AUSTIN (KXAN) — Our rising temperatures may affect the millions of people living with anxiety.
“People with anxiety are very susceptible to physical symptoms, so any change in their physical symptoms, if they feel overheated for example, that will very likely kick off increased anxiety, absolutely,” said Dr. Chris Hansen, a therapist based in San Antonio.
A study published in February in JAMA Psychiatry researched how mental health visits to the emergency room increased with higher warm season temperatures.
It’s a subject, researchers said, is needed to help the millions of people suffering from mental health conditions.
“The implications of extreme heat for physical health outcomes have been well documented. However, the association between elevated ambient temperature and specific mental health conditions remains poorly understood,” Hansen said.
Hansen said he is seeing an increase in anxiety cases from the heat and the increase worry in other factors, like rising energy bills and inflation, are only adding to the problem.
“There’s a lot of people out there that simply can’t afford to get cool. In general power is up, food, the necessities are more expensive and that exacerbates things. People can’t afford to buy their meds,” Hansen said.
Hansen tells his patients to talk through their thoughts and know there are resources available to help them.
“A lot of people with anxiety, their thoughts are skewed. Helping them realize yes, things are hard, things are tough, but it’s not the end of the world. There’s help out there,” Hansen said.