Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilityMental health, psychologists warn of "Election Stress Disorder" heading into 2020 election | WRGB
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Mental Health Experts, Psychologists warn of "Election Stress Disorder" For 2020 Election

Mental health, psychologists warn of “Election Stress Disorder” heading into 2020 election
Mental health, psychologists warn of “Election Stress Disorder” heading into 2020 election
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CAPITAL REGION (WRGB) Psychologist Dr. Daniel Kaplin says “Election Stress Disorder” is a legitimate concept about stress and uncertainty in an election. He says the DSM hasn’t officially designated it as a disorder, but he says the 2016 election helped coin the phrase.

“We are seeing a rise in election stress and as I mentioned the term election stress disorder is a fairly new term. I am seeing it with my patients,” Kaplin said.

Kaplin is also the president of the New York State Psychological Association. He says the stress and uncertainty with his patients isn’t just based on what candidate they support, but by the key issues that affect their lives. Kaplin says 2020 is much more complex than 2016, especially with a fragile economy and the societal reckoning that came after George Floyd’s death.

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“In 2016 there was a lot of anxiety around immigration and things like that. Now we’re seeing a lot more anxiety around the economy around the handling of COVID, Student loans foreign policy,” Kaplin said.

Matthew Shapiro of the New York chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness says election stress has become a mental health issue, because political division has become prevalent in our day-to-day lives.

“People definitely seem like they’re engulfed by it. You can’t escape it,” Shapiro says.

Dr Kaplin says that stress may peak as we get closer to Election Day, and for a chunk of the country, The stress may not leave right away if they don’t get their desired outcome.

“If we don’t know the answer it’s gonna plateau and then it will only go back down when the answer is given,” Kaplin said.

Kaplin says what he’s learned from 2016 is that a good portion of the population should prepare for potential fallout from the election.

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Kaplin says one way to alleviate the stress is to just focus on the things you can control, such as voting, or limit your time on social media to an hour or less a day. But he says regardless of the election results, “Election Stress Disorder” is something that isn’t going away anytime soon.

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