Election 2016

Some Experts Are Now Blaming Politics for Rising Anxiety Levels

Is Post Election Stress Disorder real or are people just overreacting?

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Erika Wittlieb / Pixabay

Feeling anxious? Trouble sleeping? Find yourself fighting more with family and friends? You may be suffering from "Post-Election Stress Disorder" (PESD), or politics-induced anxiety caused by the recent presidential election. CNN claims that "mental health professionals around the country, especially those working in Democratic strongholds, report a stream of patients coming in with anxiety and depression related to—or worsened by—the blast of daily news on the new administration."

Before disregarding this as fake news, consider that the American Psychological Association (APA) recently released a report finding that stress levels (on a 10-point scale) have risen from 4.8 in August 2016 to 5.1 in January 2017. According to the APA, the uptick is the most significant increase since the survey was first conducted in 2007.

Some 66 percent of Americans surveyed cited stress over the future of the country, 57 percent claimed the current political climate as a major source of stress, and 49 percent noted the outcome of the election as having a significant impact on their mental health. Minority groups, millennials, and people with a college education had higher levels of stress about the election outcome.

"The fact that two-thirds of Americans are saying the future of the nation is causing them stress, it is a startling number," Vaile Wright, a licensed psychologist working with APA's Stress in America team, told The Washington Post.

While PESD is not formally recognized in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, some mental health experts claim it's a real issue. In an op-ed for the Post, Maryland therapist Steven Stosny described something he calls "headline stress disorder," writing that "For many people, continual alerts from news sources, blogs, social media and alternative facts feel like missile explosions in a siege without end."

Licensed clinical psychologist Jennifer Sweeton also discussed PESD in Psychology Today; she claims a number of her female clients reported feeling anxious, depressed, and re-traumatized from past experiences. "Over the past three days I have received more emails and calls from female clients suffering from PESD-like symptoms than I have in the prior three months combined," Sweeton wrote the week after the election.

Not everyone has taken to the unofficial mental health disorder. U.S. Rep. Brian Mast (R–Fla.), an Army veteran, criticized talk of the phenomenon as disrespectful to those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in an interview with Fox & Friends. "There's a big difference between being pissed off about things and what happens on the battlefield," he said. "I have empathy for the stressors that are in people's lives as a result of this election, but that doesn't mean that there's any real comparison to service members that have been targeted by snipers, that have been blown up, that have had to take the lives of their enemies…there's not a comparison between the two, in my opinion."

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  1. “or are people just overreacting?”

    Reason staff, I have self-awareness on the phone. It would like to have a long, patient chat with you all….

    1. Also, reason staff, your hysterical overreactions are the reason the AM links have 150 comments instead of 400 after two hours… just sayin’. Didn’t know if you had noticed, but IT IS QUANTIFIABLE and it may not be temporary….

      1. They have been pretty good last two weeks.

        That week and a half with travel ban eo was really bad and during campaign as well..true tds

        Now we have more non trump topics and not nearly as hysterical articles about trump

        For awhile it was all trump

        1. Did you see Shika’s article today?

          1. Yea. She is mostly bad though which is expected. Also steve. I dont have high standards for them

          2. My problem was the other writers who i thought were good were engaging in non stop trump and hysterics at times

        2. The Jacket: “Holy underwear! Trump elected? Our liberal allies distraught? We’ve got to protect our cocktail invitations, gentleman! We must do something about this immediately! Immediately, immediately! Trump, Trump!”

          [Other staff ‘Trump’ as well] “I didn’t get a “Trump” out of that guy!”

          Katherine: “Give the jacket “Trump!”

          Staff member: “Trump!”

          The Jacket: “You watch your ass.”

          1. To be fair, these people are publicly putting things out there where their sjw family/friends can cause trouble and break relationships. We are remaining mostly anonymous. They have more at stake.

            1. On the other hand, they get paid to mouth off. If they don’t make us happy, they should at least give us something interesting to bitch about here.

  2. “There’s a big difference between being pissed off about things and what happens on the battlefield”

    In other words, this isn’t Vietnam Donny.

  3. Politics is a sports team mentality that is: 365 days a year and 24 hrs a day

    I do find it funny when these 24 hr news types are all concerned about people living in fear…but they then blow everything out of proportion to generate hits (which causes this fear)

    1. This would be the cnn, fox, msnbc, ny times, wa po types

  4. CNN claims that “mental health professionals around the country, especially those working in Democratic strongholds, report a stream of patients coming in with anxiety and depression related to — or worsened by — the blast of daily news on the new administration.”

