Social Isolation: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/30/2020

Social isolation is a phenomenon that can result from a number of social circumstances including

Social isolation can occur on a temporary basis during quarantine (for example, the COVID-19 pandemic). Social isolation may be voluntary or involuntary, and its effects may vary depending on the individual circumstances.

Social isolation can also be a symptom of an underlying mental health disorder, most notably depression or another mood disorder. Social isolation can also result from

Research shows that social isolation poses health risks similar to factors like smoking, inactivity, or obesity.

Social isolation may be associated with other symptoms and signs including social withdrawal, a lack of interest in daily activities, boredom, a loss of interest in personal hygiene, poor eating and nutrition habits, home environment in disrepair, keeping excessive clutter or hoarding, poor sleep quality, impaired executive function, and accelerated cognitive decline in people suffering from dementia.

Other causes of social isolation

  • Aging
  • Physical Disability
  • Poverty
  • Tay Sachs Disease
  • Wilson Disease


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.