Monday, July 9, 2012

Heat May Pose Serious Risk for Those With Mental Illness

In view of the brutal heat experienced by many Americans last week, a study reported in the June British Journal of Psychiatry was especially prescient. Using a representative sample of British patients with psychosis, dementia, or substance abuse, the researchers found a sharp increase in the risk of death among them during periods of hot weather. The increased risk was greater than that seen in general population samples using similar methodology.

Other interesting links have been made recently between climate or weather and mental health. Specifically, scientists have linked suicide rates not just with the early-summer time period and with barometric pressure, but with air pollutants such as particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, and ozone as well. Read about that pollution-related finding in Psychiatric News. In fact, with the arrival of global warming and its ability to trigger extreme weather events, eco-psychiatry may be an emerging field. For more information on the subject, see Psychiatric News.

(Image: iQoncept/


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