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Loneliness leads to depression – Finnish study show

Friday, 23 March 2012
People living alone face an 80-percent higher risk of falling into depression compared to those who live in the company of others, according to fresh findings by Finnish researchers.

The researchers monitored purchases of anti-depressants among 3,500 people of working age over seven years. The study found that 25 percent of those living alone bought medicine to treat depression during that time, while the same was true of 15 percent of people who shared accommodation with others.

Women turned to anti-depressants due to unemployment and deficiencies in their living conditions, among other reasons. For men, the need for meds often stemmed from a lack of friends and dissatisfaction with their jobs. Oftentimes, men living alone also tended to consume too much alcohol.

The study could not rule out the possibility that those who were depressed chose to live alone and so started buying anti-depressants. The researchers stressed that attention should be devoted to the substantial increase in single living and its effects on health.

In Finland, the number of people living alone has doubled over the past two decades, currently standing at over one million. According to estimates, single-person households will make up half of all Finnish households by 2020.
The University of Helsinki carried out the research in conjunction with the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and the National Institute for Health and Welfare. The findings will be published in the BMC Public Health journal on Friday.
Source: Yle Finland

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