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Health

For every degree the globe warms، 2% more people will have mental health issues، new research warns

Tuesday 09/October/2018 - 01:08 PM
 maps from the new
maps from the new study show
Edited by: Yara Sameh
Rising global temperatures may be driving up rates of mental illness as well، a new study suggests، daily mail reported.

Last year was the third hottest on record، and 2016 was the hottest ever.

And more people are struggling with mental health issues in the US now than any other time in the nation's history.

New research from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University suggests that it isn't a coincidence: with every degree (Celsius) the global temperature rises، mental health issues become two percent more common.

Every species on the planet is already feeling the effects of global warming.

Humans are no exception، but our unique brains suffer unique consequences.

Many studies have shown that، on hotter days، more people wind up in the emergency room، and not just for more obvious problems like heat stroke and dehydration.

The number of people making visits for psychological and psychosocial reasons surges as well.

People also tend to behave more impulsively and erratically on hotter days، and the heat simply doesn't mix well with some psychiatric drugs.

Earlier this year، Stanford University researchers reported that a single degree Celsius of temperature increase was linked to a higher rate of depressive tweets and an increase in suicides in both the US and Mexico.

For the new study، the MIT and Harvard team compared temperature changes and mental health issues، as reported by more than two million people in a number of different contexts across the US.

Using more than a decade's worth of data، they examined mental health around the time of single، extreme events، over the period of a month، and over a five year period.

It didn't matter how long the trajectory of rising temperatures was، in every scenario mental health problems became more prevalent.

Unsurprisingly، the most dramatic events came with the most dramatic shifts in mental health.

After Hurricane Katrina in August 2005، reports of mental health issues were four percent higher among those whose homes، loved ones and lives were affected by the storm than among those that lived outside the disaster areas.

But even more subtle shifts over the course of a month made mental health issues more likely.

During months when the average temperature was over 30 degrees C - 86 degrees F، mental health issues were 'amplified' by more than one percent، the researchers reported.

And the rain made things worse too. When there was rain for more than 25 out of the 30 (give or take) days of the month، the population was two percent more afflicted by mental health issues.

A look at changes over five years helped the scientists get a better idea of how climate change as a long-term phenomenon may change the mental health of people world wide.

With the shift of monthly average temperatures from 25 degrees C (77 F) to 30 degrees C (86 F) comes a two percent increase in mental health issues.

In the US، about one in every five people has a mental illness issue in a given year.

That means that for every degree warmer the globe gets، another 88،000 Americans are liable to develop a mental illness.

It isn't clear exactly why natural disasters and changing temperatures have such dastardly effects on mental health، but it becomes increasingly certain that the problem will only spread and intesify.

'Warming is likely to amplify the frequency and intensity of natural disasters، which often cause physical injury، psychological trauma infrastructure damage، and societal disruption in affected regions. Gradual changes in climate change are also expected to alter human systems in costly ways،' the study authors wrote.

'While the precise magnitude of these climate-induced adversities is difficult to estimate، the theoretical relationship between climate change and mental health risk is compelling.'

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