Mariela Dimitrova, a psychologist from Bulgaria, comments on the topic of anxiety, panic attacks and depression caused by climate change. Climate depression affects many members of Generation Z.
Gen Z raises the topic of climate change and acts on it with much greater commitment than any previous generations. However, the escalating global warming contributes to the growing problem of so-called climate depression. This disorder refers to the impact of climate change on adolescents' mental wellbeing, leading to feelings of anxiety, frustration and sadness.
Depression linked to climate change
In an interview with VBOX7, Bulgarian psychologist Mariela Dimitrova commented on the topic of anxiety, panic attacks and depression caused by climate change affecting Generation Z.
"Certainly, climate change can affect the mental health of young people. And not just young people. There are studies that show, for example, that in the countries where days are shorter and nights are longer, there are more people with suicidal thoughts. We have also come across phenomena called 'autumn depression' or 'spring depression'. These terms are not made up, they are the real deal" explains Dimitrova.
Climate change caused by global warming, such as melting glaciers, rising sea and ocean levels, droughts, violent weather events or species extinction may also be the source of the increased frequency of panic attacks. The fact remains that the fate of our planet, where we will hopefully live for many years to come, is at stake.
How to deal with panic attacks?
"To begin with, let's explain what panic attacks are. They are brief but very intense anxiety attacks combined with physiological discomfort: palpitations, shortness of breath, trembling, or sweating. They are caused by a person's inability to process what is happening to them, whether they are small or large traumas," the Bulgarian psychologist points out.
Dimitrova also suggests how to deal with panic attacks. "Focus on slowing down your breathing. Inhale through your nose and exhale through the mouth. Try to steer away your thoughts from physiological stimuli by focusing on something completely different," she explains.
"My advice is to be alone with your own thoughts. In our daily lives we are constantly replacing our own thoughts with others by watching films, reading, and searching for information. It is important to give ourselves time and turn to our inner selves. To ask ourselves what our real needs or dreams are, what we want to see happen, and focus on that," advises Mariela Dimitrova.