What is eco-anxiety and how do its symptoms affect us?

Excessive anxiety it is one of the mental health disorders that most affects the daily well-being of millions of people around the world. This pathology is characterized by a feeling of discomfort, anxiety or generalized suffering before the arrival of a real or imaginary danger.

Anxiety is also one of the most studied mental health disorders in the field of psychology and over the years a wide variety of disorders based on it have been characterized, such as phobias or anxiety widespread; all these phenomena in one way or another affect the quality of life.

However, one of the particularities of anxiety disorders is their flexibility and their ability to adopt very diverse forms, depending also on the historical moment in which we find ourselves and the social and cultural development of human groups. In this sense, for some decades we have been detecting the appearance, mainly in Western societies, of a new type of very specific problematic anxiety: ecoanxietywhich is linked to the uncertainty of the future in relation to biodiversity, life on earth and the possibility of living in uncontaminated spaces.

What is eco-anxiety?

This type of anxiety was identified in the late 1990s, and refers to people who present a constant fear of suffering an environmental cataclysm in the next few years due to human action on climate and nature.

The last decades have been marked socially and politically by climate change, natural disasters caused by pollution, heat waves, droughts and all kinds of environmental problems that have alerted the way of life of people all over the world, and this they even produce new migratory flows (for example, among those who live in very low-lying areas prone to flooding).

Eco-anxiety is affecting more and more people and in general the most affected are usually young boys and girls who have grown up in affluent societies and see how a future of uncertainty, global unrest and environmental change for the worse waits.

Although it is not technically considered an anxiety disorder in the field of clinical psychology and does not appear in diagnostic textbooks, eco-anxiety can be the medium for expression of psychopathologies, such as the disorder generalized anxiety, and it generates harmful effects both mentally and mentally. the physical health of those who suffer from it and must be treated by a professional psychologist qualified

Effects and Symptoms of Eco-Anxiety

Next, we will briefly see the main characteristics of eco-anxiety, as well as its impact, both psychological and physical, on people who suffer from it.

1. Distress due to uncertainty

Uncertainty about the future is one of the main characteristics of the eco-anxiety phenomenon. It is a state of long-term unease and suffering in the face of the inability to know what an unknown and worrying future holds for us.

Since there are currently so many reasons to worry about the future, some people tend to develop symptoms of anxiety and saturation due to the number of problems ahead of them and the uncertainty of the future.

Many people with eco-anxiety already experience a very specific psychological affliction due to symptoms of anxiety and stress that generate concern for the environment and the future of planet Earth.

As is the case with most anxiety disorders, eco-anxiety gradually generates discomfort that affects the mental and psychological health of the person affected, if not treated in time.

The general feeling of frustration for the future of the planet, anxiety, anguish and unease because of what will happen in the future, they end up decisively affecting the mental, psychological and emotional health of those who suffer from them.

2. Physical damage

Associated with the psychological affectation, we also find a series of physical alterations that are the daily bread of many people with ecoansiedad.

It is obvious that a psychological saturation ends up generating también fatigue and severe physical discomfort that affect the person’s daily life and normal development in all areas of daily life.

3. Media saturation

The unease caused by the environmental and climate crisis is also aggravated daily by excessive exposure to the media around us, where we can read, hear and see daily depressing news about the various environmental disasters that occur every year in the world.

This saturation of bad news this ends up generating great discomfort and contributing to making us feel greater eco-anxiety on a daily basis.

4. Lack of resilience

Some people have resilience deficits, which prevent them adapt properly to the new environmental situation we live all over the world, so it is convenient to work on this skill.

Resilience is the ability to adapt to adversity, trauma or unpleasant situations that arise throughout our lives, and to emerge stronger and better informed.

5. Despair

In addition to an uncertainty that generates unease and unease, hopelessness is also another of the characteristics of eco-anxiety, mainly because consider that the situation is irreversible and that climate change is progressing inexorably but we can’t help it.

This feeling of general hopelessness and frustration can also lead to the development of depressive symptoms of all kinds, which in turn can worsen the mental health of the sufferer.

7. Fear of upcoming changes

You don’t have to suffer from eco-anxiety to know that in the future the human species will have to make some changes if it is to ensure its survival as such.

The fears and anxieties about the future also relate to the new ways of life that we must adopt to survive in the years to come and mainly in possibility of emigration.

Explain what it is, emphasizing that it is a form of excessive anxiety caused by uncertainty about what the future will be, what will be lost in it, and what totally new ways of living we will have to adapt.

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If you want to start a psychotherapy process to manage and overcome anxiety, contact us.

In Advanced Psychologists we serve patients of all ages and intervene using the most effective psychotherapy strategies.

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