Though not an official clinical diagnosis, the American Psychological Association defines eco-anxiety as “a chronic fear of environmental doom.” Eco-anxiety is just as real as any other form of anxiety in that it typically involves the same physical and emotional sensations.
“It’s even more real, in a sense, because the problem triggering the anxiety symptoms is objectively real and massive in scale,” Erica Dodds, chief operating officer of the Foundation for Climate Restoration, told HuffPost. “There used to be more distance between any one person and the world, but now it feels like every problem in the world is right in our living rooms with us.”
Like other forms of anxiety, eco-anxiety can affect anyone, and to varying degrees. “Some people might be proactive in taking measures to protect the planet’s resources, while others might feel so powerless to stop the degradation of the environment they can’t handle thinking about it at all,” Dodds said.