There is more to spring cleaning than the need to refresh your home after a long winter spent inside. Scientific studies have traced a number of benefits, both mental and physical, back to cleaning your environment. In this article, you’ll find key information linking poor physical and mental health to environmental exposures, suggestions for deep cleaning, and the importance of addressing mental health symptoms.
Impairments Due to Mold
It is important to deep clean your spaces while reorganizing and decluttering. Early studies on the effects of mold puzzled neurologists due to their inability to differentiate between people with repeated exposure to moldy buildings and people with mild to moderate traumatic brain injury— both groups were experiencing similar neurological and cognitive deficits. As science has continued to progress, mold exposure has continued to be studied. A 2020 study published in volume 87 of the Brain, Behavior, and Immunity Journal concluded that the innate immune response to mold in the periphery leads to immune activation in the brain, triggering neural cytokine release and loss of newly-formed hippocampal neurons with resulting impairment of hippocampal-dependent learning and memory as well as emotional dysfunction. In short, there is no question that both toxic mold and nontoxic mold cause cognitive and emotional dysfunction.
Mold Toxicity Diagnosis
While it can be difficult to narrow down a sickness to having been caused by mold exposure when mold is not in your clear line of sight at work or at home, there are a few signs and symptoms to be aware of. Psychiatric symptoms that are potentially caused by exposure to toxic mold include memory, focus, word recall issues, confusion, insomnia, chronic fatigue, depression, and anxiety. Length of exposure can play a role in the signs and symptoms experienced by those that are exposed. Toxic mold particles called mycotoxins and microbial volatile organic compounds (mVOCs) are incredibly light and can travel through the air and stick onto surfaces like clothes. Unfortunately, mold toxicity is commonly misdiagnosed by doctors due to the similarity of symptoms with other disorders. It is also important to note that vulnerability to mold toxicity is only present in 25% of the population, who in most cases, have a genetic predisposition that inhibits their clearance of biotoxins. Research also suggests that people who already have a mental health illness can find that their symptoms are exacerbated when exposed to mold.
Improving Air Quality
Halting mold exposure is best performed by completely removing all materials housing mold spores. Mold growth is initiated through water damage, so it is likely that a number of affected materials will need to be replaced completely like sheetrocking, walls, or air duct material. It is best to employ professionals to inspect your home for mold and remove it. If you find yourself in a situation where you are waiting for the infected material to be removed, or specific water damage cannot be located, there are other measures that can be taken to improve air quality. Dehumidifiers and extractor fans can help to remove moisture from the air and prevent further mold growth.
Eliminating mold exposure is essential to determine whether the physical and mental ailments being experienced are linked to mold toxicity. While some people will experience mental health problems specifically due to mold exposure, that is not always the case. It is always important to address mental health issues whenever they arise versus assuming they will rectify themselves after the situation is resolved - in this case, we are referring to mold exposure. There is no shame in seeking mental health treatment. Aspen Ketamine Center offers a number of services for mental health and wellness. Visit our website to see a full list of the wellness services that we offer including counseling, IV elixirs, ketamine infusions, and more.