Paper of the week: 02.05.18

Muir Gray’s paper of the week is: ‘Beware the medicalisation of loneliness’

Beware the medicalisation of loneliness. McLennan, Amy K et al. The Lancet , Volume 391 , Issue 10129 , 1480

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The bottom line

The medicalisation of social issues has not worked in the past. From obesity to HIV/AIDS, health researchers and practitioners are fighting, with limited success, to convince society that public health problems require integrated and holistic approaches.

Medicalisation of loneliness will discourage the collaboration needed, and medicine probably has no effective instruments with which to single-handedly address the absence of human connection.

The importance of this paper

This is a very important point, health services need to focus on the causes of loneliness they can address, namely mobility problems, visual impairment and deafness, with the latter being the one most frequently overlooked.