    Um… leftists aren’t happy with the election results.
    Film at 11.

    1. as a society, we have also been allowing these temper tantrums to work. screaming and hyperventilating and overreacting is now OK. Lena said she couldn’t fucking eat when trump won. People admit to crying for weeks over it. these people need fucking help, there’s no way they are functioning members of a society.

      1. They are lying. It is all about them seeking attention for themselves. Inflating ego

        You reward temper tantrums with attention and you get more

    2. Government employees aren’t happy with the election results. You should see some of the protests we get in Chicago – public employees all.

  5. One should first identify the source of the stress. If you can’t do anything about it, then stop stressing. If you can, then act. In other words, northbound planes, trains, highways are all available to carry those who can’t cope with American politics to Canada.

    1. Though arent they strict on the border (despite their preening)

      1. Quite strict. Somebody posted a link the other day to some hipster who was distraught when he found out Canada wasn’t actually clamoring for broke idiots to migrate to their country.

    2. Prozac, booze, and weed are all cheaper than packing up and moving to Canada. Speaking of weed, I wonder if there is less TDS in the 8 states that have legalized it?

      1. No. it’s worse maybe.

        1. Well weed does cause paranoia in some.

    3. Racist, what’s wrong with the southbound? All those wonderful american socialists could work wonders in restoring proper socialism to Venezuela.

      1. Good point. According to their own playbook, the only possible reason for wanting to go to Canada instead of Mexico is racism.

      2. I hear Cuba has free health care.

  6. I gotta say I’m feeling PEDS myself.

    Not because of who won. I mean yeah Trump is horrible sure, but outside of the dumpster fire of a personality that be brings (hello, arguing with the press over how many people were at your inaguration?) he hasn’t been significantly worse than the last couple of Presidents and I still am not sure who would have been worse Trump or Hillary.

    No, what has given me PEDS is finding myself constantly defending Trump and His supporters from attacks that are just as ridiculous as his own actions from people who should fucking know better like the writers at this magazine. You could be offering a valuable service by attacking Trump for his real actions while simultaneously attacking his opponents for the blatant misrepresentations and lies they spew taking in effect the middle road of the sane opponent to a bunch of shrieking hysterics on both sides. Instead you are too busy making some of the same damned equivacations and misrepresentations and occasionally even outright lies as the mainstream media does.

    1. I was hoping to be able to properly be able to loathe Trump by now because the hysteria would have died down. But alas, I still find myself defending him.

      1. I try to explain that Trump is the reason why these people shouldn’t take politics so seriously. The only reason they are so upset is that they have elevated the presidency to near God-like stature. In 100 years, in not sooner, nobody will give a shit who the president was.

        1. That is what i like about him…if anything diminishes the prestige

        2. That is what i like about him…if anything diminishes the prestige

        3. Forget about 100 years. What happens 3 years from now when we haven’t gone to war or sold the country to Russia, the economy isn’t great but is bumbling along, we’re still dicking around aimlessly in the ME but haven’t sent 200k troops to fight an intense war, and Obamacare crashes and burns but there aren’t bodies piled up in the streets?

      2. It’s possible to loathe somebody and still defend them, depending on the situation.

        Or for that matter, to like somebody and still think something they did was a dick move.

    2. ^^^This. SO fucking much, THIS.

    3. Yeah, this. It’s really kind of depressing that everyone has lost their goddamn minds.

      In the past there were a lot of people I disagree with on politics with whom I could still have a reasonable conversation. Now it seems like that becomes more and more impossible.

    4. Or, you could get the best of both worlds and torch the media AND Trump. I find it rather easy to switch back and forth between both modes. Both are atrocious.

    5. Night of the election I started getting the giggles watching that voteometer the NYT was running and seeing it get pegged to the right for Trump. Then I laughed guffawed for a few weeks. Now I’m back to my normal libertarian setting of sorta-caring-but-not-really because the “Trump’s a fascist, sexist, racist, genocidal, homophobe controlled by Russia who is only days away from simultaneously launching nukes at Iran and North Korea then putting half the country in sweatshops making Ivanka gowns” is the same mindset that thought “Obama’s a Kenyan, Muslim, atheist, communist, pacifist controlled by the New Black Panthers and is going to legalize heroin and disband the military.”

      Yet the experts tell me one set of these beliefs are held by bitter clingers and dim, deplorable, conspiracy whackos while the other is taken by reasonable, educated and experienced political watchers who threw out the term “nuanced” for 8 years but haven’t uttered it since November.

