TUESDAY, Aug. 9 (HealthDay News) -- With headlines using words like "plummet" and "dive" to describe steep stock market declines this week, experts say many Americans' emotions are also in a downward spiral.
Barely four years after the first financial meltdown, people are now grappling with fears of a "double-dip" recession, looming federal and state budget cuts and shock at the first-ever downgrading (by agency Standard & Poor's) of their country's credit rating. On Monday, Wall Street suffered its steepest drop since 2008, and the sell-offs continued on stock exchanges worldwide.
For Americans worried about their financial future, the past few days may have taken a big psychological toll.
"This is re-invoking fear and uncertainty," said Dr. Carl Greiner, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. "Many people were hoping that the economy was getting back on track so they could start saving for retirement or their children's education or go back to work. Those things are in suspension right now."
But it's not just anxiety about the state of the economy and the state of one's personal savings or lack thereof. There's also plenty of anger out there, too, aimed mainly at lawmakers.
"We're all anxious. We're all upset and we're angry because we think our legislators have put us in this position," said Alan Hilfer, director of psychology at Maimonides Medical Center in New York City.
"We're watching a failure of leadership," added Alan Manevitz, a family psychiatrist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "It's like watching your parents fighting and not being able to come up with any unified leadership. It's up to you to figure out what's happening and that creates great fear inside of us. . . We're showing instability, and people want to see stability."
It's easy to attribute the upset to "recession fatigue," but man
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