climate change phobia is growing

Suffocating heat, fires that break virulence records, unstoppable environmental pollution, extreme meteorological phenomena, ecosystem modifications, species extinction, migrations and desertification…

These and other events, which were previously reserved for nature documentaries and which, at most, occupied a few lines in the newspapers, are now the protagonists. They open the news, astonish us with the virulence of their images and have become the new and greatest danger.

The climate change and global warming threaten us as a species, not only in the future, but in the present, and the World Health Organization warns not only of its consequences for people’s physical well-being, but also on their mental well-being. So much so that, even without an official diagnosis, the fear, phobia and anxiety caused by this situation have already been detected in psychiatric and psychological consultations.

The ecoansiedad, explains Pilar Conde, technical director of Clínicas Origen, consists of an anxious worry about the impact of climate change on the lives of people and future generations, as well as on the known current ecosystem. This concern manifests itself in the thoughts and
in addition to compulsively reading news with this content and obsessing over just talking about it, can impact people’s functionality and emotional well-being.

Its characteristic symptoms correspond to the usual organic responses to anxiety, ie tachycardia, arterial hypertension, feeling of suffocation, difficulty in breathing… They are similar to those produced by anxiety. solastalgia, another concept without a clinical diagnosis that mental health experts are working on. Speaking of solastalgia, we would be dealing with the anguish and mental stress caused by environmental deterioration.

Although these fears may be similar to those experienced by citizens around the world during the Cold War under the nuclear threat, Condé clarifies the comparison: “It has a certain difference, since the Cold War nuclear attack was linked to a conflict in the that its completion was expected and presented an imminent risk, and its consequent disappearance of the risk. And the situation of global warming, characterized by a lower global imminent risk, but whose extent of irreversible consequences is unknown.

The bone youth they constitute the segment of the population most at risk of climatic depression (generic name used to encompass this type of problem), since they will suffer the effects more. They grew up with concern for the planet and with detailed information on climate cycles, which led them, at the same time, to be more active in the defense of the environment.

Precisely adolescents and young people, Origen remembers, are those who have been the most surprised and affected by the pandemic. They had to adjust to the reality that “something bad can happen” and something can change your life.

Against eco-anxiety, as against other phobias, the Healthy life This is the best recipe. By this we mean a correct sleep hygiene and a balanced diet, as well as an active social life, with the presence of our loved ones. But, in addition, Condé gives us two tips for not falling into excessive worry about the weather and its consequences on our health:

The first is to turn worry into something productive that leads to pro-environmental actionsboth in our daily behavior and in participation in various campaigns, associations or movements.

And finally, document ourselves out of need for information and not out of anxiety. Avoid massive searches, forums and opinion articles and favor navigation on scientific criteria, through official and popular pages.

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