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Record temps can lead to anger, depression

Monday, August 22, 2011 - 6:28pm

Shreveport marked the 48th day of triple-degree heat this year...and that's a new record. The old one was set in the 1870s. Studies show that prolonged exposure to excess heat and dry conditions can take a toll on mental health. Some reports show that crime and domestic violents rates spike right along with the temperature.

"There is data that shows that there are a lot of angry behaviors that are clearly correlated with and associated with heat, more fights, more crime," said local psychologist Bruce McCormick. While scientists don't know why that happens, they do have some theories.

Some reports indicate that people get less sleep when they're tired, resulting in hyper-irritability. Dehydration can have the same effect. Other studies show that prolonged heat affects the hypothalmus, the portion of the brain that guages threats. When we're threatened, we're instinctively angry. Scientists say we're just hard-wired that way.

If you're looking to keep cool, doctors say there are a number of steps to take. They reccomend getting adequate sleep, wearing loose, lightly colored clothing, pinning long hair up--and of course, drinking plenty of cold water.

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