Extremely Hot Weather May Worsen Mental Health Symptoms
A new study investigated data from more than 2 million who live in the U.S demonstrated that extremely hot weather in summer is linked to increased numbers of ER visits due to mental health problems. In line with the results, extremely high temperatures may harm mental health, i.e., frequent heat waves can cause anxiety, depression, self-injury, and consumption of substances.
As per earlier research, elevated environment temperatures are linked to a higher need for hospital care due to CVDs, metabolic and breathing problems. Extremely hot weather is also believed to worsen mental health symptoms, thus more frequent ER visits. Nevertheless, these previous studies had several limitations. For example, they often included only a small number of participants or came from some geographic regions. Thus, the findings were not very reliable.
To resolve these issues, the researchers used national data to examine the connection between extremely high temperatures and ER visits due to worsened mental health. They collected data about adults who have previously visited the emergency department due to mental health problems. The research team acquired information about the highest daily temperatures in all counties with these data.
The research team determined “extremely hot days” for each county and discovered an increase in the number of ER visits due to worsened mental health during that period. In particular, extremely hot weather was linked to an increased number of ER visits due to drug abuse, self-injuries, depression, anxiety, and similar conditions. The researchers also found out that extreme heat had a greater impact on men than on women, and they were more likely to visit an emergency department.
Overall, this study only represents a connection between extreme heat and increased ER visits due to mental health problems. This is because the researchers failed to determine causation. In addition, they only considered the highest daily temperatures as a benchmark for exposure to hot weather. Also, they did not consider other factors, such as how much time the participants have spent outdoors.
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