Hot weather can lead to a mental health crisis

Hot weather can lead to a mental health crisis

The heatwave is not letting up. It is very hard on the inhabitants of the southern part of Europe. In Poland, she has not yet said the last word. See how hot it can affect your mental health.

Summer heat has a huge impact on health. You don’t need to convince anyone of that. The consequence of high temperatures is weakness, fatigue, lack of energy, as well as life-threatening overheating of the body. The conducted research proves something else – the heat pouring from the sky strongly affects not only the physical condition of a person, but also the mental one. The conclusions of the scientists’ analyzes may surprise you.

Heat and the risk of mental disorders

Hot weather lowers the level of serotonin in the body, often called the happiness hormone. This compound plays a very important role in the process of regulating mood and controlling emotions. It reduces the level of fear and anxiety, and at the same time increases the feeling of pleasure. When the level of serotonin is too low, a person loses his appetite. He is tired and irritable. He has difficulty concentrating. He is often unable to gather his thoughts. He sees everything in black. He does not undertake usual activities. In other words, high temperatures are conducive to depression and other mental health problems.

Studies have shown that in hot weather, the risk of lowering the mood increases by more than 30%. There is a 70% chance of developing an anxiety disorder. As emphasized by Dr. Asim Shah, Professor and Vice Chair in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine:

All mental illnesses worsen with heat, as excessive heat causes more fatigue, irritability, and anxiety. High air temperatures can exacerbate existing depressive episodes.

Sleep disturbances are also a common consequence of hot weather. These in turn can trigger manic episodes in people with bipolar disorder.

Global warming and mental health

According to specialists, a great threat to the mental health of modern societies is not only “occasional” heat waves, but also progressive climate changes related to the warming of the Earth. They can lead to an increase in the suicide rate. Stanford University economist Marshall Burke estimates that by 2050, the number of people in the United States and Mexico who take their own lives will increase by 1 percent, which in practice means tens of thousands of “additional” deaths per year. The researcher notes:

The progressive warming of the globe is often treated as an abstract problem that does not affect anyone directly. However, the thousands of additional suicides likely to occur as a result of unmitigated climate change are not just numbers. This is a tragic loss for families across the country.

The expert’s concerns are shared by, among others, Robin Cooper, a professor at the University of California in San Francisco. He observes that start thinking of climate change as a “mental health crisis”. Researcher Brit Wray of Stanford University shares the same opinion. It calls for taking steps that will allow to stay ahead of the disturbing changes taking place in society. We are talking primarily about support programs for people struggling with addictions and mental disorders. They are in the group of the greatest risk associated with the negative impact of heat on the emotional condition of the individual.


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