Trump Anxiety Disorder: How Far Does It Go?
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Photo: USA Really

Trump Anxiety Disorder: How Far Does It Go?


“Trump may not be crazy, but the rest of us are getting there fast”—this headline recently appeared on the website of Politico, a news agency about “politics and policy.” Sounds a little scary, right? Actually, it really is, as more and more Americans need psychologists’ help seeking relief from a new weird diagnosis… Trump Anxiety Disorder.

“President Trump sits in the seat of parent for all Americans”

“Trump Anxiety Disorder” was conceived by clinical psychologist Jennifer Panning Psy.D., listing the signs and characteristics of the new phenomenon described in a book by psychiatrists from Harvard Medical School and the Yale School of Medicine.

When people are frightened by erratic behavior and worry what’s coming next in any arena of life, that creates an extraordinary amount of anxiety and often a feeling of dread, Panning explained.

Despite the fact that Trump Anxiety Disorder is not claimed to be an official diagnosis, it has its own particular symptoms “specific to the election of Trump and the resultant unpredictable sociopolitical climate” which include “feelings of loss of control and helplessness, and even excessive time spent on social media” (just like Trump who is believed to spend a lion’s share of his working time on Twitter?).

In an interview with Politico, the psychologist said the disorder is marked by such symptoms as “increased worry, obsessive thought patterns, muscle tension and obsessive preoccupation with the news.”

For an example:

The symptoms can vary greatly, though.

For another example, a couple from Philadelphia started experiencing a cooling in their sex life. Cynthia Baum-Baicker, the therapist who was counseling them, explained the strain in their marriage by “the agitated state” of American politics.

“I remember the husband basically said, ‘If you ever want to be intimate again, you’ll turn the TV off in the bedroom. I can’t have that man present and listen to him and feel any sense of arousal,’” said Baum-Baicker. She also added that “authority figures represent the parent, [so] President Trump sits in the seat of parent for all Americans.” And many people are too frightened to see their “father figure” as “an authoritarian who doesn’t believe in studying and doing homework.”

Trump and his supporters, for their part, have their own term for a malady they see as afflicting only reactionary, anti-Trump progressives: “Trump Derangement Syndrome.”

What studies say

According to national surveys and interviews with mental health professionals, millions of Americans suffer from “Trump and his daily uproars” galloping into their inner life. Such prominence on the psychologist’s couch has not been seen since the months after 9/11—another moment when events were frightening in a way that had widespread emotional consequences, as numerous counselors say.

The American Psychiatric Association found in a May survey  that 39% of people said their anxiety level had risen over the previous year—and 56%were either “extremely anxious” or “somewhat anxious about “the impact of politics on daily life.”

The American Psychological Association (APA) noted a 5% increase (52 to 57%) increase  in anxiety over a six-month period before, during and after the 2016 election. Overall, stress levels were the highest they’ve been in a decade.

According to the 2017 APA’s study , two-thirds (or 63%) of Americans see the nation’s future as a “very or somewhat significant source of stress.”

The results of market research firm Galileo’s report are also unfavorable: in the first 100 days after Trump’s election, 40% of people said they “can no longer have open and honest conversations with some friends or family members.” About a quarter of respondents said their political views have hurt their personal relationships.

For more than two years now, media specialists have dreamed of diagnosing Trump with the so-called “narcissistic personality disorder.” Journalists have compared contemporary videos of Trump with interviews from the 1980s for signs of possible cognitive decline. Moreover, according to books and news reports, even some people on his own team have been reading up on the process of presidential removal under the 25th Amendment of the Constitution suggesting that the president’s erratic behavior might prove to eventually be a case of non compos mentis.

Bob Woodward, who we wrote about in one of our previous articles, also mentioned that “people who work for [President Trump] are worried ... that he will sign things or give orders that threaten the national security or the financial security of the country, or of the world.”

Trump gestures during the Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas on December 15, 2015/Pobyn Beck

“Human beings hate two things,” said Michael Dulchin, a New York psychiatrist who has seen Trump anxiety in his practice. One is “to look to the future and think you don’t have enough energy to succeed and live up to your expectations. The other is to not be able to predict the environment.”

Put these together, he said, and the psychological result is virtually inevitable: “Anxiety and depression.”

Staying healthy: step by step

First, turn on your TV and try to endure ten minutes of political news. Try not to throw anything at the screen. After that, meditate for a while and remember that you don’t have to love Trump.

Second, open Trump’s Twitter account and restrain yourself from writing hate comments. Otherwise, you risk ending up like this guy:

In the end, watch this video and go relax.

Author: USA Really