    6. What makes me want to give up on life isn’t the election; we were going to lose that either way. It’s my countrymen calling for the death or degradation of their neighbors. All sides, all races, all creeds, harboring nothing but ill will and murder fantasies.

      1. These things concern me as well. Tribal regression is gaining momentum.

      2. Yeah, this has been worrying me as well. I think the idea that we’re headed for an actual civil war isn’t far off.

  7. Lindsay, you’re a good kid, and your content has been of decent quality. Do yourself a favour and get a job at a respectable publication once your internship is done.

    1. Do they still make those?

      1. Yes, in the sense that the left still highly regards the old media because, well, they have high regard for themselves.

  8. I have been avoiding Derpbook because the hourly outpouring of bile from my prog friends is stressing me out too. I suspect I will be unfriended by at least one of them for being insufficiently outraged and not loving any of her “FU Trump” posts.

    1. I ditched the Facebook a year ago and my quality of life has improved markedly. Come on up here, the air is fresh and the sun is warm.

      1. But I would miss all the cute kid/pet photos and birthdays.

        1. When I was still on Facebook I used to change my birthday every week or so just to see how many people would keep wishing me a happy birthday. It took a few months before one person caught on to what I was doing.

          1. If i tried that, i’d get a “HEY TODAY’S NOT YOUR BIRTHDAY” comment from my mom within seconds.

            1. But can we party like it’s your birthday? At least if we’re bringing our own Bacardi?

          2. I have a fake profile on Facebook, with a fake birthday (which no one has noticed is Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday in LOTR) and lots of people who should know better kept wishing me a happy birthday.

      2. I have avoided it since the 2012 election. And I still find this shit horribly depressing.

    2. I’ve stopped following about everyone. I’ll occasionally go in to look for granddaughter pics and that’s it.

      1. The friend I mentioned is one of those types who lives on FB. I post something and she likes/comments on it within 5 seconds. Ever since Trump won, 99.9% of her posts have been rants about him, so I do worry about her mental state.

        1. I have a friend — or rather, used to have a friend — on Facebook who did that. She was constantly whining about how Trump would destroy America (she’s a Publik Skool Teechur in Portandia) and her liberal spawn would constantly comment on her posts, thus clogging up my FB feed with conspiracy nonsense and leftist tripe.

          I finally got tired of it all and unceremoniously unfriended her. Checking FB is much more pleasant now.

          My dingbat niece is the same way but I can’t unfriend her without causing great controversy in the family….

  9. U.S. Rep. Brian Mast (R?Fla.), an Army veteran, criticized talk of the phenomenon as disrespectful to those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in an interview with Fox & Friends.

    Give me a fucking break. This is a perfect example of right-wing snowflakery and you fucks walked right past it.

    1. I think actual PTSD from actual war veterans is one of the situations where I wouldn’t label people snowflakes for. Although I’m also pretty sure most actual war veterans with real PTSD don’t give a shit about any of this either way.

      1. I have no doubt it’s real.

      2. Overwhelmingly veterans with PTSD actually want to overcome their issues, not revel in them and demand the world confirm to their whims.

      3. I think you might have misunderstood Memory Hole.

        I don’t think he was saying PTSD was being a snowflake, I think it was the attempt take offense over the term PEDS because of it’s similar nature to the very real and very serious issue of PTSD

    2. Where’d you serve and what’s your combat experience, you who are so wise in the ways of PTSD?

    3. “Mast is an Army veteran who lost both of his legs and a finger during an improvised explosive device accident in Afghanistan.”

      1. Got ’em.

        Although I’ve never heard of Mast and could easily have made the same error.

    4. There’s a significant difference between having a hard time processing having been in combat or having spent month after month looking at the aftermath of a drone strike to determine if that piece of nose did in fact belong to the target and being upset because your team lost the Superbowl of Politics.

  10. Some 66 percent of Americans surveyed cited stress over the future of the country, 57 percent claimed the current political climate as a major source of stress, and 49 percent noted the outcome of the election as having a significant impact on their mental health.

    What are those levels after other elections? Seems to me like a lot of snowflakes freaking out and maybe having to face reality for the first time.

    Especially suspicious is the 66% and 57% figures, making it impossible to be only Dems upset about Trump winning, unless it includes a lot of people who didn’t vote. Even the 49% is suspect, since it implies a lot of Trump voters have second thoughts or that all Dems, and only Dems, are quaking in their boots.

