Will Climate Change Affect Our Mental Health? Studies Say Yes.

WhyOnEarth logo mobEditor’s Note: Are you bothered by the drastic changes in our climate, causing extreme weather events and calamities such as the Kerala Floods? #WhyOnEarth aims to take the truth to the people with stories, experiences, opinions and revelations about the climate change reality that you should know, and act on. Have a story to share? Click here and publish.

The World Health Organization, in the year 2018, reported that the scientific community is much worried about the medical anomalies that have been arising due to the extreme climate change issues. The recent scientific reports have inferred that the global climatic drift induces several calamities like ozone layer depletion, pollution, unrestricted urbanization and soil degradation, which ultimately affect all the living forms on our planet (as discussed in the Paris Agreement, 2015).

The researchers have classified three major categories which frame the climatic changes—global warming, drift in the precipitation behavior and the occurrences of extreme weather too often. These dilute factors tend to agglomerate throughout and affect our biological systems severely resulting in the extreme case of extinction at times.

The groups that belong to the low or middle-income countries, with poor health and overlooked health regulations are the most susceptible to the changing climate. While the coastal locations are vulnerable to any harsh weather systems, the geographically located urban areas and those are near the industrial plants are also susceptible.

With the dramatic change in the climatic conditions, the number of cases pertaining to depression, anxiety, suicide rates, drug abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorders is increasing.

In the same context, climate-related environmental changes affect the psychological balances (especially those with pre-existing sensitivity) profoundly. Each environmental drift exposes the living beings to a traumatic condition, which eventually piles up to give rise to a permanent physiological state of illness. These traumas may incept from a variety of inherited or external factors resulting from a weather change or the after-effects of the same: loss of the people, collapsing of the environment or landscapes, limited access to food and water, poor economy and depressed financial security.

Moreover, a psychological abnormality may arise from the consideration of climate change being a global environmental threat. The escalating number of published journals shows that with the dramatic change in the climatic conditions, the number of cases pertaining to depression, anxiety, suicide rates, drug abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorders is increasing. Citing an example, I may as well as say that the depression was almost eight times higher in the people in flooded homes than those living in the normal counterpart.

The short time exposure to harsh weather including climate warming and the tropical cyclone resulted in the wellness of the mental health to plunge, as concluded from data which was implemented on nearly 2 million US citizens ranging from 2002 to 2012. Numerical simulation claims that increasing the average temperature to 30 degrees centigrade elevates the probability of health distress by 0.5%.

Tracing back, the one-degree centigrade rise in the temperature over five years escalated the prevalence of the mental disease in humans by nearly 2%. Hurricane Katrina was associated with a 4% increase in health-related distresses. For years, post-traumatic stress disorders have been observed after a hurricane, particularly in vulnerable geographical areas.

A list of journal reviews has been provided below which gives us a comprehensive perspective on the recent calamities and the impact on flora and fauna.

Berry et al., 2018

Bourque and Willox, 2014

Burke et al., 2018

Dyregrov et al., 2018

Hayes et al.,2018

Torres and Casey, 2017

Trombley et al., 2017

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