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Nerves fray in SAD summer

- Sleep well, listen to music & rejig mindset to beat heat blues

March 6. Noon. Sarjana Chowk:A car driver beats up a rickshaw-puller. Reason: the rickshaw developed a snag and could not move, blocking traffic for a while

March 6. 2.30pm. Doranda: Two youths on a motorcycle engage in an ugly spat with an employee at a petrol bunk. Reason: they were unwilling to wait for their turn to refill and wanted to break queue

March 8. 11am. Karamtoli:A motorist and a biker scuffle. Reason: the former tried to dodge a red light and, in the process, hit the two-wheeler

These are not stray incidents, but as regular as Ranchi’s sweltering sun.

Rising temperatures are taking a toll on public temper and adding to traffic chaos on roads in a state capital already plagued by potholes and encroachment.

On March 1, the mercury read a comfortable 28°C degree, but in flat five days the heat meter crossed the stifling 31°C mark. The maximum temperature has hovered around 30°C since (see chart). Sunday was unpleasant at 30.5°C and, if weathermen are to be believed, it will only get hotter now till a Nor’wester strikes.

The scorching sun will wreak further havoc on the people’s psyche, believe experts who dub this mood blues as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.

“Seasonal Affective Disorder is common in both winters and summers. But, in winter, we get patients with symptoms like depression and suicidal tendencies. In summer, it is exactly the opposite. People tend to become belligerent over small things. We get more and more aggressive patients when temperatures soar,” said Amool Ranjan, the director of Ranchi Institute of Neuro-Psychiatry and Allied Sciences (Rinpas).

Road rage and brawls may be directly blamed on the oppressive sun, Ranjan maintained.

“The heat acts as a definite trigger. For instance, you have had some problem at home or office and are already irritated. Now, when you travel on the road and are caught in a jam, everything seems wrong. You tend to get more agitated and often violent. You vent your irritation through a verbal or physical fight. If not on the road, you will vent it out at home — on your parents, spouse or children,” he explained.

Director of Central Institute of Psychiatry (CIP), Kanke, S.H. Nizami agreed.

“Ambient factors, particularly light and temperature, coupled with sustained personal or professional issues make a person react in a negative way. One feels isolated — as if the world is conspiring to trouble him or her — and this mistaken thought can get dangerous at time,” he said.

So, how does one beat the summer blues?

“Sadly, there is no 100 per cent effective formula to beat SAD. But, a good night’s sleep, taking a deep breath when anxious, listening to some soothing music and talking to people who you are travelling with do help to a certain extent,” Ranjan said.

Nizami insisted on a change in mindset too.

“Not everything is in everyone’s control. So, if you think you are the only victim, you will find more reasons for conflict. Put yourself in other people’s shoes. Try and think about their problems, which may be or may not be similar to yours. This change in perception can control your summer blues,” he said.


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