Loneliness is not an issue that should be taken lightly as it can cause heart disease, stroke, dementia, and depression. With people being more comfortable posting their thoughts on social media, a new study showed how people who post about relationship problems, substance abuse, sleep issues, and mental health are revealing their loneliness. By paying close attention to tweets that represent loneliness, we will know how many people in this world are lonely and are seeking help.

BMJ Open Study

This study’s goal was to seek out themes and words that represented loneliness. They identified over 6,200 accounts that used the words “lonely” or “alone” from 2012-2016. They then took data from the whole Twitter account of these users. Users who were lonely tweets twice as much with a higher frequency at night. It was also discovered that a high amount of words were associated with anxiety, depression, and anger. The lonely group used words like “no one to,” “want someone,” “I just wanna,” “I can’t,” or tweeting “smoke,” “drunk,” or “weed.” The non-lonely group was more socially connected. They included names in their chats and had a greater number of conversations. It shows how we need to treat others and what a difference it makes to have a social circle.

Conclusions of the Study

BMJ Open’s study shows how substance abuse and not being able to have meaningful relationships can make you lonely. The study also showed how not only can loneliness cause anger, but angry individuals are more likely to be lonely. Some people just need to be shown resources that encourage connecting with others if they are not good at making new friends. Then, there are those that lack the necessary social skills that can help them make friends like regulating emotions, showing appropriate behavior, learning to control yourself and making good judgment calls. Therapy can be a good tool to learn about what you are doing wrong socially and how to improve.

The Future of the Study

The researchers have already developed a prediction tool to identify loneliness in a group of people who have volunteered to share their Twitter data and filled out a loneliness questionnaire. They hope this will be a useful tool to find lonely hospitalized patients and then develop effective interventions for them, their families, friends, and other supportive people. Recognizing loneliness is one step towards making good friends and being happy.

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