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Pills for loneliness: An insight into their research

Research on Loneliness

Population explosion rate on earth over a couple of centuries has been on an all-time high. But do you know, despite people all around the percentage of lonely people is noticeably high?

Isn’t it shocking and revolting? The rapid cultural changes and lifestyle are to share blame for it. It is a state of humans where mind and heart create a veil between humanity and individual, leaving him indifferent to the world outside. Nearly one-third of the world population is a victim of loneliness; reason being diverse and numerous.

Size of the family doesn’t help in overcoming loneliness. The possibility of a member of joint family facing the societal loneliness is no less than the folks part of the nuclear family unit. Let’s have a short view on warning signs and outcomes of loneliness to not only avoid but to have a timely and effective cure of it.


   Warning sign of loneliness

  • Excessive hunger
  • Excessive thirst
  • No or less sound sleep
  • Undue arrogance
  • Mood swings
  •  Overreaction

Outcomes/ impact of loneliness

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Neurodegenerative disease
  • Metastatic cancer
  • Cognitive decline
  •  Feeble immunity  system
  •  Recurrence of infections
  •  Changes  in brain structure and processes

Research so far in combating loneliness

 Scientist, Stephanie Cacioppo regards her life to be an experiment and her joint research on loneliness with her husband John, changed its course of research with John’s death.  As per her, “we often interchangeably use social pain and physical pain”, but she maintained to discriminate the above two. 

The physical pain that she underwent was nothing in front of the intense emotional pain of the loss of her hubby. She relied on social fitness exercise structured by her and her late husband like helping everyone irrespective of the status of familiarity, sharing good and bad news with others etc.  She has also mentioned in her work about the loneliness that the loneliness diminishes with the purposeful and worth life.

 Their whole journey of research was steps towards finding out the pills for loneliness which then is followed by numerous clinical trials which are still under continuance. When pharmacological treatments for depression and anxiety are available then why not for loneliness? Loneliness doesn’t have medical treatment and also doesn’t have any specific clinical form that can be treated medically.

Loneliness, as per Stephanie Cacioppo, is the result of biological signals that abstain us from becoming socially active and often makes us alone despite being in a crowd. She emphasized on neurosteroids known as pregnenolone, which has proven to be effectual in treating stress-related disorders. It is known to be effective in treating person exposed to the social threat. Her aim was merely to treat the adverse impacts of loneliness on the brain and the soma rather than on treating the causes of loneliness. Level of pregnenolone reduces in mice as well as in human being on the suffering of from loneliness and Allopregnanolone, an extraction from pregnanolone soothes the affected part of the brain.

The Cacioppos heightened on pregnenolone and  allopregnanolone after a preclinical trial that confirmed the positive result on loneliness related biological impacts on the brain. Few antidepressants too have similar impacts but are associated with side effects like insomnia, vomit sensation etc. Her recent study entails 400 mg of oral dosage of pregnenolone to healthy yet patient of loneliness.  Her trail is still on and is expected to end in June 2019 and now the act of data analyzing too is on. She is optimistic about the result of her research and is sure to decrease the impact of pregnenolone on loneliness in comparison to a placebo. 

Other pharmacological treatments by the Cacioppos unveiled the use of oxytocin hormone to kick out chronic loneliness.  Oxytocic discharge in the human body has shown the trustworthy, attachment and social connection in humans. However, Oxytoxin hormone is commonly used in the female during breastfeeding and at the time of birth.

Meanwhile, Steve Cole, a professor of psychiatry, medicine and behavioral sciences at the UCLA School of Medicine as well as part of the team of Cacioppo, is finding out ways to lessen the way seclusion makes the body vulnerable to a bunch of health issues. Stephanie Cacioppo believes that work that she started with her husband and pursued after is applying his theory.

People living alone are more likely to have 

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Neurodegenerative disease
  • Metastatic cancer
  • Cognitive decline

To cope up with all the detrimental factors of loneliness - Is medical pill a solution?


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