Sooooo Stressful: Election Stress Disorder

Back in the summer, I read the latest book by Adam Corolla, “I’m Your Emotional Support Animal” in about a day and a half.  It is a laugh-out-loud (I really did) hilarious takedown of the current climate of neurotic skirts-clutching that seems to have become our chief domestic product – and it was written BEFORE the Covid-19 panic.  I recommend it without reservation and if it doesn’t get you laughing…well, that will be very sad.

Why lead off with this on Authentic Medicine?  Because Corolla’s home state of California has done it again, where “at least one hospital” is gearing up for an influx of patients suffering from “election stress disorder.”  Sure, it’s been a tense week, but did anyone seriously consider not going to work, not working out, skipping a romantic interlude, or abstaining from a delicious cocktail while watching the “Real Housewives of Orange County”? 

“We’ve asked the staff to be extra aware for those patients that are presenting with symptoms that could represent an acute heart attack or an acute neurologic disease like a stroke,” Dr. Paul Silka, emergency department medical director at Regional Medical Center in San Jose,” adding that this could represent and additional 25 patients per day.  Are you freaking kidding me?!  We have long gone past the point where any amount of stress, unhappiness, or having a mildly bad day may confer upon any average whiner the title of “patient” with all the rights and benefits thereunto. 

“There’s great evidence that emotions, high-stress events: soccer games, Super Bowl, earthquakes can trigger hormonal release,” Silka said.  Sure, but reasonable, healthy people don’t run to the ER over the Super Bowl (and anyone getting stressed over a soccer game really needs hospitalization and intense cognitive therapy anyway).  “Mental health concerns have already been at the forefront for many physicians due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.”  Which a great portion of health care professionals have been doing their best to exacerbate and inflame for months.

The article gives a rundown on the signs and symptoms of a panic attack, which merits a quick Ativan shot and rapid disposition where clinically possible.  More advice given includes talking to family and friends if suffering feelings of depression, and seeking the advice of a professional.  Hopefully it won’t involve checking the entire clan into the ER. 

It is sad that there is anything called “election stress disorder,” hilarious that anyone believes they suffer from it, and ridiculous that any doctor should have to deal with it.  We have come to the point in health care where literally anything can be turned into a diagnosis, and solicitous physicians will go running to treat it and are punished if they do not.  It will make for a great new MOC module for the ABFM.  What will be the clinical markers for Mixed Holiday Stress Disorder, where sufferers are simultaneously depressed that they can’t gather with friends and loved ones, and anxious over a COVID-21 risk if they do?  California will lead the way.

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413750cookie-checkSooooo Stressful: Election Stress Disorder