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Sunday, September 1, 2019

How is Climate Change Affecting Our Mental Health?

Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health
Climate change and mental health: How climate change affects our mental health 


How Is Climate Change Affecting Our Mental Health?

Mental health problems are generally associated with complex interactions between societal (e.g. economic crisis, social welfare, addiction, automation, internet,), biochemical and genetic factors. However, one factor has not yet gained much attention: climate change and mental health. That is why we decided to unite in this article about the psychological effects of climate change.

Climate Change and Mental Health

Climate change is a major challenge for our societies and our world. Much attention has recently been given to the physical effects of climate change, including extreme heat, drought, and extreme storms.
Human health has always been subject to climate impact, from daily weather changes to the biggest changes in Earth's climate. The rapid climate change we are witnessing is one of the most pressing public health threats of the 21st century and has a profound impact on mental health. Almost all countries are affected in the same way. Climate change has a greater impact on countries with weak infrastructure and limited resources.
This is especially true now, as we are witnessing unprecedented changes in both the weather and climate of the planet, which affect air, food and water supplies.
For example, the United States is experiencing more frequent and severe heat waves, changing transmission patterns of vector-borne diseases (such as dengue, Lyme disease, West Nile virus), increasing prevalence of water and food-borne diseases (such as salmonella infection), and air pollution.

Climate change can exacerbate existing health threats (such as asthma) as well as create new ones. A person's vulnerability is increased by simultaneous exposure to more than one threat, as well as differences in sensitivity and ability to respond to these threats.
Basic health, demographic and socio-economic factors also affect the health of children, pregnant women, the elderly, those living in low-income communities, migrants, people with disabilities, and those with previous health or mental health conditions.
In the past decade, there has been remarkable progress in the scientific understanding of the human health risks associated with climate change.


Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health

Climate change is expected to lead to hydrological disasters such as floods and meteorological disasters, such as strong storms, hurricanes, and massive fires. An increasing number of these disasters are expected in the future as a result of climate change, but they also cause significant damage to human health. These effects, which are often slow to progress and less pronounced, pose a continuing threat to the mental and psychological health of people living in the affected areas.

Global heating: The 2010 Census revealed that more than 80% of the US population living in urban areas may experience greater heatwave exposure. It shows warmer temperatures than in rural areas, which have the advantage of cooling from trees, plants and open areas where air can flow.
Worker productivity can be compromised by extreme heat, especially among those who work abroad or have jobs that require significant physical activity. Those working in extreme heat conditions are at risk of stroke, heat exhaustion, and low motivation. These factors can lead to psychological, social and economic problems, which can, in turn, lead to poor mental health outcomes.

Dehydration: Several studies from Australia and one from Brazil indicate a relationship between dehydration and adverse mental health outcomes, such as shortness of breath, anxiety, and depression. In New South Wales, Australia, researchers found an increase in the rate of male suicide from the age of 10 to 49 years in severe drought conditions. Dehydration can lead to negative results in mental health for several reasons, including its progressive effect, the perception that it is endless, and its chronic nature. In addition, the financial and social aspects of daily life for those who work in agriculture can stop during the drought.

Insect-borne diseases: Climate change is expected to increase insect-borne diseases. Like the West Nile virus, a mosquito-borne disease, associated with depression and personality change after a year of diagnosis. In fact, the disease has been linked to an increase in depression rate after eight years of initial infection. In addition, chronic Lyme disease, a tick-borne disease, has been associated with psychological and neurological symptoms, such as changes in effect, behavior, and cognition.

Violence and crime: Significant changes in climate can increase the incidence of conflict, including personal aggression such as domestic violence, assault, and rape. It is believed that as temperatures rise, violence and aggression occur more frequently. 
Many study reports suggest that extreme heat can make physical activity difficult and can impair the quality of sleep. However, when the temperature is more excessive, vulnerable groups are more likely to have mood or behavioral disorders, suicidal thoughts, aggression, and violent behavior.
The researchers have pointed to a causal relationship between heat and violence so that the increase in average temperature is likely to be accompanied by more incidents of violent aggression.

Even though climate change is one of the many factors affecting psychological state and human mental health, current approaches to reducing the burden of mental health should also focus on the effect of global warming and the impact of climate change in the environment.


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