Video: Election season driving voters to seek psychiatric help

  • 20 November, 2019
  • John Van Trieste
Election season in Taiwan brings

With Taiwan’s 2020 election just weeks away, political tension is in the air. For some, it’s become too much to bear. A growing number of voters are seeking professional help to find some way of dealing with the mental strain.

Has the state of politics got you sick? You’re not alone. In Taiwan, a bruising campaign season is underway in the final weeks before the 2020 election. And it is literally making people here unwell.

Mental health professionals say that this is something that happens around election time here, as political passions ignite and pressure builds. They say that for some people, especially those most tuned into politics, all this pressure takes a toll.

The result is what they call “election syndrome”. The syndrome manifests itself in different ways- some lose sleep, feel anxiety, or find they can’t eat. In the most extreme cases, patients may even become delusional.

Doctor Yang Tsung-tsai tells of one patient who came to believe they had magical powers that could guarantee victory for their preferred candidate. However, they also became convinced that they were being followed by someone from the opposing candidate’s campaign.

While the symptoms vary, the reach of election syndrome stretches evenly across party lines. Based on past experience, psychiatrists expect to see a 20% jump in the number of people of all political stripes seeking help in the month surrounding Election Day. They advise those feeling stressed out to limit media consumption. Dr. Yang also advises exercise and a healthy acceptance that in elections, there are wins and there are losses.

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