Does Heat Affect Bipolar Disorder?
Though summer brings more sunshine and opportunities for vacation and outdoor recreation, it can be a challenging season for people living with mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder. The heat can adversely affect your mood, memory, attention and ability to get restful sleep – all of which are crucial to maintaining your mental well-being.
Understanding the Impact of Summer on Bipolar Disorder and Other Conditions
Anyone can feel the strain of a sweltering summer day, which may make you irritable and put you on edge. However, excessive heat can intensify the symptoms of bipolar and other mental health conditions.
For instance, sleep is when your brain processes emotions, solidifies memories and performs other vital “housekeeping” tasks. If you are sleep-deprived because you frequently wake up sweating in the middle of the night, your mood and cognitive function can worsen, making you more susceptible to bipolar episodes.
Medication, Heat Regulation and Mental Health
Interestingly, high summer temperatures are not the only problem confronting people with bipolar disorder and other challenging issues. Some drugs used to manage mental health conditions, such as antidepressants and antipsychotics, can affect your body’s ability to regulate temperature. That makes hot weather a particular challenge for people who rely on these medications to stay on an even keel.
Disruptions to your natural heat response mechanism can make it harder for you to cool off, resulting in an increased risk of illnesses like heat exhaustion and heatstroke. If you take one of these medications, carefully read the prescription directions and talk to your doctor about extra precautions you can take during hot weather.
Heat-Related Concerns Are Increasing Due to Climate Change
The challenges posed by summer heat are not stagnant; they are escalating due to global warming. Scientists have warned of an alarming rise in the frequency and duration of heat waves over the past several decades.
In the 1960s, there were an average of two heat waves per year. Now, this number has tripled to an average of six per year. Furthermore, the average heat wave season lasts approximately 49 days longer in the 2020s than it did in the 1960s.
Climate change is a global issue, and its impact on mental health is an aspect we cannot afford to overlook. If you live with a mental health condition, you must stay informed about the added pressures that come with hotter, longer summers. With the correct support and treatment, it’s possible to navigate these challenges and maintain mental well-being, even as the mercury rises.
Do You Need Extra Help and Support This Summer?
At Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services, we understand the unique challenges mental health conditions can cause all year long, but especially during the summer. Our dedicated team can help you manage your well-being with a combination of education, support, and personalized care. We are proud to be a CARF-accredited treatment center, a hallmark of the high standards we pledge to uphold.
If you are struggling with mental health issues this summer, you’re not alone. Reach out to us today to learn how we can provide the support you need during this challenging season. By acknowledging these summer-related challenges and taking proactive steps, you can better manage your symptoms and enjoy this summer.