Teenagers go through many bodily changes in their adulthood. For example, external factors such as air pollution and stressors make their life difficult. The stress caused by air pollution can lead to teenage depression and other effects on their bodies. As air pollution levels subsequently increase, so do the negative effects on the body and mind of adolescents. Here we will talk about-
- How Early Life Stress Due to Air Pollution Causes Teenage Depression
- Factors that lead to symptoms of depression in teens
- How teen depression exacerbates the effects of air pollution
- Other Health Impacts on Adolescents Due to Air Pollution
- Evidence-based effect of air pollution on adolescent depression
- How Air Pollution Hinders Child Cognitive Development
- How air pollution can affect their reproductive health
- What can be done/Solutions
Adolescent or adolescent depression is a severe mental illness. This leads to constant emotions of anxiety, sadness and boredom. Rising levels of air pollution may contribute to teen depression. As a result, these variables can delay the development and growth of the brain and body, especially during adolescence. Excessive exposure to carbon dioxide (CO2) and ozone (O₃) indoors can harm brain growth and function.
The term “air pollution” refers to the deterioration of air quality both indoors and outdoors. Various air pollutants suspended in the air are the cause of air pollution. A pollutant can harm different groups of people in different ways. However, this only happens when their levels exceed the desired limit.
The brain is an essential organ that helps in the functioning of the body. The whole body suffers when rising air pollution makes it harder for the brain to function. Air pollution affects other parts of the body such as the lungs, kidneys, liver and eyes.
Early age stress leads to Teenage Depression due to Air Pollution
PM2.5 & PM10, carbon monoxide (CO), O₃, nitrogen oxide (NO₂), and other air pollutants are all present in ambient air. Young adults spend more time outdoors than older adults. So, they are more sensitive to the negative impacts of these air pollutants. Teenagers who are exposed to toxic air for longer periods are more prone to experience stress.
Specialists have discovered a link between air pollution and an increase in heart diseases. This is immediately visible in a teenager’s body changes. The body can respond by raising heart rate, tensing muscles, rapid breathing, and sweating.
High levels of PM2.5, can provoke stress hormones. American Heart Association Journal Circulation Researchers published a study. They examined the origin of these harmful health impacts-
- Even a few hours of exposure to PM can cause swelling, metabolism shifts, and the release of stress hormones.
- During growth years, 50-70% of teenagers experience anxiety, impulse control, and agitative disorders.
If you or someone you know is facing any mental health issues, talk to a trusted adult or seek help.
– How increased air pollution levels lead to depression symptoms in teenagers?
Increased air pollution levels can cause mental illness because these pollutants increase the stress hormone cortisol. It further affects the levels of another chemical in the brain known as dopamine or the happy hormone. Changes in the level of the happy hormone lead to mental disorders and depression symptoms, for instance, low mood, lack of interest in your hobbies, feeling of worthlessness, etc.
Teenagers spend more time outdoors than older adults do. Thus, making them more open to the impacts of certain air pollutants. Certain pollutants cause the release of the stress hormone. Their sensitive bodies may develop mental health issues because their bodies are already sensitive to air pollution.
Factors that lead to Depression Symptoms
High amounts of O₃ and other pollutants in the outdoor air damage the brain’s functionality among teenagers. They spend more time outdoors than indoors. As a result, air pollutants like O₃ that are present outdoors can seriously impact them because they are more sensitive to the harmful effects of these pollutants.
A healthy brain is crucial for the sound functioning of the body. High levels of air pollutants make it difficult for youngsters to maintain a healthy and sound brain and central nervous system. Due to this, their bodies lag in basic body functions. These include basic cognitive and fine motor skills, oral and writing abilities, etc. They feel worthless which blows their self-confidence and often leads to depression.
Teenage Depression worsens Air Pollution effects
The effects of air pollution and teenage depression are interrelated. Teenage depression can be caused due to air pollution. Children suffering from anxiety or depression symptoms are more vulnerable to the side effects of air pollution. This means that a child suffering from anxiety or depression is affected more by air pollutants than a child with no mental illness disorders. The rate of mood disorders, depression symptoms, anxiety, and other mental health conditions among teenagers is increasing due to increasing levels of sadness, stress, loneliness, etc.
Bodies of depressed teenagers are already vulnerable because their will to live is lost. They don’t eat a balanced diet, drink sufficient water to keep their bodies hydrated, and constantly have suicidal thoughts. As a result, their bodies grow weaker and weaker because their bodily systems, for instance, the immune system, breathing system, and reproductive system, among others, get affected. Therefore, their bodies are more sensitive to the harmful effects of air pollution.
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”
But is it worth risking Jack’s life when there are so many dangerous air pollutants outside? PM10, O₃, CO, NO₂, Sulphur dioxide (SO₂), and a variety of other pollutants can all be found at high levels in the outdoor environment. When compared to older adults, these pollutants can have a far greater impact on a child’s brain and other body organs.
- PM10- irritation in the eyes, nose, and throat. Affects lung functioning and del