Americans who suffered from postelection stress didn't visit their doctors

Donald Trump
If Americans were stressed by the presidential election they didn't seek mental health help from their doctors.

For all the talk about how the election and its fallout have left people stressed out, Americans didn’t go to their doctors as a result.

An analysis found there was no increase in visits to primary care physicians, who provide much of the country’s mental healthcare, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Researchers looked at office visits of 15.9 million Americans and found people—regardless of their politics—were no more likely to go to go their primary care doctors for mental health-related issues in the 10 weeks before the Nov. 8 election than they did in the 10 weeks after the election of President Donald Trump.


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If Americans were suffering from what became dubbed postelection stress disorder, they haven’t sought more mental healthcare, said Anupam B. Jena, M.D., an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, Josh Gray, vice president of research at athenahealth, Stewart Richardson, a research associate at the same company, and Dhruv Khullar, M.D., a resident at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The authors analyzed visits to nearly 13,000 primary care providers in the athenahealth network, which includes physician practices across the country. They then calculated the share of visits where patients were diagnosed with anxiety, depression or insomnia. They also looked at whether it made a difference for people in heavily red (predominately Trump voters) or blue counties (predominately Hillary Clinton voters).

In blue counties, primary care visits for depression accounted for 1.4% of visits before the election and 1.3% after. In red counties, visits for depression before the election were about 2%, which did not change significantly after the election. Results were similar for anxiety and insomnia diagnoses.

The researchers didn’t measure results since Trump’s inauguration and all its uncertainty, where anxiety might have increased for some people, such as those concerned about losing health insurance or changes to immigration policies.

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