more and more people live alone – even in Germany. The increase in the number of single-person households may be associated with more mental illness. This context, a study by the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines suggests at the very least.

As the researchers note in the journal “PLOS ONE” reports, and have been living Alone for 1.5 – to 2.5-times more likely to be one of the most common mental disorders than other people. To depression and anxiety include, for example, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. All the age groups and sexes are affected, as the scientists emphasize. The study does not show, however, whether this is living Alone the cause of these diseases. Also, the temporal sequence was not investigated. A statistical correlation between living Alone and diseases there were, however, especially in the case of the people who felt lonely.

rising life expectancy and declining marriage and birth just three of the reasons are made responsible for the fact that more and more people are living alone. Some choose this form of life explicitly.

In Germany think in 2016, according to data from the Federal Statistical office, 41 percent of all households in so-called single-person households, a proportion that is significantly above the EU average of 33 percent. The health consequences of the trend have been examined in numerous studies. So, about a Finnish study in 2012 showed that the probability to get within eight years of a Depression, increases in living Alone by nearly 80 percent.

the Team of doctors, Louis Jacob of the University of Versailles took advantage of the data of 20,500 people from England at the age of 16 to 64 years who had participated in 1993, 2000 and 2007 at the “National Psychiatric Morbidity”survey. The mental health of the participants was determined by using Interviews and questionnaires. In addition to the data collected, the researchers used information about the size and weight, alcohol dependency, drug use, social network, as well as the feeling of loneliness.

In the three years, the proportion of one-person households in the survey of 8.8 to 9.8 and finally, 10.7 percent. At the same time, the Rate of common mental disorders grew from 14.1 to 16.3 and 16.4 percent. In all three surveys, there is a statistical correlation between living Alone and the spread of mental diseases was observed, so the doctors, regardless of gender or age of the participants. The biggest factor is loneliness: the feeling someone is lonely, too, was the risk of a mental illness is particularly high.

That statement is also for Arno Deister, chief physician of the centre for psycho-social medicine of the Klinikum Itzehoe Central. In its independent classification of the study, he stresses that there is a difference between living Alone and loneliness: “If you wanted to be alone, it can be very positive benefits for humans.” Solitude call, however, the unwanted loss of relationships.

Deister evaluates established, the study by the University of Versailles as carefully and important. The psychiatrist warns, however, rashly connections: “In large cities, for example, there are more people with mental illness, which is often explained in terms of the anonymity there,” he says. “Often mentally ill people are looking for but be aware of the anonymity, in addition, the supply situation in big cities is better.” Moreover, If being alone meant that relationships were absent, then the particular disease could promote, on the one hand. “On the other hand, it is about a Symptom of depression that people are pulling back.”

nevertheless, to be adequately researched, that loneliness had a negative impact on mental health, says psychology Professor Jürgen Margraf from the University of Bochum: “Stable and trusting social relations are the best protection for the mental and also physical health.”

As the authors of the study, Margraf sees changes in society, the life, the Alone, and thus the potential for loneliness beneficiaries. An assessment of the Deister announces: “We are watching a desolidarization in society.” At the same time, the communication behavior, such as through social media, has fundamentally changed: “The communication is become not less, but probably even more, but it is very different.” In addition, loneliness was occupied still a shame. Many lonely people were looking for, therefore, is of no help: “a lot of it comes from the loneliness in the therapy never.”

He advocates to put the issue to society and to sensitize people to have an eye on your fellow human beings. Those awareness-raising was launched in the UK media, in the country in 2018 and has appointed a Minister for solitude. Whether or not it should enter this in Germany, too, is for Deister is not so important: “Rather solitary people should be shown that your solitude is your private problem.”

Here Margraf concrete proposals for action: “We must ensure that people meet each other in conversation and exchange ideas.” Each Individual was asked: “If we shift our purchases now on the Internet, we have a massive Problem.” His faculty Margraf encounter has set up rooms for employees and, thus, a very good experience.

the Corresponding concepts were also on the urban and spatial planning to transfer. Another approach: Prosocial behavior should be encouraged, especially in schools, says Margraf. “Bullying in schools is a strong factor for mental disorders in adulthood.” In Germany, teachers are still often on the side of the Stronger. In addition, health education should be part of the lesson and also psychological problems can be addressed, what would eventually act against the stigma.

dpa