    Or maybe they are trying to imply that everyone hates Trump. I’d only accept that if they also allowed for the possibility that everybody hated Obama, and everybody hated Bush Jr, and so on.

    More likely it’s just fake news. I’d really like to see stats from previous elections, but I bet they didn’t do it because why would anyone care about the few freaks and malcontents who were upset over Obama?

    1. Remember the tea party protests? But those people weren’t upset. They were just racists.

      1. Plus it was all astroturf funded by the Kochs

    2. I don’t think that those numbers necessarily mean that the people are all upset about Trump winning or hate Trump (though I suspect that a lot of people who voted for him don’t like him all that much).
      The fact that the partisan divide has gotten so ridiculous and that people can’t even agree on basic facts anymore is pretty good reason to stress over the future and the current political climate.

      1. Yes, that the major media have lost what professionalism they had left is also very distressing.

    3. Or these people might simply lie. Perhaps it is just about social signalling. The “public opinion” is against Trump. The
      “public opinion” says the Trump administration is scary. Therefore we must all signal that we are scared.

      1. Whether or not you think Trump is scary, there is plenty of reason to be concerned about the current political climate. Even if I were a Trump fan, I’d still be concerned and possible stressed by all of the idiocy and violence coming from the left these days.

  11. “are people just overreacting?”

    No they’re not. It’s basically the end of the world. They should all off themselves so they don’t have to have the sad anymore.

  12. It is a way for upper middle class people to get attention on themselves by throwing tantrums

    1. Yeah, now that they’ve all “come out” as bi, they need a new attention ploy.

  13. Yes it is real, and my facebook feed is evidence of that. These idiots are the biggest fucking sore losers. God, Jesus Fucking Christ, get a grip on yourself. You lost, get over it. Fucking Hell

  14. Wow! I guess we are really lucky that The Klingon Kween wasn’t elected…

    1. She has no HONOUR.

    2. Her followers are now hoping that Chelsea or Michelle will run in 2020.

      1. And isn’t it pretty fucking sad that the party that somehow considers itself the party of women’s rights and diversity’s top 2 2020 candidates have zero political experience between the two of them?

        I mean, where are the cries for Senator Ms. _________, who has reached across the aisle countless times during her career to pass legislation like X, Y, and Z?

        What about Rep Mrs._______, whose thoughtful editorials supporting the social safety net have won the begrudging respect of lifelong Republicans as well as the party faithful?

        Or Governor ___________, who gave that great speech at the DNC convention that made people proud to be on Team Blue and had the Team Red consultants crapping their pants?

        Or even the woman who was the mayor of _______ and turned that shithole around in her first term?

        How about ___________, the woman who climbed that corporate ladder, shattered that glass ceiling and can be assured to play hardball with those evil Ruskies the way she did with those Wall Street Bankers?

        Nope, instead they have 2 people that lived in the White House for 8 years but didn’t hold office.

        1. Susan Collins and Carly Fiorina are Republicans.

      2. Nothing says “democracy” like a ruling dynasty.

  15. “The fact that two-thirds of Americans are saying the future of the nation is causing them stress, it is a startling number,” Vaile Wright, a licensed psychologist working with APA’s Stress in America team, told The Washington Post.

    Perhaps this will seem odd, yet I can look at this as a hopeful indication that an increasing number of my fellow citizens will begin to observe what their federal government is up to, and then start to realize that “their” government seems largely populated by groups of people who basically do whatever they can get away with at the expense of the taxpayer (and many times at a high price in life and limb).

    1. Given the opportunity, I would ask Dr. Wright et al, to research reasons why such consternation wasn’t evidenced during previous administrations, e. g., Obama and the murder of United States civilians (and the countless number of foreign civilians) by use of drones, Bush and the striping away of everyone’s inalienable rights and the invasion of a country that did not attack the U.S., Clinton and the massacre at Waco and un-Constitutional war in Bosina, and of course many other examples which took place in the citizens’ lifetimes.

      I would think that it was the case that many of our fellow citizens were staunchly Democrat or staunchly Republican (therefore accepting what their “team was doing”) at the time, or were simply apathetic for whatever reason(s). Yet this is only a vague opinion and I honestly would like to know why the idea of a Trump administration has caused more stress than the large scale illegal and deleterious actions of his predecessors.

      1. It begins with a T and ends with and EAM, and we didn’t get the cesspools that are Facebook or Twitter until more recently.

  16. Maryland therapist Steven Stosny described something he calls “headline stress disorder,” writing that “For many people, continual alerts from news sources, blogs, social media and alternative facts feel like missile explosions in a siege without end.”

