Americans may need to book themselves a massage — or a doctor’s appointment.
Post election-induced stress, sadly, hasn’t subsided for a portion of our nation — and it’s causing a rash (literally) of legitimate health concerns, including high blood pressure, anxiety attacks, blood sugar disturbances, and heart issues. It’s also adding pressure to those who suffer with mental health issues.
Doctors, urgent care clinics, and emergency rooms are feeling the brunt of the complaints, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), which reports 52 percent of Americans feel stress over the election outcome, with 23 percent rating their stress as serious.
How serious? Only days after receiving a new pacemaker, Dr. John Mayer of Chicago said one of his patients was back in the office — although the device should have controlled his heart rate.
“Two days after his pacemaker went in, his heart rate spiked to 190,” Mayer told LifeZette.
A hospital in Southampton, New York, has banned political discussions from its rehabilitation gym. Acupuncturist Amy Landolt, of Northshore Acupuncture Center near Chicago, has seen an influx of patients requesting treatment specifically for post election-induced stress, anxiety, and the resulting body conditions, like extreme hot or cold, increased pulse, or general discomfort.
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According to the APA, the numbers of those reporting stress rise significantly in more vulnerable populations. Fifty-nine percent of citizens over age 71, and 60 percent of the disabled, say they feel very stressed by the election.
Massage therapist Eddie Altoona, of Madison, Wisconsin, said his practice has been heavily booked since summer.
“It seems like everyone is recognizing the stress, which is a good first step,” he said. “All my clients are talking about the effect of this particular election. It’s causing family members to fight and friends to un-friend each other on Facebook. Debate and differences are good, but this has been really polarizing.”
[lz_bulleted_list title=”Warning Signs of Heart Attack” source=”http://www.heart.org”]Chest discomfort that lasts more than a few minutes|Discomfort in both arms, neck, back, jaw, or stomach|Shortness of breath.|Cold sweat, nausea, lightheadedness[/lz_bulleted_list]
Post-Election Stress Disorder (PESD) is very real, according to Dr. Partha Nandi of Detroit, Michigan. But you won’t find it in any diagnostic manual, he said. “Emotions range from feeling blue to outright anger and can include grief, hopelessness and anxiety. Many feel rattled and afraid.”
Nandi, who hosts the Emmy Award-winning television show, “Ask Dr. Nandi,” believes the constant exposure to negative news has a detrimental effect on mental health, too — which can create physical symptoms similar to a heart attack or a panic attack.
“This type of ongoing stress causes a person to see their own personal worries as much more threatening and severe than usual,” Nandi told LifeZette. He suggests limiting exposure to negative news, getting more exercise, and using relaxation techniques to lessen anxiety. He adds that if stress, no matter the cause, interferes with the ability to carry out daily activities, see your doctor.
The American Heart Association’s warning signs of heart attack are shortness of breath, chest and upper body pain, nausea, lightheadedness, sweating, and racing pulse. If these symptoms occur, call 911 or seek immediate medical attention.
Pat Barone, MCC, is a professional credentialed coach and author of the Own Every Bite! bodycentric re-education program for mindful and intuitive eating, who helps clients heal food addictions.