Mold and Mental Health Effects

Mold and Mental Health Effects

September 08, 2020

Toxic mold based illnesses are under-diagnosed conditions that can manifest in a number of different ways, including symptoms that have an effect on mental health. While we aren’t doctors, we believe that using scientific references to address the ways that mold can cause mental health effects is important. There are a number of scientific health studies that have shown a link between household mold and the emergence of mental health symptoms. 

Today, we will be exploring the mental health effects that a mold infestation can cause in some individuals. These effects are caused by vulnerability to mold toxicity. With the right information, we believe that you can be better prepared to protect you and your family from the harmful health effects of toxic mold. Finally, we highly recommend seeking the help of a qualified medical professional if you feel that you are a loved one are suffering from the effects of mold toxicity. With that, let’s get started!

What is Mold Toxicity?

Mold toxicity is a health condition caused by the presence of mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are produced by microfungi, such as mold, and can be harmful to many different bodily systems and cause a number of health issues. While vulnerability to mold toxicity is only present in an estimated 25 percent of the population, pinpointing the exact prevalence of mold-related illnesses is difficult as few medical physicians aren’t trained to identify them. 

Those that possess a vulnerability to mold toxicity are susceptible to the effects, most often, due to a genetic predisposition that causes the clearance of biotoxins to be inhibited. For this reason, sometimes an entire family can be exposed to the harmful effects of mold toxicity while only one member of the family becomes ill. 

What Causes Mold Growth in Homes?

Mold infestations in homes are caused by the presence of moisture build-up and especially humid temperatures. These factors create a perfect environment to facilitate mold growth. In the United States alone, it is estimated that half of all buildings possess some form of water damage. Considering that water damage is a leading cause of mold growth, this fact speaks to the potential mold has to cause health issues in a large amount of the population. 

Anything from a leaking pipe to moisture build-up in a humid basement can cause a mold infestation. If these sorts of water damages are left to continue, mold has a chance to flourish and this leads to the potential for homeowners to fall victim to the effects of mold toxicity if they possess a genetic predisposition to be vulnerable. 

The Mental Health Effects of Mold Toxicity

Now that you understand what mold toxicity is and what causes the growth of mold in homes, it is time to talk about the mental health effects that are associated with mold toxicity. There are certain types of mold that produce mycotoxins. The most common form of mold known to produce mycotoxins is known as “black mold”, or Stachybotrys. There are also other forms of mold known to produce mycotoxins and these include Chaetonium, Wallemia, and Aspergillus. Each of these forms of mold are known to cause dramatic effects on both the brain and behavior. But what are some of the mental health effects that you should know about?

In one study showing the mental health effects of mold toxicity, published in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers found that there is an observable link between mold and mental health conditions such as depression. This study observed 5,882 adults living in 2,982 households in order to establish whether or not there was a link between mold growth and mental health. 

The results of this study found that 40 percent of those observed lived in visibly damp and moldy environments. Overall, the risk of depression in these individuals averaged between 34 and 44 percent higher than residents living in homes that were free of mold. Of those found to live in moldy environments, those established to have moderate to high exposure to mold showed significantly higher risks for developing depression. 

Along with depression, there is evidence to suggest that mold toxicity also increases the risks of developing anxiety, attention problems, insomnia, and even brain fog. Unfortunately, due to a lack of attention focused around making mold toxicity an established diagnosis and training medical health professionals to recognize the signs, most cases of mold toxicity likely go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Because of the fact that mold toxicity is not yet on the radar of many practitioners, it is infrequently used as a differential diagnosis. Still, when a diagnosis is made by a reputable medical health professional, mold toxicity is very treatable and the symptoms caused by it can be reduced or eliminated entirely.

Treating the Mental Health Effects of Mold Toxicity

So how can the mental health effects of mold toxicity be treated? According to Psychology Today, mold toxicity is a very treatable condition once a diagnosis is established. It should be noted that the effective treatment of these symptoms can, in fact, take a long time. This is because treatment must be completed at a slow pace or symptoms may be exacerbated as mold toxins are mobilized.

Psychology Today further cites certain treatment methods to be effective in combatting mold toxicity. These include the use of natural binders such as charcoal and/or clay to trap the mycotoxins and force them to be excreted as well as the use of probiotics. The second phase of effective mold toxicity treatment as it relates to mental health issues is the use of antifungals. 

The Importance of Testing for Mold in Your Home

Although there are treatment methods available to combat the symptoms caused by mold toxicity, the most effective approach is to establish whether or not your home as a mold problem and take the necessary steps to remove the mold from your home if present. To do this, we highly recommend testing your home for mold either with an at-home mold testing kit or through the services provided by mold remediation specialists. 

If mold is found in your home through either of these methods, the necessary steps should be taken to remediate your home. This involves not only the treatment and physical cleaning of affected areas but also the complete removal of any damaged items. 

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