Pre-Election Stress Disorder: Do You Have It?

Who us? Causing you stress?

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Does anyone else feel completely overwhelmed by the election?  I don’t care what your party affiliation, presidential elections (and their accompanying nastiness) can be a huge source of stress for many people.  Even if you aren’t involved in a campaign, it’s tough to get a break from the candidates’ ads on TV, postcards in the mail, talk on the radio, and posts in the blogosphere.  Commentators’ rhetoric and opinions are often enough to push me right over the edge.  Does the same thing happen to you?  Do you have PESD?

What is Pre-Election Stress Disorder*?

  • Underlying or overt feelings of worry or anxiety when exposed to campaign coverage
  • Preoccupation with the political campaign and coverage/inability or difficulty turning off coverage of the election
  • Feelings of fatigue surrounding political talk/un-heathy lack of interest in the election (i.e., becoming so frustrated you no longer want to vote)
  • Disappointment, disgust, or depression surrounding either: 1) The state of our country 2) The integrity of our people 3) Your own future
  • Desire to spend the next two weeks in a foreign country with earplugs and a sleeping mask on

Any of these things sounds like you?  Well, you might have PESD! Tune in tomorrow and I will give you some tips for coping.

*Disclaimer: I made up Pre-Election Stress Disorder – it is not a real psychiatric diagnosis.  However, the stress, worry, and anxiety that folks feel around this time every 4 years is very real.  If worry and anxiety about this (or other) issues are negatively affecting you, please contact your health care provider.


News-Induced Depression

How do you get your news?  Do you watch the nightly broadcast?  Read it on Google, Yahoo!, or AOL?  Glance at it on Twitter or Facebook?  Read the (gasp!) old-fashioned print version of your city’s paper?

I’m not a huge news person.  Meaning, I don’t watch cable news, I don’t read a newspaper regularly, and I don’t troll the internet for the latest breaking news items from around the world.  Instead, I’m probably like a lot of people.  I pick the news up here, there, and all around in bits and pieces.  It probably doesn’t make me the most informed  person, but it works.

But even in my semi-ignorant state, I still get News-Induced Depression from time to time.  This isn’t a diagnosis recognized in the DSM-IV or by any scientific body of researchers, but I think it is real nonetheless.  Here are some of the symptoms:

  • Feeling sad, down, and/or tearful after hearing about a news event
  • Continuing to think about news event over the course of several days or weeks, causing a deflation of mood
  • Fear for safety of family and/or self (over and above the ordinary level of concern) for several days or weeks after hearing about news event
  • Desire to either learn as much as possible about the news event or ignore all information about the event
  • Experience an increased level of overall anxiety, nervousness, and/or worry in the days and weeks following learning about the news event

Have you ever experienced News-Induced Depression?  If so, what are the stories that typically cause it?  Are you affected more by personal tragedies and traumas (i.e., rapes, murders, etc) or by political scandals, corruptions, and disappointments?  How do you deal with it?