Dying a slow death can refer to people who may be living a mundane or a life without productivity or purpose. Such as a person who does not participate in society and rather watches television nearly all day, everyday. This can also include people who for some reason my have complete social isolation.
I once spoke to an Australian Aboriginal elder about the alcohol crisis in indigenous communities. He said that most of the people who drink alcohol to excess do so as it gave them something to do and an escape. He said these people weren't living but were actually dying a slow death.
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