The Extinction Rebellion movement has brought parts of London to a standstill in recent weeks, to try to force the Government into making concrete plans to save us from eco-disaster.
Over in Sweden, Greta Thunberg’s weekly school strike has inspired millions of people around the world to take a stand.
But while the activism has increased in recent years, so too have reports of a new type of mental health problem, especially among young people. ‘Eco-anxiety’ is not a medical term (yet), but it is a phenomenon we are hearing more and more about.
Do you feel anxious about the future of Earth, and how that will aff ect your future?
Anxious About Earth
WHAT EXACTLY IS ECO-ANXIETY?
The term ‘eco-anxiety’, also known as climate anxiety, is used to describe severe worry and stress caused by concerns over the environment and the future of the planet. Psychology Today magazine says it is “a fairly recent psychological disorder afflicting an increasing number of individuals who worry about the environmental crisis”. They go on to say it is “an understandable reaction to growing awareness of climate change and the global problems that result from damage to the ecosystem”.
There are no statistics on how common eco-anxiety is, but Susan Clayton, a professor of psychology and environmental studies in the USA, says: “A significant proportion of people are experiencing stress and worry about the potential impacts of climate change, and the level of worry is almost certainly increasing.”
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Like more general anxiety, the signs of eco-anxiety include panic attacks, obsessive thinking, insomnia (not being able to sleep) and a loss of appetite.
HOW IS IT TREATED?
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October 18, 2019