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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1996 Feb;114(2):227-31.

Psychiatric aspects of air pollution.

Abstract

Psychological and toxic effects of air pollution can lead to psychiatric symptoms, including anxiety and changes in mood, cognition, and behavior. Increased levels of some air pollutants are accompanied by an increase in psychiatric admissions and emergency calls and, in some studies, by changes in behavior and a reduction in psychological well-being. Numerous toxic pollutants interfere with the development and adult functioning of the nervous system. Manifestations are often insidious or delayed, but they can provide a more sensitive indicator of toxic effects than cancer rates or mortality data. Other medical effects of air pollution, such as asthma, can indirectly affect psychological health. The sick building syndrome and multiple chemical sensitivity are conditions with toxicologic and psychiatric aspects. Psychosocial stress can cause symptoms similar to those of organic mental disorders. Reactions to stress depend on cultural, individual, and situational variables. We must understand these factors to be able to alleviate and prevent the consequences of environmental trauma. Expanded research is recommended in three main areas: (1) how people perceive and cope with environmental health risks, (2) the effects of air pollution on behavior and neuropsychological functioning, and (3) neurotoxicologic evaluation of air pollutants with both behavioral and in vitro studies.

PMID:
8637739
DOI:
10.1016/S0194-59989670172-9
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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