Social isolation is a common symptom of depression and anxiety, according to John Hopkins University. It is also a symptom of undifferentiated schizophrenia, according to the University of Texas Harris County Psychiatric Center.
Social isolation allows people to avoid social situations and relationships with others. According to GoodTherapy.org, it is both a physical and emotional state. However, being alone does not equate to social isolation. In order for this condition to occur, the person must separate himself so wholly and at such length that there is an emotional disconnection from society.
GoodTherapy.org explains that isolation occurs after this repeated behavior negatively affects the person's life. Those in a depressive state seek social isolation as a comfortable response to negative or sad feelings which has the unfortunate effect of reinforcing the negative emotional state. People with social anxiety disorder fear social situations and seek to avoid them, further exacerbating the effects of the disorder. A history of abuse, abandonment or superiority also contributes to social isolation.
Effects of social isolation include earlier death rates among the elderly, according to Time Magazine. Studies show that physical intimacy through social interaction lowers stress, blood pressure and pain. Treatment for those that suffer from social isolation often involves the aid of a psychologist.