Solastalgia: Specific Type Of Depression Caused By Climatic Or Environmental Changes

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People say that the current era we are living in is nothing but “Karma” hitting us back. In recent years, we’ve seen it all, forest fires, hurricanes, flooding, and extreme weather! For most of us, living through such natural disasters can be really overwhelming as our lives and homes get totally disrupted. It takes a lot to rebuild everything but some things but sadly, some lives can never be returned.

Such natural disasters disrupt everything including a sense of self, belonging, security, and whatnot! This specific type of depression caused by climatic or environmental changes is named “Solastalgia.” In this blog, let us understand what Solastalgia means, its mental health impacts, and how we can treat it. So, let’s get started!

Solastalgia Meaning (Put this in a box)

When the places that matter most to us get disrupted by natural disasters, climatic changes, or environmental changes, it can have a damaging impact on our mental health, and this specific type of depression is called “Solastalgia.”

Solastalgia and Climate Anxiety (Put this in a different colored box)

Solastalgia can also be referred to as climate anxiety. But the only difference is that climatic anxiety belongs where there’s a permanent or temporary loss. It can be associated with a sense of exclusion or belonging. Meanwhile, Solastalgia is a term coined by Albrecht in 2005 to refer to emotional anxiety derived from climatic impacts. Solastalgia is associated with the lost sense of comfort and the growing severe distress caused by climatic problems.

Types Of Natural Disasters That Causes Solastalgia

Solastalgia is specifically caused by the ecosystem, it’s a type of severe or chronic distress caused by the disruption of places or lives that matter most to us. Solastalgia can be caused by natural disasters such as:

Drought
Extreme weather conditions
Flooding
Forest fires
Mining
Smog
Tree removal (clearcutting)
Volcanic eruptions

Symptoms of Solastalgia

Symptoms of Solastalgia can be chronic, symptoms tend to alleviate quickly but they can stay for a longer time. Symptoms of Solastalgia can be present differently in different personalities and can be a stressful response to circumstances of climatic changes. Below are some of the common symptoms of Solastalgia:

Anger
Anxiety
Despair
Depression
Distress
Fatigue
Feeling unsettled or ungrounded
Helplessness
Trouble falling asleep
Guilt
Grief
Hopelessness
Overeating or loss of appetite
Loss of identity
Suicidal ideation
Restlessness

Mental Health Impacts of Solastalgia

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is known to be one of the major mental health impacts of Solastalgia, it can be caused after witnessing traumatic events such as natural disasters, terror, violence, and abuse. Additionally, research also shows that environmental disruption can also cause intergenerational trauma which can be a long-lasting and intense response towards natural disasters. This type of extreme distress can be passed on to future generations as well.

Solastalgia Vs. Nostalgia (Put this in a box)

Solastalgia and nostalgia are two different terms with different meanings. Nostalgia is caused by homesickness or a state of sadness caused by being away from home. It can be resolved after reaching home or talking with loved ones or family members. On the other hand, Solastalgia is a chronic type of depression or stress caused by environmental changes, such climatic changes can cause chronic hopelessness, sadness, and trauma.

Diagnosis & Treatment of Solastalgia

If you think you or your loved one might be struggling with the symptoms of Solastalgia, you can easily get your diagnosis through a registered and experienced mental health professional. To connect with a mental health professional through online platforms, click below:

Therapy Link

Your mental health professional is likely to evaluate your symptoms, related PTSD, and medical history, and rule out the presence of other mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and others.

Coming forth to the treatment, there are various types of effective treatment available for treating Solastalgia:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT can be a first-line treatment for Solastalgia. CBT is a form of psychotherapy that helps in replacing negative thoughts and behaviors with positive ones and also teaches healthy and positive coping skills. Overall, it helps in changing the outlook towards life. CBT can also help in overcoming specific symptoms of Solastalgia such as depression, anger, anxiety, hopelessness, and others.

Medications

Medications are generally prescribed to treat some specific severe type of symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and others. Commonly prescribed medications are antidepressants and anti-anxiety pills.

Self-Help Tips to Cope with Solastalgia

Treating or overcoming Solastalgia can be a long and challenging process. Here’s what you can do to cope with the long process:

Acknowledge your feelings and learn to express your feelings
Try relaxation techniques
Maintain a journal
Participate in environmental initiatives
Take the help of eco or art therapy

Wrapping Up

As we all live under one roof, we all are prone to Solastalgia to varying degrees. Solastalgia can be chronic and severe, but with the right approach and support, we can overcome Solastalgia. In such cases, always connect with a registered and experienced mental health professional. Seeking help and trying self-help tips to cope with Solastalgia can help reaffirm your connectivity with the world.

I hope this blog helps you understand Solastalgia and how to treat it. Comment down and share your views on the same or you can also write to us at Calm Sage.

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Thanks for reading!

The post Solastalgia: Specific Type Of Depression Caused By Climatic Or Environmental Changes appeared first on Calm Sage – Your Guide to Mental and Emotional Well-being.

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