    Can’t tell if insufficiently exposed to missile explosions or simply drumming up business in a manner that even lawyers find morally repugnant. Probably both.

    1. Maryland therapist Steven Stosny described something he calls “headline stress disorder,” writing that “For many people, continual alerts from news sources, blogs, social media and alternative facts feel like missile explosions in a siege without end.”

      Anyone who would make that comparison will have never, ever come close to knowing what that might actually be like. And frankly, if you feel inclined to make the comparison in the first place, you should consider retiring from the world to become an anchorite, because the rest of us are sick of hearing about you and your numerous inadequacies.

  17. “I have empathy for the stressors that are in people’s lives as a result of this election, but that doesn’t mean that there’s any real comparison to service members that have been targeted by snipers, that have been blown up, that have had to take the lives of their enemies…there’s not a comparison between the two, in my opinion.”

    That’s true. Americans have no control over the results of the election, whereas soldiers willingly sign up to go overseas and get shot at.

    1. There’s another important distinction to the whole deal, mostly involving your friend’s head becoming a pile of goo.

      1. Yes, well, that’s why many of us have ditched Facebook.

    2. The problem with this bit of social signaling is that PTSD is not, and never has been, exclusive to combat veterans. This politician can lay down next to the disorder and claim it for him and his group all he wants, it doesn’t make his posturing any more relevant, “in my opinion.’

  18. NYT commenters driven insane by the election approaches 100%.

    Krugabe is in dire need of professional help.

    1. Well, the market will never recover.

      1. +1 first pass guess

        1. Krugtron the Insufferable is beyond help.

  19. My prog roommate must have this. Since just reading the news is “stressful” or putting him in a “bad frame of mind”

  20. Feeling anxious? Trouble sleeping? Find yourself fighting more with family and friends?

    No on all counts.

  21. As a libertarian for the past 35 years, amid the increased rate of growth of government over that same period, I can honestly say that yes, I blame politics for my rising anxiety level. However, I will also admit that the last three months have been entertaining. I guess at this point, that is the best that I can hope for.

  22. RE: Some Experts Are Now Blaming Politics for Rising Anxiety Levels
    Is Post Election Stress Disorder real or are people just overreacting?

    The only reason why people should stress after the election is if Trump the Grump or Heil Hitlary were elected.
    Oh, wait…

  23. Eh, everything is political today. Can’t even take refuge in baseball, a player on my team went off on a rant about Trump and now fans are fighting with each other over it and sports writers are lecturing how wonderful it is he said all this (all the while baseball is shunning Curt Schilling for making non PC remarks)

    1. “Sports fans don’t have to be your audience anymore. Sports fans are over.”

  24. For years the left has increasingly been saying or implying that conservatives are mentally ill. Those claims were silly and just a sad and desperate attempt to discredit one’s rival when you had no valid arguments against them. Yet it now it appears that it is the left that may truly have mental illness. While PEST is not in the current DSM, covetous sociopath is a disorder. Consider that sociopaths are unable to control their behavior and their expressions of annoyance, irritability and threats when faced with situations not appealing to them and they often tend to resort to threats, aggression and verbal abuse and engage in irresponsible and impulsive behavior, have problems with the law, and violating rights of others. Because sociopaths never conforms to the rules of the society, they are not bothered about the consequences of their actions.

    1. Specifically, the covetous sociopath thinks that life has cheated them somehow, slighted by nature, circumstances, or destiny and not given the same bounty as others. They feel that only they can right this existential score and restore the imbalance and therefore laws and the truth don’t apply to them. Since it is simply not possible to steal and have for oneself the certain valuable possessions of another person ie: beauty, intelligence, success, or perhaps a strong character the covetous psychopath settles for besmirching or damaging enviable qualities in others so that they will not have them, either, or at least not be able to enjoy them so much. The pleasure lies in taking rather than in having.

  25. Some people really do need to be slapped continuously until they realize they’re simply a child, and they need to grow up or move some place where we don’t have to look at them anymore.

  26. I have a cheap prescription:

    Stop watching the news. Your life will get immeasurably better in many ways. Mine did.

    1. Now I just have to stop reading Reason and interacting with people who are interested at all in politics and I’ll be all set.

    2. I’ve a better one: pay attention to news that has nothing to do with the US. South America is particularly interesting right now due to the Odebrecht scandals.

  27. “Some 66 percent of Americans surveyed cited stress over the future of the country…”

    They should be relieved after all Hillary Clinton was not elected.

  28. #CollectiveMunchausen

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