Over a decade ago, it was suspected that climate change would have major psychological impacts as the world became increasingly aware of its effects. Recent research proves the suspicion to be true, as climate change is causing anxiety and other mental health issues in young people and adults.
Recent research published in Lancet showed that young people in multiple countries are worried about climate change, with 59% reporting they were very or extremely worried. Mental health experts have raised the potential psychological impact of climate change for over a decade. Psychologists Dr. Thomas Doherty and Dr. Susan Clayton published early work on the topic, including a 2011 article, “The Psychological Impacts of Global Climate Change.” According to a recent New York Times article by Ellen Berry, over the last decade, Dr. Doherty has since built an entire practice–and podcast–around anxiety and other mental health effects potentially worsened by climate trends and our public discussion of these trends. One student in his practice reported that she sought out help after reading about climate data would send her into “multiday panic episodes.” Dr. Doherty says he uses elements of cognitive behavioral therapy, which help patients manage their information intake, and aspects of logotherapy, or existential therapy, which focuses patients on developing purpose and meaning.
Climate change is a major concern for many adults in California, where climate change and climate-related issues are regularly in the news and political discussions. The psychiatrists of CalPsychiatry are trained to diagnose and advise patients on the symptoms and treatments of anxiety, panic, and other mental health issues, all of which may be heightened by climate change news and discussions. CalPsychiatry can be available to help clarify if these symptoms require additional treatment. Call or book your free consultation at your convenience. We offer weekend and flexible hours in offices throughout California.