October is Mental Health Awareness Month
Did you know that loneliness can contribute to psychiatric condition such as depression, anxiety, alcohol abuse, sleep problems and even personality changes. In addition these psychiatric conditions have been linked to declining cognitive function. As humans, we were created as social beings. At very young ages we rely on social contact to develop simply things such as language and socially appropriate behavior. The learning we do from social interaction continues throughout life and that is why it is important to maintain social connection in order to preserve your mental health and cognition. There have been many research articles published exploring the effects of social isolation and loneliness on mental health and cognitive decline. In one article loneliness was associated with a two-fold greater risk of dementia (dementia meaning a cognitive decline that affects daily function).
With all of the research published we could go on and on about the association between mental health and cognitive decline or dementia. Rather than that, use this short bit of information as an alert to focus on your own mental health in order to maximize your cognitive health. Remaining socially active, whether that be through a few close friends or partaking in large groups or organizations, to minimize your risk of loneliness and help promote your own mental health. By taking care of your mental health you will also positively impact your risk of cognitive decline or dementia. Each bodily function is interconnected to the next. Please attend to your “whole person”, body-mind-spirit, to help maximize your overall health.