According to Dr. Caroline Fenkel, LCSW, “Parents frequently tell us that they have to beg their teens to get out of the house and see their friends, instead of holding them back and implementing curfews. And when you talk to them about isolating, they talk about it like it is a drug.” The effects of social isolation on mental health are overwhelmingly negative. Furthermore, ongoing loneliness and isolation can also create physical symptoms.
Therefore, research shows that chronic loneliness has the following effects:
• Increased stress response and cortisol levels
• Less restful and less restorative sleep
• Negative impact on physical health; more detrimental for overall health than obesity, smoking, or high blood pressure
• Greater risk of suicide
• More alcohol and drug use
• Depression and anxiety
• Poor self-care, such as bathing, grooming, and nutrition
• Decrease in positive outlook
Dr. Fenkel will talk with parents about how we can encourage young people to stop isolating. With the advent of laptops, high-speed wifi, smart phones, Snapchat, Pinterest, Netflix, single shooter video games, it isn’t hard to wonder why teens and young adults prefer to stay in their rooms during their free time rather than connect with their peers IRL (in real life). This presentation will address the causes of chronic isolation and will guide parents in ways they can help their teens to break the isolation cycle.