The 2016 election season may have been the most stressful one in recent history. More than half of all adults in the U.S. felt the presidential election caused them a significant amount of stress, and that was before the results came in. If the stress of the elections have made you relapse, call an outpatient Wilmington alcohol rehab center you can trust! Call now, Legacy can help.
The American Psychological Association (APA) surveyed people to see how stressed they feel and how it relates to their health and well-being. This year, the election was noted as one major cause of stress. The survey was conducted in August, long before many of the worst events surrounding the presidential candidates occurred. It was before the second round of investigations into Hillary Clinton’s emails started, and before footage surfaced of Donald Trump making misogynist remarks.
Over half of U.S. adults surveyed said they felt the election was a source of stress. Social media seemed to be one of the factors in their stress levels. Adults who used social media were more likely to say the election was stressful, and nearly four in 10 said it was because of the political discussions they read.
“Election stress becomes exacerbated by arguments, stories, images and video on social media that can heighten concern and frustration, particularly with thousands of comments that can range from factual to hostile or even inflammatory,” said Lynn Bufka, PhD, APA’s associate executive director for practice research and policy.
Party affiliation didn’t seem to factor into the amount of stress people felt. Reports showed that 55 percent of Democrats and 59 percent of Republications felt stressed about the election.
“We’re seeing that it doesn’t matter whether you’re registered as a Democrat or Republican — U.S. adults say they are experiencing significant stress from the current election,” said Bufka.
Both men and woman felt the same amount of stress, too, with each averaging about 50 percent of the adults surveyed.
The election is over, so we’re safe from the barrage of political ads on TV and online, but as a country we’re still in heated discussions about the outcome. Now it’s not about who will win, but concern about the changes that may come with our new president-elect. The country seems more divided than ever, which can only cause increasing levels of stress.
Steven Stosny, a therapist, has called anxiety related directly to the election “election stress disorder.” It can have symptoms such as anxiety, irritability and resentment. It can make it hard for a person to see beyond it, so they tend to blame others and not take into consideration other perspectives. If someone driving is listening to politics on the radio, it can cause aggressive driving. It can also affect relationships if the stress is causing tension with coworkers or with family.
If you just can’t deal with what’s going on in our country and need help, call us at Legacy Freedom Treatment Centers. We can help you get through this at our Wilmington alcohol rehab center. Read on to learn some techniques you can use right now.
Ways to cope with election stress
The APA offers some ideas on how to manage stress associated with the election. It is important to deal with stress before it causes health issues. It can cause problems because it raises levels of the “fight or flight” hormone, which can result in eating more and sleeping less. It can contribute to other health problems such as migraines, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.
Many people want to fight stress by drinking or using drugs, but it can make it worse. If you are a recovering addict, turning to drugs or alcohol might feel like the only option available but it isn’t. There are healthy ways to manage stress. Here are some suggestions:
- Take a break from watching the news and following social media. It’s easy to get caught up in story after story, but it can be too much to digest and can cause you to become anxious.
- Take time to process your emotions. Talk with a loved one or therapist about how you’re feeling. It can be easy to worry incessantly and let anxiety take over, but it is not healthy, nor is it productive.
- Spend time outside. Even the Clintons took time to go on a hike a few days after the election. Fresh air and exercise can help clear your head and burn off some of that anxious energy.
- Avoid bringing up politics with family and friends if you know it’s going to cause someone to become upset. This also means avoiding conflict online, which is where many people feel compelled to say things they wouldn’t say in person.
- Conversely, talk with people who have similar ideas so you can discuss ways to cope with the stress you’re feeling. They can offer understanding and support.
- Avoid turning to vices to cope. Reaching for a drink or a drug to help numb your shock and hurt is never a good idea, especially if you’re in recovery.
- Remember that the political system is made up of senators and representatives that also have a say in policies that affect you. Get in touch with your local politicians to make your voice heard.
- If you’re worried that the new administration will not represent your rights or concerns, start taking action now. Volunteer with groups or organizations that support causes you care about in order to help educate people.
If you find that your anxiety is not going away, even after trying a few of the methods we recommended, you may want to see a doctor or therapist. For most people, it will improve in time.
Legacy Freedom | Holistic Wilmington Alcohol Rehab Center
Legacy Freedom Treatment Center is Wilmington’s top choice for drug and alcohol addiction recovery. Our holistic approach to recovery is second to none. We offer real recovery from substance abuse and addiction through a variety of holistic and alternative treatment programs. There's no way to create a single plan that works for everyone. Call us today to speak with an admissions counselor about how our Wilmington alcohol rehab center can help you.