The concept of eco-anxiety refers to the concern about the impact of environmental changes on people’s lives. In other words, excessive and hopeless concern for climate change and its consequences on the fate of the earth.
A real concept that has become all the more important as we are aware of the degradation and mistreatment that we suffer on our planet. This idea, which has been around for a long time but has recently gained importance, mainly affects young people aged 16 to 25 in the most developed countries, because their basic needs are better covered than in other countries. ‘others less likely Effective movements have been developed to raise awareness the importance of taking care of the planet and concrete measures to be taken, but for the moment they are insufficient.
What is eco-anxiety?
In this article, we will refer to eco-anxiety as concern for climate and environmental impact negatively affects people in their daily lives and in their mental health.
It is important to know the symptoms and consequences on people’s mental health, understanding that this trend will increase over time and spread to the general population.
As happened during the pandemic, the disease will not be reduced to mere description, fear and uncertainty as to what the fate of humanity will be when the effects of climate reality become more evident than ‘they aren’t right now, they make anxiety prevail and blind ways to confront the problem.
The real consequences of the absence of state intervention on the subject plus the aggregation of the dilemma in the face of concrete actions will gradually trigger, in the best of cases, a wave of symptoms which will compose a characteristic syndrome; that is, the reality of climate breakdown will be a fact inside health offices for the immediate future.
However, it is a growing influence, although the reason is highly rational and indisputable, there is a personal component which affects or makes flesh in the personality of some subjects and not in others, this is the point that we will deal with in this article.
How is this phenomenon expressed?
The particular symptoms that this image develops are similar to the well-known anxiety attack. Fear, sweating, hyperventilation, sleep disturbances, either when we sleep too much or when it manifests as insomnia. Palpitations or sweating may occur and as this image progresses it may lead to choking triggering depression, due to a lack of coping skills.
Social isolation, feeling that there is nothing to do and that the world is ending, it brings bad luck to many people who already have an anxious base to develop this painting with more ease.
With that, what we’re trying to say is that you have to have a personal basis that allows the scourge concerned with the real idea, that the world as such can end if we don’t take action on this subject, takes on an additional dimension and leads to the development of more severe pathologies than those already present, such as depression and its consequences. Especially among young people who are more inclined not to find a way out or to find the most extreme ones, due to their immaturity resulting from a lack of concrete experience of the world. Moreover, because of the chronological age they are going through, they have not yet acquired enough experience to develop their potential and their assets to be able to face the vicissitudes of life effectively and with less psychic expense.
What works against coping with psychological treatment in these cases is that, being an absolutely real situation, a state of despair is naturalized due to the lack or scarcity of effective measures on the part of governments. Feeling so small compared to what the problem covers, and understanding that a little help is a lot but that the visibility of it is not the same, drives most young people to despair.
The subject is much broader and we leave the questions aside, there is much more to see, to question and to act. But warnings of this silent and growing evil are beginning to flood offices. This way of approaching the question is also related to the way in which the parents put forward their own anxiety, because generational problems at home, it could have been linked to their professional careers or the economic future. That’s to say, the anxiety base is acquired through examples and behaviors learned at home, most often. This is why the same concern is not faced in the same way in everyone, nor the way to find possible solutions.
How to deal with the problem?
Those who face problems in such a way that although they are part of the problem, they also learn to be part of the solution, they are better prepared to live this reality in a different way and find possible measures, real and valid aimed at solutions.
These measures include participating in organized activist communities, participating in NGOs, for example, taking care to know if the clothes we buy are sustainable, looking for ways to recycle, these are very healthy ways to practice our “eco” ideals. without it becoming an obsession and if an action.
The inclusion of companies to take “eco” measures would allow them in a prophylactic way to reduce within the same situations that disturb the proper functioning of these in terms of human capital, especially if they belong to the age group the more affected by this problem.
Eco-anxiety it is still not considered in diagnostic classification manuals like DSM 5 or ICD-11, as a disorder, the argument that is held to maintain this measure is that since it is a real cause that triggers these symptoms, it cannot be included. I think this will change over time and this reason will be reviewed.
Some of the expressions that can be picked up from people suffering from eco-sickness are that, for example, the mere thought of starting their car causes them anxiety and guilt.
The possibility of educating positively and raising awareness that each act counts and has its mark it is a way of countering despair. Currently, the messages related to climate change are negative and catastrophic and increase the fear of a depressing future.
As for the particularity of the practice, the idea is to help the patient manage the catastrophic thoughts and ideas that he has associated with his fear in addition to psycho-physiological deactivation activities, such as breathing and relaxation exercises. to relieve palpitations and the feeling of drowning. Arousing hope by channeling it into concrete actions of staff and companies and institutions, promotes not only the mental health of those affected, but obviously for all of us who inhabit this generous and patient planet.