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Many people feel a little hotheaded when the mercury rises, said Nancy Molitor, an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry and behavioral science at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. In fact, hot and especially humid weather is known to be associated with increases in aggression and violence, as well as a lower general mood, Molitor said.
That's because trouble sleeping, dehydration and restrictions on our daily actives — such as being cooped up inside all day to avoid the sweltering heat — may all contribute to a worsening mood in warm weather, Molitor said. And a lack of control over the situation may further irritate some people, she said. If the summer heat has you feeling snappish, Molitor advised avoiding making any important life decisions, because you might make a choice you later regret.
And whether you're at the office or on the road, recognize that people you deal with may also be a bit testy. Summer SAD While it's common to feel a little depressed or grouchy in the summer heat, a small percentage about 1 or 2 percent of people experience a summer version of seasonal affect disorder SAD.
On top of feeling uncomfortable and depressedpeople with this condition feel enormously anxious in the summertime, and can even become suicidal, Molitor said.
For them, the heat and sunshine are "almost impossible to endure," she said. Molitor said she suspects that prolonged periods of heat and humidity, as many regions have experienced this summer, may lead to an increase in cases of summer SAD seen by doctors.
Coping with the heat Molitor urged that people practice common sense in the heat: stay hydrated, and listen to your body. If you're healthy and want to exercise, try to get in your workout in the morning or evening, rather than the middle of the day.
Story continues If you take mediations that are diuretics, such as blood pressure medicationsyou will need to drink even more that usual to stay hydrated, Molitor said. In addition, focus on aspects of your life you can control, Molitor said, and realize that eventually, it will cool down.
Pass it on: Hot weather tests our tempers, leading to increases in aggression and violence, studies have shown.
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