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6 Scary Side Effects of Pandemic Loneliness You Didn't Know About

Quarantining can stop the virus from spreading, but has other implications, as well.

As cases of the coronavirus continue to rise across the country, some effects of quarantine are coming to light. For those who are older, the impacts can be worse, according to the New York Times.

By staying inside, social distancing, and not gathering in groups in public like at restaurants and bars, you're helping reduce the spread of the virus. But isolation has some negative fallouts to be aware of. Here are six everyone could see.

Eating more

Woman eating popcorn by TV

According to Forbes, sales of Kraft macaroni and cheese were so high during the initial stages of the pandemic, that the company had to add shifts for employees at production facilities to keep up with the demand. Other snack foods saw similar trends. Sales of goldfish crackers were up 23%, according to the New York Times.

"We don't normally have chips at home. But now we have Doritos and Cheetos. Chips made with orange stuff and all sorts of seasonings that we normally don't eat," one grocery shopper told the newspaper.

Related: The Unhealthiest Snacks On the Planet


Male feet on glass scales, men's diet, body weight, close up, man stepping up on scales

Eating more, especially if it's processed food, can increase the number of calories that are consumed in a day. Munching on Oreos and other comfort foods then can lead to weight gain. This is especially true if you aren't moving as much throughout the day because of stay-at-home orders.

But here are 25 Bad Habits That Make It Almost Impossible to Lose Weight.


Sad thoughtful teen girl sits on chair feels depressed

One review in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research says that depression and loneliness have similar effects like pain and hopelessness. It's important then, the review says, to offer support to those facing a lot of alone time right now.

"Quarantined for some five months, many oldsters feel more isolated, suspicious and withdrawn or, worse, in danger of vanishing," Susan Gubar writes in the New York Times. "Fear of contagion has turned us into prisoners under house arrest."

Be on the lookout, these 17 Foods That Make Your Depression and Anxiety Worse.

Sleeping issues

woman feeling sick and uncomfortable in bed

One study published in May found that sleep issues have increased because of COVID-19 and pandemic loneliness. The risk of catching the virus makes people stress about their own health and the health of their family and friends. This leads to sleep issues like insomnia because it makes the brain more active.

Here's What Happens to Your Body When You Can't Sleep Every Night.

Heart Disease

african woman feeling menstrual cyclic breast pain, touching her chest,

Being lonely can cause heart disease at the same rate as smoking, according to Harvard Health. Yep, if you're lonely, especially during a pandemic, your risk of a heart attack or stroke could be higher.

So, to stay safer during quarantine, skip The Common Foods That Raise Your Heart Attack Risk.

Weak immune system

Sick woman with headache sitting under the blanket

Pandemic loneliness can also mean a weakened immune system which is responsible for fighting off diseases. Research shows that being stressed or sad increases inflammation in the body, which can sit around for a while and harm the immune system.

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Amanda McDonald
Amanda has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree in digital journalism from Loyola University Chicago. Read more about Amanda
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