Teen Social Isolation Can Lead to Deeper, More Dangerous Issues

We all need alone time. It’s good to take a moment to think, process, and work through things on your own–but that’s not what teen social isolation is. Teen social isolation is much more dubious than simply taking some time for yourself.

Usually, when a teenager begins to isolate themselves from others, it’s due to an underlying issue. It could be that they’re struggling with something, but they aren’t quite sure how to reach out and get the support they need–so they retreat inwards. Instead of this helping, it often makes things worse.

Social isolation is linked to a slew of health issues

Social isolation isn’t just a symptom that means more is wrong mentally, it’s also linked to a whole host of other physical problems. Mental and physical health are perpetually linked, meaning that if one is declining, the other will follow.

Previous studies have found that those with low social connection have issues sleeping, worse immune systems, higher levels of stress, increased risk of heart disease, and even a smaller life expectancy.

All of those should be more than enough evidence to make you worried about teen social isolation.

New study confirms link between social isolation and health

A recent study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine used fruit flies to further understand the link between social isolation and health.

teen social isolationWhile fruit flies obviously aren’t humans, they can show us what happens on a base level when you change an animal’s environment. For this study, they isolated the flies. The results gave us greater insight into why teen social isolation is so destructive.

The flies that were isolated showed sleep loss, which then led to higher cellular stress and the activation of a defense system called the unfolded protein response (UPR).

While UPR is helpful for protecting cells in short spans of stress, when it’s activated chronically it can become harmful. The researchers suspect this is even linked to disease like diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

This shows that teen social isolation is something to worry about. Humans require social interaction and connection–and if we’re not receiving it, it can very clearly lead to less than savory outcomes.

Because UPR seems to be caused–in part–by sleep loss, this study should be even more worrying. Teens are notorious for never getting enough sleep, which raises a whole new issue–but that’s a problem for another post.

If you believe your teen is struggling with teen social isolation or other mental health issues, it’s critical to reach out to a professional for guidance.

Elevations is here for your family

Elevations RTC is a residential treatment center and one of the top schools for struggling teens, ages 13 to 18. Our students often grapple with anxiety, teen social isolation, defiance, trauma, depression, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral issues.

At Elevations, we use a combination of a focused therapeutic lens, real-world environment, secure setting, and caring staff to foster growth and success in our students. Finding the right program can be difficult for a family, which is why Elevations is here to help guide you through it.

For more information about how we help with teen social isolation at Elevations RTC, please call .

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