Difference Between Isolation and Alienation

Alienation vs Isolation

Alienation and isolation express similar condition or feeling of being alone or loneliness. There are many similarities and quite a bit of overlap between isolation and alienation. In fact, many people tend to think of these terms as synonymous and use them interchangeably. Despite similarities, there are differences between isolation and alienation that will be talked about in this article.


Isolation is a term that is used for the condition or situation of being alone. It is a term that is used in many contexts, even in science and psychology, to refer to experiments where subjects are isolated or separated from one another to study the effects of various factors. But, in terms of humans and society, isolation is used to refer to feelings of loneliness or seclusion. If one lives in isolation, it is said that he lacks contacts with others. One feels isolated from others because of a variety of reasons such as bad relations, loss of love, mental disabilities, and so on. Criminals are isolated from the society and kept in isolation inside prisons as a method of treatment as well as to prevent them from affecting people in the society. As such isolation is thought of as a form of punishment for such people.


Alienation is a word that reflects feelings of isolation and loneliness. It stems from the word alien that is the opposite of the word native. An alien is a creature who is found living in a place to which it does not belong. The same is true about this powerful emotion or feeling that lets people make feel as if they are estranged and do not belong to the mainstream of the population in a country. The feelings of alienation can be very depressing as the individual feels he is unwanted and does not belong to the place or society where he is living. In many countries, several communities or minorities feel alienated because of the repression or the policies of the governments in place. They feel that they are neglected and isolated, and this further alienates them from the mainstream of the population.

Alienation vs Isolation

• Isolation means living in separation or alone.

• Isolation can be voluntary or involuntary.

• Alienation is a feeling of being estranged or neglected.

• Alienation involves isolation, but it is mostly involuntary.

• Feelings of alienation can be created or induced in an individual or a community by neglecting or ignoring.

• Criminals are isolated from others and are kept in confinement as a form of punishment.

• Isolation is resorted to in case of communicable or infectious diseases.

• Alienation can lead to disillusionment and even violence.