Therapists are finding that many of their patients are experiencing anxiety levels much higher than normal from November of 2016 to today, and are tying it to the Trump presidency.
In a recent interview with Canada’s CBC News, Elisabeth LaMotte, founder of the D.C. Counseling and Psychotherapy Center in Washington, D.C., remarked that many of her patients were dealing with a “collective anxiety” relating to President Trump’s policies.
“There is a fear of the world ending,” LaMotte told CBC. “It’s very disorienting and constantly unsettling.”
The Term “Trump Anxiety Disorder” was initially coined by clinical psychologist Jennifer Contarino Panning. While there’s no official diagnosis as of yet, Panning says it’s not the same thing as General Anxiety Disorder, in which patients’ irrational fear over daily worries like finances, family, and relationships can lead to physical illness.
Trump Anxiety Disorder is different in that patients experience elevated stress levels when reading articles about the Trump administration, particularly about U.S./North Korea relations, the Muslim ban, the possibility of Russian collusion, and the defunding of environmental programs. Panning said typical symptoms of Trump Anxiety Disorder include “shock, sadness, worry, panic, uncertainty for the future, and anger.”
The feeling among therapists that the Trump administration is contributing to the elevated stress levels of many Americans has also been noted by the American Psychological Association (APA). In a February 2017 report, the APA found that 57 percent of respondents it surveyed said the current political climate was a significant stressor in their daily lives.
“The stress we’re seeing around political issues is deeply concerning, because it’s hard for Americans to get away from it,” Katherine C. Nordal, Ph.D, the APA’s executive director for professional practice stated. “We’re surrounded by conversations, news and social media that constantly remind us of the issues that are stressing us the most.”
Jennifer Panning recommended to her patients that the best way to combat the anxiety they’re feeling from the Trump presidency is to focus on eating healthy meals, spending more time with loved ones and family, and limiting their consumption of political news.
Jake Shepherd is a freelance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. He enjoys poring through financial disclosure statements, spirited debate, and good scotch. He remains eternally optimistic about the Browns. Email him at jake.d.shepherd.21 (at) hotmail (dot) com.