Voters Sick and Tired of Election Anxiety

ByABC News via via logo

Oct. 28, 2004 — -- Voters are losing sleep, suffering from headaches, pacing the floors -- all in the name of Election 2004.

On the airwaves, online and even on T-shirts, there's virtually no escape from the countdown to the election. And in these last few days before Election Day, Nov. 2, it's not just the candidates who are feeling the heat. It's the voters, too.

The Washington Post even came up with a tongue in cheek name for it -- P.E.A.D., or pre-election anxiety disorder.

"I'm definitely feeling my blood pressure rise too much," one potential voter told ABC News.

"I'm definitely uneasy," said another. "Sometimes I just want to turn off the TV."

"I wish it was all over already," a third said.

A recent Wall Street Journal poll showed why the election is so intense: Seventy-two percent of Americans believe the outcome will make a "big" difference in their lives and those of their families. That's a huge leap from 1996, when only 40 percent of Americans felt that way.

Kerry supporter Erika Christakis knows firsthand it's been an ugly election year.

"I certainly am much angrier than I have ever been," she said. "I've had really steamed arguments with family and friends."

Even her son Sebastian has noticed the frayed nerves.

"I feel a lot more arguing, and I see more kind of stress that the adults have," he said.

A professor at Johns Hopkins University who studies stress says the uncertainty of the election is causing incredible tension.

"People are acting out their hostility by being curt and gruff to others," said professor P.M. Forni. "This election, in particular, because of the presence of the war, is causing more stress than preceding elections."

The medical community's advice to those suffering from pre-election anxiety disorder is fairly simple: Get a good night's sleep every night, eat a balanced diet and make time for exercise. If all else fails, keep in mind that there's less than a week left to all of this -- barring the possibility of a few hanging chads dragging things out, of course.

This story originally was reported by David Muir on ABC News' Good Morning America.

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