicine and a professor of neuro-psychology, took a closer look at all the studies on this topic from the past four decades.

All articles that dealt with this topic between 1970 and 2009, the two researchers put together in a so-called meta-analysis in order to filter out the most effective methods in the fight against loneliness, as they write in the journal "Personality and Social Psychology Review".