The Race for the White House is Making People Sick and Friendless
Turn off the news. Sign out of social media accounts. Breathe.
This may not surprise you, but the presidential race is really stressing people out. It’s making them sick – like, physically sick. And people are losing friends over it. Even if you haven’t experienced it, you probably know someone that has.
But this is an election year like no other, and people are so worked up over it that therapists have been weighing in on how to cope without having a stroke or going stark-raving mad.
Their advice? Take up yoga, breathe, and stop reading the news. 
Oh, but the news is so addictive these days, isn’t it? It seems like everyone has a candidate they love to hate, and they’re afraid that whoever they’re voting against is going to destroy the world.
After all, the top two candidates are among some of the most unpopular in U.S. history.
Sick, Sick, Sick of This Election Cycle
Seven therapists across six states and Washington, D.C., say they’ve treated clients with sleep problems, irritability, and even heart palpitations. Yes, this election has played out like a bad soap opera, but sitting on the couch watching cable news and arguing with people on Facebook just makes it worse.
If only I’d realized that, oh, a year ago.
Nancy Molitor, a clinical psychologist from just outside Chicago, says:
“I’ve never seen this level of stress and anxiety over an impending election in my 26 years (of practicing).”
Philip Muskin, professor of psychology at Columbia University Medical Center, says the anxiety he’s witnessed in his clients is reminiscent of the worry that followed the attacks of September 11, 2001, not to mention the crashing to Earth of America’s first space station, Skylab, in 1979, which had people around the world worried they would be pelted by falling debris.
He says people seem to feel that their “sense of control is gone.”
Elaine Ducharme, a clinical psychologist from Glastonbury, Connecticut, has had similar experiences with her own clients. She says:
“I can’t think of a person I’ve talked to (who) does not feel anxious about this.”
A new Monmouth University poll shows that 7% of Americans have lost friends due to politics this year. Now, if that’s in “real life,” just on social media, or both isn’t clear. 
To be fair, 7% of voters say they lost friends during past elections.
Can I be honest in saying I’m surprised the number isn’t even higher this year?
According to Monmouth, 70% of voters say the election has brought out the worst in people, and 65% of respondents say they’re fed up with the nasty language that currently dots the political landscape.
Just 3 in 10 people say the harsh rhetoric is justified. I won’t divulge where most voters place the blame for that. Let’s just say one side is 47% more likely to spew vitriol than the other. (And that’s not a judgment, either, so spare me the nasty comments, OK?)
The Never-Ending Race
If you feel like America has been stuck in the muck and mire of this election forever, you’re not alone.
All the way back in July, a Pew Research Center poll showed that 6 out of 10 Americans said they were “exhausted” by the never-ending onslaught of media campaign coverage. 
The same poll showed that hearing about the issues is still important to voters, but that they were tired of the news about the candidates’ personal lives, the back-and-forth comments, and who is closing in on the finish line first.
Fifty-five percent of those polled also said they think too little attention is being focused on substantial policy issues.
The good news is that there’s only a month left in the race. The bad news is, things are just going to get worse until November 8.
Julie Fidler is a freelance writer, legal blogger, and the author of Adventures in Holy Matrimony: For Better or the Absolute Worst. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two ridiculously spoiled cats. She occasionally pontificates on her blog.