I'm a functional medicine doctor who specializes in diagnosing mold and environmental toxicity, and patients come to me when they’re suffering with hair loss, muscle cramps, skin rashes, weight gain, and a litany of other physical symptoms. But often there’s also a mental health component that has them confused.
Anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive personality are common symptoms I see in patients affected by toxic mold. That’s because the toxins produced by mold (mycotoxins and mVOC’s) interfere with the brain’s neurotransmitters and can affect the mental capacity to deal with life. A person exposed to mold toxins can also experience memory problems and have a hard time making decisions. One study even found that impairments from mold toxins are similar to that of a mild traumatic brain injury. Some of my patients develop a very "short fuse" and get frustrated or angry more easily. They often say they are consistently "tired and worn out" with "few reserves left."
The good news is that if these physical and mental symptoms are triggered by mold, that means they often improve after the mold is addressed. If you worry that mold is affecting your overall well-being, consider a home evaluation by a professional mold inspector.
Here are a few ways to prevent mold from occurring in the first place:
Planting shrubs and flower beds around the perimeter of your home, specifically right on the other side of your interior walls, can allow water to seep into the walls.
If you have a raised planting bed perched against any wall of your home, you have a prime area for mold to grow. If the bed is above the slab/concrete level, water can easily seep through the slab-exterior-wall connection and into the interior walls. The darkness and dampness make it a perfect condition for mold spores to multiply.
How to fix it: Keep landscaping below the foundation level of your house to allow proper draining. This way, you can still keep up your curb appeal while minimizing the water that seeps inside.