High temperatures could impact mental health

The extreme heat has the same effect on your brain as high stress, according to experts.
Published: Aug. 13, 2023 at 10:16 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 13, 2023 at 10:27 PM CDT
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SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) - The extreme heat has the same affect on your brain as high stress, according to experts.

Dr. Vince Callahan, mental health expert for over three decades, says there are two major systems in the brain. “The frontal lobe is our executive planning, executive functioning, critical thinking skills, objectivity threat assessment, mood regulation, who we are, our personality. So just like in stress, the heat impacts those systems so that we are not objective.”

Our regular body temperature is around 98 degrees, so if you’re in the sun for a long time, there could be major consequences. Dr. Callahan says, “the heat actually begins to kill off brain cells, and those things can’t be replaced once they die.”

Like stress, Dr. Callahan says that intense heat can change how your brain opperates.

Researchers say that as temperature rise, so do instances of suicide. Dr. Callahan says since the pandemic, there’s been a 66 percent increase in teen suicides and teen suicide attempts.

However, older people are more at risk since most lack the hydration that they need. Dr. Callahan says that when they get dehydrated, they get a UTI and lose cognition ability. “There’s a relationship between UTIs and early onset dementia and Alzheimer’s, and it’s all centered around hydration,” Dr. Callahan says.

He says water and fluids with electrolytes are essential, and he emphasizes that if you’re feeling thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. “Studies show that for normal purposes, you should drink half of your body weight in ounces of water,” says Dr. Callahan.