What is alienation?

Alienation is said to occur when you feel isolated or withdrawn from people and your environment. You will mostly feel alienated when you feel you are rejected or not loved. You will also get yourself emotionally distant from yourself and from others.

Alienation is a common disorder that involves both psychological and sociological features.

It has an untold effect on health and it can also worsen existing medical conditions.

To treat alienation, its cause has to be diagnosed.

What are the symptoms of alienation?

Feeling so far from loved ones is a typical symptom associated with alienation. But it has other symptoms and they include:

  • helplessness
  • feelings of meaninglessness
  • feeling as if the world is empty
  • feeling left out especially in events and conversations
  • feeling as though you are different from others
  • difficulty in approaching and engaging in meaningful conversations particularly with parents
  • insecure feelings when interacting with people
  • refusal to comply with rules

Depression that comes with alienation has the following symptoms:

  • poor appetite and sometimes overeating
  • excessive sleeping
  • insomnia
  • fatigue
  • poor self-worth
  • hopelessness

Types of alienation

There are six types of alienation

Type Definition
cultural estrangement Nurturing feelings of being removed from values that have been established
Isolation Feeling lonely or excluded from a group
Meaninglessness Failure to see life or relationships as meaningful
Normlessness Disconnectedness from social activities and sometimes displaying deviant behaviors
Powerlessness Having feelings that you no longer have power over your life. You will also believe that actions are without consequences
self-estrangement Feeling out of touch with yourself especially finding it difficult to define your identity

What causes alienation?

Alienation has various causes. Let’s look at some of these causes.

Health-related causes

Mental or physical conditions can make you feel alienated. The following are notable health-related conditions that can cause alienation:

  • mental health disorders i.e. schizophrenia, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • chronic pain-causing conditions like encephalopathy
  • conditions that have in them the ability to make you feel disconnected
  • self-stigma from a mental disease

Alienations that are related to the presence of health issues will have symptoms other than those of alienation and they can last for some days.

Social causes

Social causes are simply a function of how you feel disconnected from life – people, yourself and your environment. A change in your environment, school or job can make you feel alienated.

Job-related causes

You are said to have work alienation if you feel estranged from what you produce at your workplace. This may make you feel dissatisfied and hence you might discover that you are feeling alienated from:

  • your work environment
  • coworkers
  • the work you do
  • yourself

Causes in adolescents

Alienation in adolescents can be because of:

  • growth spurts
  • emotional attachment to a caregiver or parent
  • big alterations in your comfort zone
  • bullying

As children begin to grow, they can actually start having trust issues with adults and sometimes conflicts in the values they were brought up with.

Anxiousness about social skills can make teens feel isolated. It’s also possible for them to feel out of place in their identity mostly when they begin thinking about the future and what it holds for them.

Adolescent alienation can only be seen as a symptom if it comes with other disorders like personality disorder or phobia.

Parental causes

A child can feel isolated when he feels that his/her parents have rejected him/her.

This will mostly be encountered by children from a divorced home. Such children will likely display this by refusing to visit a parent that had left them. It is a psychiatric disease. Interactions from such parents can make their children feel vulnerable and unwanted. A child can also feel alienated if he constantly gets abuses from a parent.

How is alienation treated?

At the basis of every treatment is the understanding of the cause of the disorder.

Once the cause or causes as the case may be has been diagnosed, a treatment plan can be established and followed.

If you are having psychological pain as a result of alienation, talking to a mental health doctor will really help.

You need to gain that feeling of being in control of your life back.

If you are an adolescent, having a sense of purpose is crucial. Searching for your purpose can be a daunting one for you. Your parents or counselor can be of huge help to you. Create time and talk to them. Findings have shown that when parents build strong bonds with their children, alienation from bullying can be minimized.

What are the complications of alienation?

Feeling alienated can lead to many social problems that include:

  • alcohol abuse
  • poor performance at work or at school
  • truancy
  • criminal activity

Alienation can top up symptoms of both physical and mental disorders that may include:

  • health effects from abuse of either drugs or alcohol
  • attempted suicide
  • psychological pain i.e. depression and anger
  • eating disorders

If you are beginning to nurture the thoughts of committing suicide as a result of feeling alienated, you should talk to someone.

What should you do if you are experiencing alienation?

Getting help from someone should be considered as an emergency as you can end up taking your own life. Get a medical professional who can listen to you and examine you.

Sometimes, you might feel alienated because there is an underlying medical issue. And sometimes it might just be a way of your mind reacting to new terrains and the unfamiliar.

Such alienated feeling will be resolved as you gradually get used to the new environment. If your alienation is due to those from parental rejection or abuse, it will be great if you go for counseling with a trusted person.

If you know anyone who feels alienated, it won’t take anything from you if you get close to them and make them feel wanted and loved.

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