Not uncommonly patients tell me about their loneliness. Sometimes it’s related to health issues. They don’t exercise going for a walk because they don’t have anyone to go with, or they don’t eat healthy food because they don’t like cooking for one. Other times it just the personal isolation that bothers them. I believe this affects both their mood and their health.
I give my patients suggestions such as getting involved in various social functions, but I do realize it’s not easy to meet new people. I often suggest they read the book Connect: 12 Vital Ties That Open Your Heart, Lengthen Your Life, and Deepen Your Soul by Dr. Edward Hallowell.
I’ve been tempted to play matchmaker for some of my patients, introducing one to another, but would never actually do so, except perhaps in a group setting. It’s just too fraught with risk if things don’t work out. I don’t thing my malpractice insurance covers a broken heart.