Politics are impossible to escape, even for the casual observer. New research indicates that we’re making ourselves sick over politics.
Nearly 40% of Americans surveyed for the study said politics is stressing them out, and one in five are losing sleep. These responses and others show many in the United States believe their mental and physical health has been harmed in some way by exposure to the toxic nature of politics.
The research is the first to look comprehensively at the physical and emotional costs of paying attention to and participating in political discourse. Previous examinations have focused almost solely on economic costs, such as time lost from work to vote or the monetary costs of supporting a campaign.
Say the authors “it became apparent, especially during the 2016 electoral season, that this was a polarized nation, and it was getting even more politically polarized.” The results, the research notes are akin to a public health crisis. "Twenty percent have damaged friendships because of political disagreements. One in five report fatigue. … 4% of the people in our sample said they’ve had suicidal thoughts because of politics. That translates into 10 million adults.”
Among the other findings:
31.8% said exposure to media outlets promoting views contrary to personal beliefs had driven them crazy
29.3% said they've lost their temper as a result of politics
22.1% admit they care too much about who wins and who loses
20% say differences in political views have damaged a friendship
11.5% reported politics had adversely affected their physical health
“Stress is a real phenomenon that can have disastrous health effects,” the study says. If politics is a significant contributor to the levels of stress that American adults are experiencing there’s a real add-on health effect from that.
Chiropractic may help with some of the negative effects of toxic politics.