Psychiatrists and therapists in the United States are witnessing a peculiar trend– patients are exhibiting signs of anxiety and depression due to the presidential election.
Though the phenomena can't be described as a clinical condition and there is no way to quantify the scope of mental anguish, anecdotal evidence collected from therapists and psychiatrists suggests that overwhelmingly liberals and also some non-liberals are exhibiting distressing symptoms such as nightmares, insomnia, digestive problems and headaches.
"You can't pathologize this anxiety. People who are marginalised to begin with know that they are targets because of the hatred that's been unearthed," Andrea Gitter, a New York psychotherapist and member of the faculty at the Women's Therapy Centre Institute was quoted as saying by Slate. She added that the election comes up daily in her practice.
Kimberly Grocher, a psychotherapist in New York who is a person of colour and treats many patients from the minority community, says that symptoms such as sleeplessness, restlessness and feeling powerless that may also cause depression are usually due other anxiety triggers that the patients may be having. But they get compounded by the election news.
The anxiety for many of her patients, Grocher explains, stems from worries about the physical safety of their communities. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has called for nationwide adoption of stop-and-frisk and repeatedly called for urban police to be "much tougher." The outcome of the election for them is hence linked to the threat of police violence.
"For the minorities who I see, and even the Caucasians who I see, that issue has been very closely tied to the election," Grocher says. "Usually the two come up in conversation together. It's about, what's going to happen in my community if this person is in office?," Grocher adds.
The feeling of impending doom lingering around the corner as the republic descends into kakistocracy has also been described by some as a national nervous breakdown.
Liz, a 45-year-old photographer in Minneapolis, realised that the recent onset of alarming symptoms such as headaches, jitteriness and sometimes even difficulty in breathing were triggered when she turned on the news.
Apart from the possibility that Trump may "ruin my country, or cause civil war, or cause World War III", the most distressing thing for Liz in her own words is the realisation that so many of her fellow Americans inhabit a completely different reality than the one she is experiencing.
"I can no longer see where they're coming from," she says of Trump supporters. "I feel like I'm in The Twilight Zone." Even if Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wins, she's terrified of Trump's followers responding with violence.
"We're getting closer and closer and closer to something that seems so insane," she says, "The thought of him winning, or even the thought of her winning and parts of the country imploding in chaos as a result—it all just seems like a nightmare," she adds.
The election scheduled for Tuesday, November 8, will determine the 45th President and 48th Vice President of the United States.