What is headline stress disorder and do you have it?

After one month of the Trump presidency, do you react differently to the news? We put that question to listeners and KCRW’s Facebook followers and heard various versions of what one therapist has called “headline stress disorder.”

“I would just feel very anxious and stressed out, sometimes to the point where I’m in tears and just really overwhelmed, like there’s nothing I can personally do” said Ashley Prillaman.

“I listen to Sean Spicer’s press briefings everyday. I’m compulsively checking to see if anything’s happened during the day and it is fatiguing,” said Cheryl Bate. “It stresses me out a lot. I even dream sometimes about what’s happen in the news.”

“Today I decided I’m not going to look at the news for an entire week” said Bill Evans. “I definitely, instead of looking at my phone before going to bed, I actually charge my phone in a different room.”

Headline stress disorder is not an actual diagnosis. “It’s really high emotional reactivity,” said Steve Stosny, a therapist in the Washington D.C. area who focuses on couples.

Stosny coined the term after hearing from clients express feelings of anxiety and stress during, and after, the election. In an interview with “To the Point” Stosny pointed to smartphone news alerts, social media and 24-hour cable coverage.

“They’re like missile explosions and the siege is without end. That’s how my clients describe it — it’s getting in their heads in a way that I’ve never seen before.”

He tells patients to pick one or two trusted news sources and stick to them, rather than expose themselves to a variety of sources that might anger them.

He also had this advice: “When you’re listening to Sean Spicer, think in your heart what kind of policy you would like to see expressed. Don’t focus on what you don’t like, that’s disempowering.”

Tell us: Are you suffering from headline stress disorder?

(Photo: Doug Belshaw)