Social isolation: what is it, types, consequences

O social isolation it is the act of separating an individual or a group from the relationship with the rest of society. This isolation may or may not be voluntary. when there is a force majeure, whether imposed by the government, whether due to a situation of war or pandemic, or even a curfew caused by urban violence, the isolation is forced. When the individual or group voluntarily isolates themselves, for reasons of mental health (as a result of depression, for example), for personal reasons or for religious reasons, there is a voluntary social isolation.

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Causes of social isolation

Social isolation can be caused by reasons that are internal or external to the individual. We list below the causes of the two types of isolation and their variants.

Isolation and social distance are health measures against the spread of epidemic or pandemic diseases.
Social isolation is the voluntary act or not of separating an individual or group from social life.

→ Causes of involuntary isolation

  • Epidemics and pandemics

when there is a emergency situation

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epidemic in a country or a pandemic (when the epidemic is widespread and crosses the borders of a country, spreading to other continents), there is the imposition of social isolation on the part of governments and leaders of nations. In the case of pandemic ofand2020 coronavirus, for example, governments are imposing quarantines and social distancing, which operates through closing shops, public transport and schools, for example.

Isolation and social distance are health measures against the spread of epidemic or pandemic diseases.
Isolation and social distance are health measures against the spread of epidemic or pandemic diseases.

In the most severe cases, there is the imposition of a tactic called lockdown horizontal, which is the total isolation of the population in their homes with the almost total closing of trade and services. To learn more about, read: Vertical and horizontal isolation.

  • wars

When a war breaks out in a place, as it happened in 2015, in Syria, there is the imposition of a curfew so that the population closes at home and does not suffer the direct consequences of the war. This type of confinement is not always effective, since, in war situations, there are bombings that destroy civilians' homes.

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  • Violence

When violence rates suddenly rise in a region, isolation is imposed. social via curfew so that the population is not directly exposed to cases of robbery, by example. Thus, the curfew can be imposed by the authorities or even by the people themselves, who isolate themselves because of the social conflicts.

voluntary isolation

  • Depression and other psychiatric illnesses: when people are affected by illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, borderline syndrome and other psychiatric comorbidities, they can fall into a situation of social isolation. In this case, isolation is not an option chosen by the person, as the disease is not a choice, but we say that isolation is voluntary because it does not start from a situation outside its own people.
  • Will: some people simply choose to live out of social life of their own free will, with no greater force to force them into isolation.
  • religious reasons: there are religious groups, such as the aishes, who opt for the group's social isolation to maintain what they call the community's religious purity. The Amish are ultra-conservative Christians who do not accept any intervention from the modern world, such as technology, in their daily lives.

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consequences of isolation

Social isolation, voluntary or forced, may have c.serious consequences for the mental state of who is subjected to it. For those already suffering from depression or other illnesses, social isolation can make the situation worse. In extremely severe cases, depression and other psychiatric illnesses, such as anxiety disorder, can lead to suicide.

Social isolation can trigger or aggravate psychiatric illnesses.
Social isolation can trigger or aggravate psychiatric illnesses.

O forced social isolation it can also lead to psychological illnesses in individuals. When people are forced to stay at home, they can develop generalized anxiety, which can progress to depression. The consequences of this isolation, if left unattended, can be catastrophic.

In addition to isolated and individual consequences, social isolation, when imposed by reason of force majeure, can also lead to Financial crisis. When the population stops circulating in the streets and consuming, commerce and the provision of services also stop working. This causes the extreme drop in sales and the lack of revenue. Brazil, which still depends heavily on trade and services, is one of the countries that can be drastically affected by a group social isolation that causes a drop in consumption.

by Francisco Porfirio
Sociology Professor

Would you like to reference this text in a school or academic work? Look:

PORPHYRIO, Francisco. "Social isolation"; Brazil School. Available in: https://brasilescola.uol.com.br/sociologia/isolamento-social.htm. Accessed on June 27, 2021.

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