Rising air pollution does not only entail side effects on physical health, it may as well affect your cognitive functioning and mental health as well.
Rising air pollution is no more a news, it is a fact, it is the reality several of us are breathing in every day. With Delhi’s air quality standing consecutively around poor, severely poor, health implications are inevitable. There is a rise in complaints about breathing issues, respiratory problems, cold and coughs and exacerbation of existing comorbidities. Apart from physical health, are you experiencing mood swings, feeling low on energy? Well, pollution can be behind this too.
The toxic particles in the air can take severe toll on our mental health as well. When toxic pollutants enter the body, stress hormones are released that can further lead to alterations in moods, anxiety, etc.
There are several possible mechanisms by which air pollution may impact mental health. One possibility is that air pollutants can damage the brain. Another possibility is that air pollutants can trigger inflammation in the body, which can then lead to mental health problems. Here is how exactly air pollution can trigger mental health troubles.
HOW AIR POLLUTION AFFECT MENTAL HEALTH
- Depression: A study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that people living in areas with high levels of air pollution were twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression as those living in areas with low levels of pollution.
- Anxiety: A study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry found that people living in areas with high levels of air pollution were more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety, such as worry, irritability, and restlessness.
- Stress: A study published in the journal Environmental Health found that exposure to air pollution can increase levels of stress hormones in the body.
- Cognitive impairment: A study published in the journal Neurotoxicology found that exposure to air pollution can lead to problems with thinking, memory, and learning.
- Psychosis: A study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that people living in areas with high levels of air pollution were more likely to be diagnosed with psychosis, a mental disorder that causes a loss of contact with reality.
5 TIPS TO MANAGE MENTAL HEALTH EVERYDAY
- Reduce exposure to air pollution: If you are concerned about the impact of air pollution on your mental health, there are a number of things you can do to reduce your exposure. Avoid going out when not extremely necessary.
- Stay Active: Try to incorporate a healthy and active lifestyle. Be regular in exercise, yoga, walking etc as it will help to manage mental well-being.
- Wearing a mask: If you must spend time outdoors when pollution levels are high, you can wear a mask to help filter out pollutants.
- Using an air purifier: An air purifier can help to remove pollutants from the air inside your home.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle: A healthy lifestyle can help to reduce your risk of mental health problems. This includes eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and managing stress.
- Seek social support: Social support is important for mental health. Make time for activities that you enjoy with friends and family.
- Talk to a therapist: If you are struggling with mental health problems, talk to a therapist. They can help you to understand your symptoms and develop coping mechanisms.