Psychologist: Extreme heat can impact mood and mental health

Extreme heat doesn't just impact your physical body but it can be hard on your mental health as well. Experts have tips to help with your mental state.
Published: Jul. 7, 2023 at 4:46 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Ask anyone out and about in Phoenix Friday, and they’ll tell you the current heat wave is not something you ever get used to. But there’s more to the extreme heat than just feeling uncomfortable, according to health experts.

Dr. Soffia Palsdottir is the chief clinical psychologist with the Mental Health Center of America. She’s said all these 110-degree days can significantly impact someone’s mood or mental state. “It can be harder to get a good night sleep, our appetite decreases and we’re not eating as healthy as before,” said Palsdottir. “People also engage in high-risk coping behaviors like use of alcohol and illicit drugs. All of that has an impact on people’s moods and behaviors.”

Arizona's hot temperatures can not only drain your smartphone's battery but can ruin your battery health too.

Recent statistics show an increase in domestic violence, aggression and suicide during the hottest days of the year. Quincy Clark of Phoenix works outside in the heat and admits on some days, he doesn’t feel like showing up. “It’ll break you down, especially if you are not used to it. It will break you down,” said Clark. “I don’t know how some of the homeless people can do it.”

There are a number of things people can do to cope with the summer heat in Arizona, according to the Mental Health Center of America.

  • Adjust activity
  • Take more frequent breaks
  • Stay indoors when possible
  • Stay hydrated
  • Eat healthily
  • Get 6-8 hours sleep
  • Stay connected

A lot of people isolate themselves during the summer, and that can lead to depression, said Palsdottir.

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