How Loneliness can Trigger Depression and Anxiety among Autistic adults

We are social beings living a social experience, and thanks to our nature and ways of being, we tend to crave being in contact with others, even if we live in the middle of the rainforest with no neighbors around. 

Autistic adults understand this very well, yet again they seem to be one of the most vulnerable groups in terms of their mental health and well being, especially when they feel excluded. Most of the time, autistic adults will try to hide their loneliness, which, in turn, could make them develop depression and or anxiety as a result of their reclusiveness.

The basics of human nature

We are human beings who thrive best whenever we experience and live in a social environment. When the relationships we crave are not real, and when we lack social experiences, then this could also present problems to our mental and even physical health.

Several scientific research has pointed out that a lack of social interaction and loneliness can have detrimental effects on an individual’s brain. For example, the mind will start changing rapidly, the emotions will be ten times more intense, and the individual could feel and see themselves under a very negative light. 

Loneliness develops a high incidence of depression and anxiety among autistic adults

We rely on other people to feel connected to someone, to feel listened, to feel like another person cares for us as well. We all have social needs that must be fulfilled to have a healthy life and reach our full potential. 

We are all very different from one another

Now, imagine an autistic adult who has probably spent most of their life feeling like no one truly understands them?. Their social needs are just the same and perhaps even more intense. Still, they probably are not yet met because of an in-comprehensive social environment that used to segregate them because they didn’t understand them. 

How do you think an autistic adult feels whenever they are lonely?. Did you know that scientific research has stated that these adults tend to have a higher incidence of depression and anxiety in comparison to those adults who may be lonely but are not on the spectrum?.

A lack of close friends, family members, and even coworkers who we can relate to, may feel like a death sentence to autistic adults, especially when they have episodes of discomfort or distress. What’s more, whenever a person becomes aware of their loneliness, then they will also almost immediately start longing for much-needed contact. 

Loneliness affects in various ways

  • Research has shown that individuals who live alone have a higher risk of committing suicide, regardless of their age.
  • Lonely people have an acute awareness of the stress they may be having. In fact, they may also feel sadder at times, even if they are not stressed out.
  • Autistic adults have a higher incidence of being lonely, especially if they have grown up without the care of a family member. 
  • Autistic adults may find that the society they live in does not accept their social skills. Therefore they become more vulnerable to loneliness.

If you or a person you know is autistic and feel very lonely, especially during these difficult times, then don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Your mental and physical well-being is essential!. 

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