Patients’ ‘symptoms’ include feeling ‘like the world is about to end’
Therapists in the United States are reporting a spike in the number of patients being treated for a recent phenomenon that’s been dubbed “Trump Anxiety Disorder.”
Professionals say there’s been a rise in anxiety stemming from the country’s politics since Donald Trump won the presidential election in 2016.
Earlier this year, a report from CBC News in Canada noted that since President Trump was elected, mental health professionals in the US have seen an increase in patients whose stress has come from politics.
A prevailing “symptom” of the “disorder” is feeling as though “the world is about to end.”
A recent report has found that in the last couple of months, cases of patients with Trump Anxiety Disorder – or TAD – have seen a sharp rise.
Speaking to Politico, one therapist reported an increase in marriage counseling for couple’s whose relationships have been divided by anti-Trump meltdowns.
One Philadelphia couple’s story was relayed to Politico by their therapist on condition of their anonymity.
The pair complained that President Trump has cooled them considerably in the bedroom, saying they were forced to seek counseling in part because one half of the couple was stressed, due to the state of American politics, and it was causing a strain in their marriage.
But their travails, according to national surveys and interviews with mental health professionals, are not as anomalous as one might suppose.
Even when symptoms are not sexual in nature, there is abundant evidence that Trump and his antics in the daily news cycle are galloping into the inner lives of millions of Americans.
During normal times, therapists say, their sessions deal with familiar themes: relationships, self-esteem, everyday coping.
Current events don’t usually invade.
But numerous counselors said Trump and his impact on America’s national conversation are giving politics a prominence on the psychologist’s couch not seen since the months after 9/11—another moment in which events had widespread emotional consequences.
Empirical data bolster the anecdotal reports from practitioners.
The American Psychiatric Association in a May survey found that 39 percent of people said their anxiety level had risen over the previous year—and 56 percent were either “extremely anxious” or “somewhat anxious” about “the impact of politics on daily life.”
A 2017 study found two-thirds of Americans’ see the nation’s future as a “very or somewhat significant source of stress.”
Oddly, these reported stresses only appear to affect liberals, with no known cases of conservative patients reporting feeling “stressed” or “frightened” about the country’s politics.
According to Fox News, Elisabeth LaMotte, the founder of the D.C. Counseling and Psychotherapy Center in Washington, D.C., said that some of her patients feel “on edge” about Trump’s decisions.
“It’s very disorienting and constantly unsettling,” LaMotte said.
LaMotte told CBC News, too, that even those who support the president feel isolated within social spaces or their families.
According to an essay written by psychologist Jennifer Panning, the symptoms of “Trump Anxiety Disorder” include “feeling a loss of control and helplessness, and fretting about what’s happening in the country and spending excessive time on social media.”
A 2017 poll by the American Psychological Organization also found that nearly half of its respondents said they were significantly stressed due to the country’s political climate.