Mental health is something that a lot of people neglect. Somehow, when people experience physical pain, they immediately go to the doctor. However, when it comes to mental problems like depression or anxiety, it’s like people are ashamed to admit that they are suffering. This is mainly the fault of our society and the lack of education on mental health.
Contrary to the popular belief, not all mental problems are a sure ticket to the looney bin; in fact, most of them are easily treatable. However, ignoring even the slightest form of depression or some other mental illness leads you on a dangerous path that ends with problems that are far more serious and harder to treat.
Now, curing any mental illness is no easy task, but finding the cause of it is a great starting point. Many studies have been done on this subject, and frankly, the cause of one’s depression can be anything from a broken heart to some deeper problems, but one study, in particular, has discovered some interesting links between depression and a lack of oxygen, more precisely, how living in high altitude areas affects one’s depression.
Naturally, people in mountain areas have healthier bodies. They tend to be more active and in combination with thinner oxygen, their lungs and other organs develop more. That is why we see a lot of pro athletes go on a high-altitude training before some big competition. But as it turns out, high altitude is not that good for your mental health.
This is not a new idea by any means. Mountain states have generally had higher suicide rates than the coastal ones. For example, in 2012, mountain states like Colorado and Utah had suicide rates of over 18 per 100,000 people, while in the same year, national average was around 12.5 per 100,000 people. These are not small differences and these stats are a clear sign that there is a correlation between the two.
A study was done by the University of Utah and the researchers wanted to see how female rats react to high-elevation conditions. What they found was interesting, to say the least. The rats that were in high altitude conditions shown symptoms of depression, but when they were taken to normal levels, these symptoms died out. Scientists believe that this is because of hypoxia, a condition caused by the lack of oxygen. However, the interesting part is that only female rats were affected by this condition, males were perfectly safe. Female mammals, in general, produce less serotonin than the males. If you don’t know, serotonin is the so-called happy chemical that our brain produces. It plays a big role in our mental health and a lack of it can lead to anxiety, depression, and similar illnesses.
Even though the evidence is there, it is hard to nail down the exact cause. Sure, hypoxia can cause depression, but it can also be just one small part of a bigger issue. As for the treatment, it is best to consult with your doctor. No specialist will tell you to move from the mountain area to cure your depression. That is a bit extreme. However, if you want to rule out hypoxia and make sure that you are receiving enough oxygen, then you should consider installing air purifiers. They will increase the quality of the air in your house and improve the overall quality of life in it. A valid solution to this problem if you ask us.
And let’s close on that. Depression is a serious condition and as you can see, even lack of oxygen can contribute. For the longest time, there was a stigma around it, but people have finally started to realize that it’s not something shameful, and is just like any other illness. Therefore, if you are going through depression, please don’t be afraid to ask for help and try out every option, you never know what will work for you.
Author Bio – Diana Smith is a full-time mom of two beautiful girls interested in topics related to health and alternative medicine. In her free time she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.