Extreme heat linked to increased use of emergency departments for mental health issues – Consumer Health News

MONDAY, March 7, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Extremely hot days are associated with higher rates of mental health-related emergency room visits, according to a study published online Feb. JAMA Psychiatry.

Amruta Nori-Sarma, Ph.D., of the Boston University School of Public Health, and colleagues studied the association between ambient heat and mental health-related emergency room visits. Medical claims data was used to identify adults with a primary or secondary discharge psychiatric diagnosis during the warm season months (May through September) from 2010 through 2019 in 2,775 U.S. counties. The analysis included nearly 3.5 million emergency room visits among 2.2 million unique individuals.

The researchers found that extreme heat days were associated with a higher incidence of emergency room visits for any mental health condition (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 1.08). Specifically, associations were observed between oppressive heat and emergency department visits for substance use disorders (IRR, 1.08); anxiety, stress-related and somatoform disorders (IRR, 1.07); mood disorders (IRR, 1.07); schizophrenia, schizotypal and delusional disorders (IRR, 1.05); self-harm (IRR, 1.06); and childhood onset behavioral problems (IRR, 1.11). The associations were higher in men (IRR, 1.10) and in the Northeast (IRR, 1.10), Midwest (IRR, 1.11), and Northwest (IRR, 1.10) regions. 12).

“This finding may be instructive for clinicians providing mental health services during periods of extreme heat to prepare for increased health service needs when periods of extreme heat are anticipated,” the authors write.

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