‘Election Stress Disorder:’ Local Therapist Talks Pre-Election Anxieties

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – In 2016, therapist Dr. Steven Stosny coined the term “election stress disorder” as a growing number of people reported anxiety surrounding the election.

Though it’s not diagnosable, Wexford-based therapist Sarah Souri says it seems to be impacting many people again with the election about two weeks away.

“Election plus the pandemic, I think have made for a perfect storm this year,” she said.

From the debate stage to social media, to the dinner table, emotions related to the election can feel hard to escape.

Souri says knowing your limits is key.

“Being mindful of what you’re allowing yourself to consume in terms of media, in terms of the conversations you’re having with people,” she said.

With any type of stress, Souri recommends focusing on “controlling the controllables.”

When it comes to the election, one controllable is making a voting plan.

“You absolutely need to make a plan,” said Suzanne Almeida, interim executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania, a nonpartisan watchdog organization. “So, if you’re going to vote in person know where you’re polling place is. If it’s the first time you’re voting at that polling place, make sure you have a form of ID.”

The deadline to register to vote in Pennsylvania is Monday, October 19.

The last day to request an absentee or mail-in ballot is October 27.

Almeida recommends not waiting until the last minute to request an absentee or mail-in ballot.

“If you’re going to vote by mail, make that request early,” she said. “Make that decision early and stick with it if you can.”