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This Heat Makes Me Want To Dehydrate Myself To Death

from The Boston Globe

Climate change takes a mental toll

By Emily Anthes Globe Correspondent / February 9, 2009

Last year, an anxious, depressed 17-year-old boy was admitted to the psychiatric unit at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. He was refusing to drink water. Worried about drought related to climate change, the young man was convinced that if he drank, millions of people would die. The Australian doctors wrote the case up as the first known instance of “climate change delusion.”

Robert Salo, the psychiatrist who runs the inpatient unit where the boy was treated, has now seen several more patients with psychosis or anxiety disorders focused on climate change, as well as children who are having nightmares about global-warming-related natural disasters.”

Climate change could have a real impact on our psyches,” says Paul Epstein, the associate director for the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School.

Climate change is expected to create about 200 million environmental refugees by 2050, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the international body established within the United Nations to evaluate causes and consequences of global warming.

Of course, no one can predict what effect warming will have on our psyches. The links between mental illness and the weather can be tenuous or even downright contradictory. Depending on which studies you read, suicide is more common, less common, or equally common in hot weather. Ditto dry weather.Continued…

[ click to continue reading at the Boston Globe ]

Posted on February 9, 2009 by Editor

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