Since ancient times, millions of people have died of epidemics of plague, flu, cholera, and other infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms. Major advances in medicine have largely eliminated these mass killers with vaccines and antibiotics. However, modern societies are facing a new kind of epidemics: behavioral epidemics. The annual rates of mortality by suicides and opioid overdose have been escalating over the last 2 decades and today are responsible for the death of 1 American every 5.5 minutes. Consequently, the average US life span, which had been rising progressively since mid-1950s, has fallen for the first time.1
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Jeste DV, Lee EE, Cacioppo S. Battling the Modern Behavioral Epidemic of Loneliness: Suggestions for Research and Interventions. JAMA Psychiatry. 2020;77(6):553–554. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.0027
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