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Environmental Pollution and Its Effects on Mental Health

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Things were different a few decades back when you didn’t have to retreat to the countryside to find clean, breathable air. With global warming on the rise, the environmental side effects are wreaking havoc on physical and mental health.

Mental health problems are also on the rise, and one unexpected culprit is the deteriorating air quality and increasing environmental pollution. As the temperatures soar and wildfires are becoming a usual sight, airborne contaminant levels are the highest they’ve ever been. Recent studies indicate that this is directly affecting the central nervous system.

People face unexplained anxiety and depression, leading to mental breakdowns. Patience is running short, and many across the globe are complaining about mood swings and reporting issues such as loss of appetite, chronic depression, loss of sex drive, and many other ailments.

Rising PM2.5 and NOx Levels

A recent study of the most polluted cities in the world has identified the rising NOx (nitrous oxide) levels to be the main culprit leading to a compromised nervous system. The fine particulate matter levels (PM2.5) levels also affect mental health but do not cause a lasting effect.

Nitrogen derivatives should not be taken lightly. Combined with carbon monoxide, they can prove fatal. The study also indicated rising suicide rates and psychotic behavior in areas affected the most.

Worst of all, these high levels of contaminants can permanently affect children’s mental capacities. Continued exposure to airborne contaminants can lead to a cognitive decline and will cause a decrease in physical well-being as well.

Cognitive Connections of Contaminant Levels

According to the American Psychological Association, the connection between NOx levels and cardiovascular issues was already known, but recent studies have successfully established a link between PM2.5 particle levels and accelerated cognitive decline in women.

While further studies are needed to gauge the full extent of the decline, there is a belief that rising psychosis and other mental health symptoms are partly due to the smog layer that has encased the planet.

Some regions have better air quality than others, but according to estimates, that won’t be for long. The contaminant levels will spread out eventually, and the planet will become unfit to live on without auxiliary air purification.

Is there a Fix?

The only real fix for the rising contaminant levels and rapid cognitive decline is decreased use of fossil fuels and sustainable processes. As we have no control over that on an individual level, the next best fix is the use of air purifiers in the home and workplace.

Air purifiers can help keep indoor contaminant levels in check and can help ensure a clean supply of air so you and your family can breathe freely without worrying about side effects. Wearing facemasks in public can also help protect you from airborne contaminants as well as infectious diseases, such as that caused by COVID-19.

When Should I Seek Help?

If you’re facing insomnia, unexplained fatigue, loss of appetite, or even unexplained changes in your sex drive, it’s possible that your mind and nervous system are soaking up the effects of polluted air around you.

If you’re wondering whether someone you know is developing a mental health condition, look for changes in behavior. Changes in sleep and eating habits could be a sign of a sleep or eating disorder or might have a less obvious cause, such as depression. Therapies are available for all these disorders.

If you suspect a mental health condition, the best course of action is to consult a medical professional, such as your general practitioner, or a mental health specialist, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or psychotherapist.



Author Bio: Justin is part of an experienced air quality product reviewing team that writes for Air Purifier Mag. The team strives to bring unbiased air quality improvement product reviews and guides for the public so people can make the right decision. All Air Purifier Mag reviews are based on objective information and real-life testing.

Photo by Chris LeBoutillier on Unsplash

The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios.

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1 thoughts on “Environmental Pollution and Its Effects on Mental Health

  1. Marina Teramond @ N.M.P.L. says:

    It is cool that you enlightened this topic because, unfortunately, environmental pollution has a global effect on the human and its mental health, but really often it is underestimated. I think that it is really important to open people’s eyes to such considerable problems. Before this moment I hadn’t been aware of many facts, but I know that increased levels of nitrogen oxides in the air can even contribute to developing paranoia. I have no doubts that there is a certain relation between air pollution and its effect on the human brain, but It’s just not studied enough. It is so cool that you offered methods of solution because they are truly effective and if we stick to them, there will be more probability to cope with such an awful state of affairs. I think that consulting with a specialist should be a priority for the person, if he has all mentioned symptoms because, otherwise, there is a risk to face truly negative consequences.

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