People with mental health disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or anxiety are more likely to die from heatstroke.
This is evidenced by the results of a study by scientists from Canada and the USA, published in AGU, writes CNN.
During the record heat wave in British Columbia in June 2021, 8% of people who died as a result of extreme heat had a diagnosis of schizophrenia, according to a study.
The heat is associated with an increase in suicide attempts
“Until climate change is brought under control, the situation will, unfortunately, only worsen. As temperatures continue to rise, these effects will increase. There will be more storms, more fires, and people will be more concerned about what might happen“, says Dr. Robert Feder, a representative of the American Psychiatric Association in the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health.
As research has shown, a rise in temperature is also associated with an increase in suicide attempts and the number of visits to psychiatric emergency departments.
“Anterior hypothalamus – this the part of the brain that signals when you are too hot or too cold. It informs the brain that it is necessary, for example, to drink water or put on a coat. Bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or manic-depressive disorder – disrupt the neurotransmission of information to this part of the brain “, says Dr. Peter Crank, Associate Professor of the Department of Geography and Environmental Management at the University of Waterloo in Canada.
The level of serotonin and dopamine is lower in people with mental disorders
Experts add that the ability to regulate body temperature may also be related to brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine, which are typically lower in people with mental disorders.
Also, high temperatures can interfere with sleep, an important factor in mental health.
Due to the psychosis experienced by people with schizophrenia, they may not realize that they are overheated and do nothing to ensure their safety.
People with mental disorders are also more likely to self-medicate with drugs that interfere with their body’s ability to sense and respond to heat.
According to Dr. Joshua Wortzel, chair of the American Psychiatric Association’s Committee on Climate Change and Mental Health, there is a need at the policy level to increase access to cooling centers and other resources, and to provide more funding for research that will help better understand the effects of heat on mental health .
Read also: “Which mental disorders are most common in the elderly – explains the Ministry of Health”