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At the same time, loneliness may be a symptom of another social or psychological problem, such as chronic depression.Many people experience loneliness for the first time when they are left alone as infants.It is also a very common, though normally temporary, consequence of a breakup, divorce, or loss of any important long-term relationship.

There have also been suggestions that each person has their own optimal level of social interaction.

If a person gets too little or too much social interaction, this could lead to feelings of loneliness or over-stimulation. One study found that, although time spent alone tended to depress a person's mood and increase feelings of loneliness, it also helped to improve their cognitive state, such as improving concentration.

Loneliness can also be seen as a social phenomenon, capable of spreading like a disease.

When one person in a group begins to feel lonely, this feeling can spread to others, increasing everybody's risk for feelings of loneliness.

The loss of a significant person in one's life will typically initiate a grief response; in this situation, one might feel lonely, even while in the company of others.

Loneliness may also occur after the birth of a child (often expressed in postpartum depression), after marriage, or following any other socially disruptive event, such as moving from one's home town into an unfamiliar community, leading to homesickness.

The study found no common environmental contributions to adult loneliness.

There is a clear distinction between feeling lonely and being socially isolated (for example, a loner).

Loneliness is often defined in terms of one's connectedness to others, or more specifically as "the unpleasant experience that occurs when a person's network of social relations is deficient in some important way".

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