Living Alone can Increase Risk of Depression. Psychotherapy can Challenge this.

Finnish Study Links Depression to Living alone

Dr. Laura Pulkki-Rabak from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health recently conducted a study that seems to demonstrate that adults of a working age who live alone are 80% more likely to resort to taking antidepressants than those living with at least one other person. The study looked at the use of antidepressants by 3500 individuals between 30 and 65 years of age followed over seven years.

The researchers acknowledge that there are some limitations to the study that cast doubt upon the simple premiss that people living alone are at a greater risk of suffering depression. The living status of the participants was not updated during the study, so it is not known whether the status changed over the seven years. It was also not recorded whether any of the participants were taking antidepressants before the start of the study, and therefore it is hard to determine whether living alone may lead to depression, or depression may lead to living alone.

The study did however, highlight a number of factors that may contribute to depression in lone livers:

For men, lack of social support led to an increased use of antidepressants. For women,  a higher probability of financial hardship led to depression and for both, living alone led to a higher level of ‘cynical hostility’.

Although this study does not give unchallengeable evidence of the link between lone living and depression, it would seem to be a logical step to suggest that a vicious cycle can be established when a person feels depressed, isolates themselves, looses confidence and thereby feels even more depressed and unable to reengage with society. With 30% of people living alone in the UK, and this set to rise to 40% by 2020, this is an issue that could potentially escalate.

Feeling isolated and isolating oneself is a recognised part of depression. It can be hard to escape this pattern of behaviour and rebuild confidence.

Psychotherapy and counselling can be a first step in breaking this cycle. Through a course of psychotherapy, the reasons for the isolation can be explored and during the psychotherapy process a greater understanding of the fears that hinder you from having a healthy social life can be uncovered and challenged.

The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice comprises three female psychotherapists who have extensive experience working successfully with depression. The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice can be found at 121, Harley Street, London.