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Hot Weather Makes My Bipolar Worse

June 28, 2021 Natasha Tracy

I think hot weather makes bipolar disorder worse. It seems to do this in multiple ways. Some of this is my opinion, while some of it is based on evidence. Regardless, though, hot weather definitely makes my bipolar worse.

Hot Weather and My Bipolar Disorder

I recently asked on social media, "When the weather gets hot, does your brain melt?"

Some people agreed. Some people just laughed. Some people may have thought my brain had already melted. I meant it, though. In the high heat, it really feels like my brain just melts out of my ears. It feels like I can't think. It feels like there is soup in the spaces between my neurons, making it impossible for one to communicate with the next. It's horrible.

On top of that, hot weather makes my bipolar worse because it makes me feel miserable. If you put me in a room of 100-degree heat with added humidity, I'm grumpy, squared. (I don't have air conditioning, and, yes, we're experiencing this kind of heat and more right now.)

What's more, I don't think I'm the only one. I think many people with serious brain disorders find high heat unbearable.

Evidence Hot Weather Makes Bipolar Worse

Additional to how I personally feel about hot weather and bipolar disorder, there is some evidence that hot weather impacts mental health. According to "Associations Between High Ambient Temperatures and Heat Waves with Mental Health Outcomes: A Systematic Review," the strongest link found was between high temperatures and suicide.1 This study also notes the lack of understanding between mental illness and hot weather.

Another study, "Is There an Association Between Hot Weather and Poor Mental Health Outcomes? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis," found that hot weather negatively impacted mental health outcomes.2

The greatest mortality risk was attributed to substance-related mental disorders . . . followed by organic mental disorders . . . A 1 °C temperature rise was also associated with a significant increase in morbidity such as mood disorders, organic mental disorders, schizophrenia, neurotic and anxiety disorders. Findings suggest evidence of vulnerability for populations living in tropical and subtropical climate zones, and for people aged more than 65 years.

And then, of course, there's the association between some medications and heat intolerance.  For example, anticholinergic drugs, which can treat many psychiatric conditions, often reduce sweating and increase heat sensitivity.3

What Can You Do If Hot Weather Makes Your Bipolar Worse

Personally, I find that complaining about the hot weather and my bipolar constantly is very helpful. But, there are probably a few other things to keep in mind.

According to Medical News Today, to fight heath intolerance:

  • Avoid direct sunlight. The sun tends to be at its hottest and brightest between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Use air conditioning or a fan during the summer months.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
  • Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Avoid alcohol in hot weather.
  • Take a cool bath or swimming in a pool.
  • Wrap a towel soaked in cold water around the back of the neck.
  • Avoid strenuous activities during hot weather or in warm rooms.

Finally, seek medical attention if you experience the following:

  • An inability to sweat, even when very warm
  • A body temperature above 103°F
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness

And if the hot weather is making your bipolar worse, keep this in mind: the summer doesn't last forever. Soon enough, you'll be able to complain about the cold. 

Sources

  1. Thompson, R. et al., "Associations Between High Ambient Temperatures and Heat Waves with Mental Health Outcomes: A Systematic Review." Public Health, August 2018.
  2. Liu, J., et al., "Is There an Association Between Hot Weather and Poor Mental Health Outcomes? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis." Environment International, March 2021.
  3. Villines, Z., "Everything You Need to Know About Heat Intolerance." Medical News Today, May 2019.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2021, June 28). Hot Weather Makes My Bipolar Worse, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, October 17 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2021/6/hot-weather-makes-my-bipolar-worse



Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleTwitter, InstagramFacebook and YouTube.

Pam isaac
June, 28 2021 at 12:35 pm

Absolutely....the heat is awful for my bipolar and I also have asthma....

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