Climate Change Affects Mental Health
We've all heard that April showers bring May flowers. But could changes in the weather—including those brought on by climate change—also bring physical and mental health problems? A new report says yes.
Extreme weather events and natural disasters like tornadoes, floods, and hurricanes can cause negative emotions such as stress, fear, and grief, as well as substance abuse, anxiety, and depression. In severe cases, tragic events related to the weather—repeated exposure to dangerous conditions, loss of a loved one or valued possessions, for example—can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
People living in areas where the economy is directly impacted by environmental factors—farming, fishing, tourism, and others—are more susceptible to mental health issues related to changes in weather caused by climate change. After Hurricane Katrina, suicide and suicidal thoughts more than doubled in affected areas, one in six people met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD, and almost half developed an anxiety or mood disorder.
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