Whether you believe in climate change or not, we are having one hot year here on Planet Earth. Fires raged on worldwide in the summer of 2018 as the Earth struggled to cope with the immense heat waves taking place all over the globe. Record numbers were not uncommon from one country to the next and deaths in the 100s were being totaled from heatstroke, fires, and other complications caused by heat. Without a doubt, it’s hot and getting hotter, which has an effect on both mind and body.
We’ve extensively discussed the effect of heat on the body and how to handle heat during the summer. We’ve also talked about how summer’s heat can cause SAD, seasonal affect disorder, inspiring summer blues. Rarely is the heat’s effect on the brain discussed. Live through a summer in Oregon where the temperatures are in the 90s-100s and you’ll know full well the effect heat can have on the brain. High heat temperatures make us feel slow, groggy, and as if our brains are slowing down. Like sweaty sloths, we feel we can do little more than lounge in cool water or attach ourselves to a tower fan like a koala to bamboo. This reaction is inspired by the brain itself, where cognitive functioning is decreasing in response to the heat.
According to Big Think, a study conducted by Harvard found that heat can slow down brain function by upwards of 13% which is extremely significant, especially for the recovering man. Choosing to get sober and recover in the summer has many benefits, including sunshine and ample opportunities for outdoor activities. However, trying to reprogram and rebuild the brain while it is being strained by high heat can be a challenge- not one which can’t be overcome. Men are already challenged in coping with inhibited brain functions as they recover from addiction. The cognitive slow down caused by heat could be triggering as men feel frustrated by their brains. Thankfully, there are many ways to beat the heat in Portland from food to pools to rivers and swimming holes as well as the chilly Pacific Ocean on the Oregon coast.
The study was small and simple. Forty-four students were asked to complete a cognitive assessment upon waking up throughout the course of a 12-day period in summer 2016 which experienced a five day heat wave, the article cites. Half the participants lived with air conditioning and half did not. Unsurprisingly, the students without air conditioning performed worse than those with air conditioning.
By building community through extended treatment options, men at Tree House learn how to cope with all of life’s challenges without returning to drugs and alcohol. Call us today for information on our men’s treatment programs for addiction and alcoholism: (503) 850-2474