The Benefits of Loneliness – my new article in the Areo Magazine

In 2017, then British prime minister Theresa May appointed Tracey Crouch to the newly created position of Minister for Sport, Civil Society and Loneliness. Crouch became the head of an interdepartmental working group, whose recommendations included advice to GPs, non-governmental organizations and postmen. Among their social prescriptions, as Ralph Leonard has detailed, were “cookery classes, walking clubs and art groups … to help tackle the feeling of isolation.”

Karl Lauterbach, a health expert in Germany’s SPD party, has also called for the appointment of a commissioner for loneliness, preferably within the Ministry of Health. In this, he was joined by Markus Weinberg, from the CDU party. US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has also declared an “epidemic of loneliness.”

Scientists at the Brain Dynamics Laboratory of the University of Chicago have recently began work on an anti-loneliness pill, which will use pregnenolone, a neurosteroid formed from cholesterol, to reduce or even eliminate the feeling of loneliness. Scientists at the University of Sydney are testing a synthetic particle called SOC-1, which causes a fall in oxytocin levels and increases willingness to make social contacts. Scientists at the University of California are researching the use of beta-blockers to reduce the stress caused by loneliness.

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