Thu, Jan 16, 2020 - Page 2 News List

Leisure good for post-election blues: doctor

By Tsai Shu-yuan and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The nation is seeing a 20 percent surge in the number of people experiencing post-election stress disorder given the number of people reporting ailments believed to be linked with last week’s elections, said Lee Chun-te (李俊德), director of Chungshan Medical University Hospital’s Division of Psychosomatic Medicine.

People who deeply invest in elections and project their hopes onto a candidate to an excessive degree can suffer emotionally if the elections do not go the way they expected, Lee said.

Such people feel stress when they are unable to accept election results and frequently exhibit symptoms such as unease, anxiety, despondency, irritability, difficulty sleeping, headaches, tightness of chest and dizziness that can affect their life and work performance, Lee said.

A 62-year-old woman surnamed Chen (陳) came to the hospital this week for treatment, Lee said.

Family members said that Chen, who has high blood pressure and diabetes, was very involved in politics for the two to three months before the presidential and legislative elections on Saturday last week, Lee said.

She experienced some insomnia and muscle tenseness before the election, and despondency, insomnia and an inability to control her emotions afterward, Lee said, adding that these emotions led to a spike in Chen’s blood sugar level and blood pressure.

The hospital urged Chen, who was put on an anti-depressant and given a muscle relaxant, to change her daily habits, Lee said.

People so affected by the elections should distance themselves from the news in the post-election season and divert their attentions elsewhere, Lee added.

“Take a walk, go on a trip or begin exercising,” Lee said, adding that people will hopefully arrive at the point where they can respect, and perhaps empathize, with the choices of others once their emotional state has stabilized.

People experiencing difficulty sleeping should exercise in the morning and avoid topics that might upset them up to two hours before bedtime, Lee said.

If they fail to fall asleep within 30 minutes, people should try activities that will help them relax and become drowsy, but people should seek medical treatment if they have difficulty sleeping for two weeks in a row, Lee added.

Listening to soft music or taking a bath can often help people relax, said Tsai Hui-chun (蔡惠君), a traditional Chinese medicine doctor in Taichung.

Avoiding caffeinated beverages in the afternoon and evening also helps, Tsai said, adding that having eggs, milk or other foods rich in calcium and protein can aid sleep.

Drinking a brew of poria (fushen, 茯神), blighted wheat, lily bulbs (baihe, 百合), licorice and ground, dried date pits can also help, Tsai added.

Avoiding election-related information, staying calm, sticking to routines, interacting with family and friends — if politics can be kept out of conversations — and finding new goals in life can also benefit people experiencing the disorder, Chungshan Medical University Hospital psychiatrist Hsu Kai-hui (徐開慧) said.

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