And according to a survey run by online healthcare portal CareDash, Americans are turning that anxiety into bad habits: 41 percent of people aged 18 to 44 say they’ve turned to unhealthy behaviors like drinking alcohol, smoking, or eating poorly to cope with the election outcome.Steven Stosny, Ph.D., a couples therapist in the Washington, DC area who partnered with CareDash for the survey, calls it “election stress disorder,” a phenomena where the emotional “toddler” brain takes over the impulse control “adult” brain, resulting in resentment toward those close to us. He coined the term for what he thought was a temporary thing, assuming that these feelings would abate soon after the election.“I predicted that it would take until Christmas to wear off,” Stosny says, “so my prediction was totally wrong.”He now calls it “headline stress disorder” as a byproduct of the 24-hour news cycle and social media. Our constant connection to the news and the rapidfire way it’s shared ratchets up stress levels by inundating us with stories that provoke anger, fear, and frustration. “The headlines would cause anxiety for anybody,” he says.
Our constant connection to the news and the rapidfire way it’s shared ratchets up stress levels by inundating us with stories that provoke anger, fear, and frustration. “The headlines would cause anxiety for anybody,” he says.
On the bar and restaurant industry side, according to US Census Bureau Data collected by the National Restaurant Association, July 2017 was the third consecutive month restaurant sales rose after a sluggish beginning of the year. During August 2017, eating and drinking place sales totaled $56.6 billion, about $1 billion more than last September.Additionally, the National Restaurant Association projects that bars and taverns alone will bring in $19.8 billion dollars in 2017, a 2.5 percent increase from $19.3 billion in 2016. (A total of $19.9 billion in bar and tavern sales was projected last year.)
“Alcoholic beverages are a way to calm down the anxiety… Of course, too much of it turns out to be a depressant. [But] that first drink calms you down. Alcohol [consumption] increase goes with any popular tension."
Borgesi said she finds herself staying up later than normal watching MSNBC—and she’s utilizing those extra minutes of awake time with another glass of wine. “Will it eventually cause a problem for me?” Borgesi, a bank compliance officer, asks. “I guess I should keep it in check. [I don’t do this] every night either, but it’s most nights.”Curt Fox, too, watches more news coverage with a beer in hand in the wake of the election and the Trump administration. The 55-year-old is active on social media and claims to do a lot of “pissing people off” on those platforms. The confidence boost that comes with that extra beer paired with the content of the programs he’s watching provides the Marlton, NJ-based technical engineer with enough ammunition to draft some fiery Facebook statuses.
“For the most part, people needed parties,” AnnaLiisa, 30, says. “They needed places to go to let out frustrations and feel as though they owned something that was theirs. We needed to reclaim something.”Though it would seem that many would imbibe alcohol to relinquish some sense of control, the political climate has inspired many to seek authority over something in their lives—the power to feel safe in a club, or the confidence to post a status on Facebook that you would’ve deleted otherwise.Fox says he’s even become more empathetic, especially towards those who have been impacted by the decisions of the current administration, with another drink in his system. Which is maybe what the world needs a little more of right now.“I don’t run from that. I like being able to say I can look at the situation from someone else's point of view,” Fox says. “For me to tear up about something, [it’s] after I’ve had a couple of drinks… even a beer or two is enough to get teared up about something. I become more emotionally in tune that way.”