Finnish study: living alone leads to depression

People who live alone are 80 percent more likely to suffer from depression, according to a Finnish study.

The researchers, from National Institute for Health and Welfare, the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and the University of Helsinki, monitored the purchase of anti-depressants drugs made by 3,500 people over seven years. The study concluded that while only 15 percent of Finns living with others bought the drugs during this timeframe, 25 percent of those living alone felt the need to seek treatment for the blues.

While men seemed to be affected by dissatisfaction with their jobs or a lack of friends, women turned to drugs due to deficiencies in their living conditions and unemployment. Men living alone also tended to drink too much alcohol, the researchers found.

However, the study could not rule out the possibility that those living alone chose to do so because they were already depressed. They have called for more research into the effects of single living on health.

In the past 20 years, the number of Finns living alone has doubled to over a million. It is also predicted that such households will make up a half of the country’s living situations by 2020.

The findings of the group were published in the BMC Public Health journal on Friday (March 24).