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Americans overwhelmed with election stress in hectic races

Election stress disorder may not be a diagnosis but feels real to some
Election stress disorder may not be a diagnosis but feels real to some 01:42

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The 2022 midterm election has many Americans emotionally charged and worried about the outcome. Election stress and anxiety are sky-high.

"It's more divisive," one man said.

"We live in turbulent times," another man said.

"Election stress disorder" isn't an actual medical diagnosis, but something that many are experiencing right now.

"It feels very negative regardless of what side you're on," Dr. George James said. "It just feels like it's intense, it's overwhelming."

James, a therapist with the Council for Relationships, says it's not just conflicting political agendas, but it's also hard to escape from the constant negative advertising and social media commentary.

"I think a lot of people are stressed and overwhelmed," James said. "Even triggered."

Politics is a big stressor in America now, according to a survey from the American 

About 66% of adults who responded to a survey from the American Psychological Association cited politics as a major source of their stress. And 76% were stressed and worried about the future of our nation.

"Political ads are the epitome of this," psychologist Susan Albers said. "It convinces us that if we vote for candidate X, disaster will happen. It seeps into our subconscious and replays over and over again."

Signs that political stress is becoming overwhelming include:

  • trouble sleeping
  • loss of appetite
  • upset stomach
  • sweating
  • excessive worry

"Control the things you can," James said. "Go take the walk and go vote."

Experts say managing things you can control is one of the best ways to handle anxiety. That includes getting enough sleep and exercise and using relaxation techniques.

Doctors say the importance of managing campaign stress will continue even after the election because the results might be disputed and it's a divided country politically.

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