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'Climate depression' reportedly affecting more people

Last Updated Feb 27, 2017 at 8:20 am PDT

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People stressed out as Trump looks to cut environmental protection budget

Experts warn against cutting funds to fight climate change as the US is set to make big changes

WASHINGTON, DC. (NEWS 1130) – Climate protection is on the cutting block in the US, with President Donald Trump set to make massive changes to the Environmental Protection Agency, and that is only adding to the anxiety for those said to be suffering from “climate depression.”

A growing field of research points to the constant stream of headlines about global warming, claiming it is leading to disorders like “pre-traumatic stress disorder.”

Pre-TSD is defined as the mental anguish caused by constantly preparing for the worst before it even happens, and while it is apparently seen more often in scientists on the front lines of climate research, the forensic psychiatrist who coined the term believes it’s becoming more common in the general population.

“Some of us are lucky enough to be at distance from the world’s climate disasters, but we are not potted plants sitting here. This is empathic identification with the victims. It is painful seeing people drowned, burned, flooded and starved,” says Lise Van Susteren, speaking at a recent climate and health conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

She adds there are many special populations that are at risk, including “climate Cassandras” who suffer from pre traumatic stress disorder “in the grip of images of future disasters they can’t put out of their minds.”

“In the first public climate change delusion, a 17-year-old Australian boy had to be hospitalized for refusing to drink water, believing it would cause millions in his drought-ridden country to die of thirst,” Van Susteren told the gathering. “The Melbourne Children’s Hospital doctor who treated him told me he has a clinic full of children with climate anxieties. Though the result of multiple forces, climate change is both a threat multiplier and a root cause of mental health crises.”

She also pointed to studies showing a rise in aggression linked to rising global temperatures. “It’s clearer every day that destructive inaction on climate — and this is my professional opinion — will be experienced as child abuse with all the attendant mental health impacts we would expect.”

The potential cuts to the US EPA are part of the President Donald Trump’s proposed budget.