HomeScience and TechnologyExposure To 'Climate Trauma'...

Exposure To ‘Climate Trauma’ Increases Risk Of Mental Health Problems: Study

Phenomena like wildfires can be devastating to human lives and the environment. Now, a new study has found that people subjected to “climate trauma” are also likely to experience mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression.

The study, published in the journal PLOS Climate, observed people, directly and indirectly, affected by the Camp Fire of 2018, which was said to be one of the deadliest and most destructive wildfires in California history.

In November 2018, the Camp Fire decimated 239 square miles of area, and destroyed 18,804 structures, killing 85 people in the process, Earth.com reported.

“Climate change is an emerging challenge. It is already well-documented that extreme climate events result in significant psychological impacts. Warming temperatures, for example, have even been linked to greater suicide rates. As planetary warming amplifies, more forest fires are expected in California and globally, with significant implications for mental health effects,” study senior author Jyoti Mishra, an associate professor of Psychiatry at UC San Diego, said.

For the study, the scientists recruited 27 individuals directly exposed to the Camp Fire, 21 indirectly exposed (individuals who witnessed the wildfir,e but were not directly affected), and 27 control individuals. The participants then underwent a series of cognitive tests, and their brain activity was measured by electroencephalography (EEG). 

Fire-exposed individuals showed increased activity in brain areas associated with cognitive control and interference processing (dealing with disturbing thoughts), the study found.

“To function well day-to-day, our brains need to process information and manage memories in ways that help achieve goals while ignoring or dispensing with irrelevant or harmful distractions,” Mishra explained.

“In this study, we wanted to learn whether and how climate trauma affected and altered cognitive and brain functions in a group of people who had experienced it during the Camp Fire. We found that those who were impacted, directly or indirectly, displayed weaker interference processing. Such weakened cognitive performance may then impair daily functioning and reduce well-being,” Mishra added.

Following the analysis, it was found that 67% of the individuals directly exposed to the wildfire and 14% of those indirectly exposed reported having experienced recent trauma.

The study hopes to guide efforts in developing therapeutic tools that can address the issues of individuals facing extreme climate exposures, like wildfires.

Another recent study found that fishing was a very effective way to ease mental health issues. “We have been told on numerous occasions by our service users that if it were not for the fishing sessions, they don’t think they’d be alive today,” David Lyons, the founder of angling organization, Tackling Minds, said. “To now have scientific evidence to back up what we’ve been saying all along, is unbelievable, to say the least.”

Most Popular

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More from Author

Read Now

Saradha case: ED attaches assets of ‘beneficiaries’, including P Chidambaram’s wife, ex-CPM MLA

NEW DELHI: The ED on Friday said it has attached assets worth more than Rs 6 crore of “beneficiaries” such as Nalini Chidambaram,...

Prescribing Medication Dosage According To DNA Profile Lowers Side Effects By 30%: Study

A novel study has shown that prescribing medication dosage in accordance with a patient’s DNA can bring down the side effects by 30%--a significant figure.The international study was led by Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), and their findings were published in the journal The Lancet.“The one-size-fits-all approach...

Mad Cow Disease Found On Farm In Netherlands

A rare disease that is 100% fatal once symptoms appear has been detected in a cow at a farm in the Netherlands. Worryingly, the disease can be passed to humans when they eat beef of cows contaminated with the disease.The disease called bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or...

Azad takes-up eviction of land issue with Home Minister Amit Shah

Shah assures Azad that small land holders...

VRS employees can’t claim parity with those retired after superannuation: SC

STATE TIMES NEWS New Delhi: Employees who voluntarily...

Dr Jitendra updates Rajya Sabha about ongoing ‘Rozgar Melas’

STATE TIMES NEWS NEW DELHI: “Rozgar Melas” being held across the country will provide 10 lakh government jobs in one year or so.This was...

Know What Factors Predispose Mothers To Having Giant Babies

The recent birth of a 16-pound infant has brought the issues associated with giant babies to the fore. According to scientists, there are certain factors that increase the chances of mothers giving birth to big babies.The 16-pound baby was born to a mother in Brazil via cesarean...

Most US Adults Want Sale Of Menthol Cigarettes, Tobacco Products Stopped: Survey

More than half of adults in the United States agree with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposal to ban the sale of tobacco products in the country. A study published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease on Thursday showed that majority of U.S. adults support policies...

Why It’s Healthier Than The OG Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet has undeniably become popular in recent years due to its promised health benefits, sustainability and ease of use. But a new version of this healthy eating program is slowly rising and could overtake the original version in no time. The Mediterranean diet is already a...

Can Cold Weather Trigger A Heart Attack? A Cardiologist Answers

Unless you like hibernating during the winter season, you probably loathe the idea of traveling, going to work and doing outside chores amid the cold weather. And then there’s the risk of having a heart attack in cold temperatures. A study published in May 2021 showed the seasonal...

Diesel Fume Inhalation Impairs Brain Function: Scientists

The morning commute is already challenging and exhausting for many people. And now there’s another reason to detest your regular travel to work or school as scientists found that even brief exposure to diesel fumes from cars and other vehicles could hurt the human brain. In a randomized...

Scientists Develop Fentanyl Vaccine To Counter Drug Addiction, Prevent Overdose Deaths

The fentanyl crisis in the U.S. has gotten so bad in recent years that scientists are now looking for ways to counter the problem head-on. This need led a team of researchers to develop a vaccine preventing the substance from entering the brain. In a study published in...