Warning: Too much war news can be bad for your health.
Maybe a warning label to that effect should be attached to various news outlets, particularly the TV set.Why? Because psychologists are starting to warn about the potential consequences of watching a steady barrage of war reports. The consequences can range from stress to depression, depending on whether one reacts to the war news by becoming either too anxious or too callous.
Already, some clinics are treating more patients for post-traumatic stress than before the war. As the war in the Persian Gulf continues, the number of people affected by live TV displays of real-life violence can be expected to increase.
Fortunately, there are ways to cope. Talk and action are the best ways to deal with anxiety over war in the Persian Gulf, mental health experts agree. Knight-Ridder news service adds that callers to Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital anxiety hot line also offered this advice:
- Don't isolate yourself or your feelings. Share them with family and friends.
- Keep a diary or recite your feelings into a tape recorder.
- Trouble sleeping? Talk to someone about your feelings before you go to sleep. Don't lie in bed for hours trying to sleep. Get up and walk around.
- Consider joining a support group. Contact your local community service office to find one near you.
One other point: In contrast to a steady stream of violence via the tube, reading the newspaper can be both more informative and easier on the nerves.
In any case, sometimes it doesn't pay to have front-row seats at a bloody drama, even for civilians.