Social isolation and loneliness are increasingly being recognised as a priority public health problem and policy issue worldwide, with the effect on mortality comparable to risk-factors such as smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity. From the Abyss of Loneliness to the Bliss of Solitude sheds much-needed light on a multifaceted global phenomenon of loneliness, and investigates it, together with its counterpart solitude, from an exciting breadth of perspectives: detailed studies of psychoanalytic approaches to loneliness, developmental psychology, philosophy, culture, arts, music, literature, and neuroscience. The subjects covered also range widely, including the history and origins of loneliness, its effects on children, the creative process, health, lone wolf terrorism, and shame.
This is a timely and important contribution to a growing problem – greatly exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic – that has serious effects on both life quality and expectancy. It addresses the developmental and communicative causes of loneliness, its neurophysiological correlates and artistic representations, and how loneliness differs to solitude, which some consider necessary for creativity. It also provides insights into how we can help those suffering from loneliness, as classical psychoanalytic papers are revisited, contemporary therapeutic perspectives presented, and detailed case presentations offered.
From the Abyss of Loneliness to the Bliss of Solitude is essential reading for mental health professionals and those searching for a better understanding of what it means to be lonely and how the lonely can better voice their loneliness and step out of it.