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Doctors: Political climate causing mental angst

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Posted at 5:09 PM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-17 21:52:00-05

The political climate in our country has become so ugly that there is seemingly no middle ground. Almost every topic leads to a considerable debate and a lot of stress.

It used to be polite to refrain from discussing religion or politics. Now, that's all anyone talks about.

And if there's one thing to agree on, it's that it's gotten ugly out there.

"We've seen that debate devolves into a schoolyard food fight that's amplified by a million," said Jason Mollica, Professorial Lecturer at American University.

The topic of animosity has come up with his students—a lot.

"There's still that feeling if there's a lot of negativity, there's a lot of noise out there that has just obviously since the election," Mollica said. "And then as we prepped into January this whole other side of things where we had an attack on the capitol - almost an insurrection."

Mollica says his students were, and still are, concerned about their future as we all watch what's happening in government.

"If we can't work together in Washington, how are we expected to move forward as a country out of a pandemic and let alone get kids back into school, get jobs flowing again?" said Mollica. "It leads people to be very stressed out because of all of this negative energy."

Dr. Eugene Lipov is a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or a PTSI (Post-Traumatic Stress Injury) expert.

"If you watch a lot of traumatic things and a lot of times media has scared people crazy," Dr. Lipov said. "Keep in mind a lot of social media that has been very aggressive has been manufactured locally and abroad for different nefarious purposes."

Dr. Lipov says stress has reached severe levels for some people.

"You have to take care of your brain," Dr. Lipov said, who immigrated to the United States from Ukraine. "If you don't take care of your brain, you're going to have a problem."

He admits, he too, has been bothered by the state of affairs in our country.

"I have lived in places where there was absolute chaos, and that's a problem," Dr. Lipov said. "No food, cold, no transportation. It's very difficult.
The United States is an amazing country, and I'm proud to be a citizen, but it's a shame to see it being taken apart by trivial differences."

His career is focused on mental health. He worries about future problems, not from viruses, but what he calls mental pandemics.

For now, he recommends limiting social media to 30 minutes a day, focusing on exercising, and meditating.

"Meditation is very important," Dr. Lipov said. "What it does is bring the brain tissue back. It's the only thing that does everybody - no matter the political party - wants more brain tissue, think clearer, remember things better, and sleep well. If you do that, you'll be ahead of the game."

Dr. Lipov says there is hope on the horizon with our scientific advancements.

And he hopes students like Mollica's will see a bright future rather than a bleak one.