Sat, Nov 24, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Psychiatrist warns over anxiety linked to elections

By Lin Hui-chin and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A psychiatrist has warned about health issues arising from anxiety related to today’s nine-in-one elections, citing a 30-year-old man whose work and relationship were affected.

The man, who was referred to by the alias Hsiao Chen (小陳), argued with his girlfriend — who supported a different candidate — leading to threats of a breakup, and he stayed up late to debate politics on the Internet, psychiatrist Yang Tsung-tsai (楊聰財) said.

The habit caused him to lose sleep and made him tired at work, Yang said.

The number of patients Yang has treated for anxiety has risen by nearly 30 percent in recent weeks, he said, adding that most of them said they were passionate about politics.

While anxiety is common near election time, the high number of referendums this year on divisive social issues has pitted groups against each other in an obvious way, Yang said.

Many feel insecure or unsure about the future over some of the issues to be voted on, he said.

Election-related anxiety also exacerbates pre-existing conditions of depression or other mental disorders, he said.

Those who experience anxiety should exercise restraint in discussing politics to avoid heightening their conditions or affecting relationships, Yang said.

People should avoid language that could be deemed threatening at all costs if an argument over politics occurs, as this could lead to legal repercussions, he said.

For those whose mood is affected by anxiety over politics, they should distract themselves, for example with sports or other outdoor activities, he said, adding that politics or other thought-intensive activities should be avoided within 30 minutes of going to bed.

“It is best to avoid being concerned and worrying about everything,” Yang said.

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