“Are you lonely?”

Whenever I meet a new patient I ask a series of routine questions.  Once in a while my intuition tells me to ask the above question. Loneliness is not considered a psychiatric illness or symptom but its presence makes mental conditions worse.

An elderly patient once told me:

“You know, loneliness makes simple problems seem tragic, and my problems are quite ordinary old lady problems that wouldn’t feel so bad if I had visitors”.

Having friends prolongs life and makes for better health. Our evolutionary wiring requires physical proximity and touch.  This is especially true for men.

There is debate as to whether or not friendships communicated through technology qualify as the type that promote health.

The overall consensus of ‘techies’ is virtual friends are indeed ‘good as real’.

Certainly – my blogger friends don’t seem “less real”.

My bottom line with friends is ‘whom do you have you can call in the night when you need help or someone to speak?”.

I am fortunate I have a lot of people on whom I can rely on to do this.