Exploring The Link Between Florida’s Climate And Susceptibility To Depression

Exploring The Link Between Florida’s Climate And Susceptibility To Depression

At first look, the warm weather and sunshine in Florida may seem like the perfect way to recover from almost any illness. And yes, the draw of clean beaches and a friendly outdoor life can be good for your mental health, too. Still, there may also be a specific link between Florida’s climate and susceptibility to depression. Exactly what kind of link, though — The Art of Healthy Living aims to explore!

What Is Meant By ”Depression”?

Feeling down, experiencing deep sadness, or finding yourself in a place where nothing seems enjoyable anymore can all be signs of something more than just a bad day — these can be signs of depression. We are talking about a mental health condition that is absolutely real, which wraps people in a cloud that dims their view of life, their thoughts, and how they go about their everyday routines. It’s a type of condition that makes it hard to find the light in things you used to love and even leads to a loss in appetite and your tossing and turning through long sleepless nights.

What makes one person’s experience with depression unique can be a complex mix of their genetics, what’s happening inside their body, the world they’ve grown up in, and the challenges they’ve faced. It’s a deeply personal battle, yet it’s also something many share.

We are also talking about a condition that affects a significant portion of Floridians. Statistically speaking, America’s Health Rankings reported that about 17.8% of adults in this state experienced some form of depression at one point in their lives. This might seem like a low number, but it’s actually measured in millions of people! So, what is it about the Sunshine State that contributes to these numbers being so high? It could very well be the weather.

A woman sitting on the floor with her head on her knees
The climate plays a big role in the number of depressed people in Florida.

What Is The Climate In The Sunshine State like?

Now, you could be wondering what the weather or, rather, climate has possibly to do with one’s predisposition for depressive disorder. But before we answer that, let’s examine the climate in Florida. Considering its second name is ”the Sunshine State,” it’s clear that this state receives plenty of Sun, with approximately 237 sunshine days on a yearly basis. In terms of seasons, we are talking about hot, humid summers and mild winters.

But what’s so bad about a little more sunshine here and there? After all, vitamin D can be a great mood booster! Why, yes, that’s absolutely true. But when you are met with intense summer heat and temperatures that regularly exceed 90°F, you can’t help but feel at least slightly uncomfortable. At the same time, it’s possible you’ll get dehydrated and have trouble sleeping. This can make anyone feel frustrated — let alone someone suffering from depression!

Scientific Studies On Climate And Mental Health

Research has started to uncover the complex relationship between Florida’s climate and susceptibility to depression. In fact, one study published by Nature Climate Change found that high temperatures can raise the risk of succumbing to mental issues. It’s believed that, for every 1°C increase in average monthly temperature, the rate of mental health problems rises by up to 2%.

While Florida does not experience extreme winters, the variance in daylight hours across seasons can also affect individuals prone to seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This condition is often linked to changes in sunlight exposure, which can influence serotonin and melatonin levels and, thus, affect mood. In turn, this makes taking care of your mental health a whole lot more complicated.

A close-up of a sunset on the horizon
It is scientifically proven that hot weather can make depression worse

Adapting To The Climate Without Losing Your Mind

You can’t change the weather or the impact it CAN have on your psyche. But what you can do is find ways to deal with it!

  • Cooler air from parks and green roofs can make people feel better and improve their well-being. Greenery is nice to look at, for sure. It’s also fun to relax and play in and may even improve your mental health. Researchers have found that spending time in nature lowers stress, gets people moving, and helps them make friends. All of this helps alleviate symptoms of depression! So, whenever you find yourself feeling blue, visit a natural oasis; you’ll instantly feel better!
  • Strengthening social relationships is crucial, as the stronger they are, the higher emotional support you can receive during and after extreme weather events.
  • If climate-related stress leads to depression and everything becomes hard to bear, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Professionals working for the aerial We Level Up FL, commonly referred to as We Level Up Tamarac FL, can provide you with the mental health support you need. Thanks to a background that spans over 15 years, but also numerous five-star reviews and over 10,000 recovery successes, you are sure to find the quality care in We Level Up Tamarac FL that makes it possible to get through this mental disorder.

Does Climate Change Impact The Overall Florida’s Climate And Susceptibility To Depression?

Climate change is long underway and is, little by little, leading to higher temperatures and more frequent extreme weather events (e.g., hurricanes and floods), which can impact affected populations in disastrous ways!

Following Hurricane Irma in 2019, for example, Floridians have reported a notable increase in stress and anxiety, which have resulted in more cases of depressive disorders around that time. To prevent similar from happening again, changes must be implemented, starting from adapting our homes to altering the way we live.

Extreme weather is a cause for concern

As we noted, extreme weather events have played a major role in the development of depression in the past. Hurricanes cause physical destruction, as we all know. The loss of property, disruption of daily life, and the uncertainty of recovery, however, contribute to chronic stress, which is a known depression risk factor.

Similarly, floods result in displacement, loss, and a lingering fear of recurrence, heightening anxiety levels and potential depression. Heat waves exacerbate these mental health challenges by affecting the body’s stress regulation and increasing feelings of isolation due to the necessity to stay indoors.

Palm trees by a beach being blown by a strong wind
Florida’s climate and susceptibility to depression is made worse with the extreme weather events

Fighting Climate Change Has Never Been As Important As It Is Now!

The relationship between Florida’s climate and susceptibility to depression clearly exists, although that’s not a reason to be scared of what’s to come. Believe it or not, we can combat the effects the changing weather has on our psyche. All it takes is making certain changes to our daily lives and building not the resilience of the body but that of the mind!

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