What Your Brain Type Says About PEST (Post-Election Stress Trauma)

Effects of Post-Election Stress Trauma

No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, you may be feeling stressed, anxious, and perhaps even traumatized. Are you still obsessively scrolling through your social media feeds searching for items that confirm your beliefs that the other side is WRONG? Are you arguing with loved ones who don’t share your views? Do you have a queasy feeling about the future?

You may be struggling with post-election stress trauma (PEST), a real “pest” that is affecting people of all political persuasions all across America. The brain SPECT imaging work at Amen Clinics—over 160,000 functional brain scans and growing—shows how your brain type plays a role in your vulnerability for PEST and offers valuable clues to the best ways to get past it.

First, it’s important to understand how harmful PEST can be.


Similar to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), PEST can take a toll on your mental health as well as your physical health too. A 2020 study in PNAS found that in the 2 days following the 2016 presidential elections, hospitalizations for acute cardiovascular disease were 1.62 times higher than the same 2-day period the previous week.

At Amen Clinics locations nationwide, there has been a steep rise in patients who are suffering from this phenomenon. PEST is causing heightened anxiety, panic attacks, fears about the future, uncontrollable anger, and negative thoughts that loop endlessly. It’s also giving people brain fog, making it hard to concentrate, keeping them up at night, and causing relationship troubles. For some people, it’s ruining their life.

Post-election stress trauma (PEST) is causing heightened anxiety, panic attacks, fears about the future, uncontrollable anger, and negative thoughts that loop endlessly. Click To Tweet

Is PEST interfering with your life?


To overcome PEST, you need to know your brain type.

The Spontaneous Brain Type (conflict seeking).

Don’t agree with some of your friends and family? If you know that talking about certain issues will upset others and you impulsively do it anyway, you may have this brain type. People with this brain type tend to be drama driven; they’re the ones who like to “poke the bear” to get a reaction. Brain SPECT imaging shows that this is associated with low activity in the brain’s frontal lobes, and people create conflict as a way to stimulate their sleepy brain. This type is common in those with ADD/ADHD.

The Spontaneous Brain Fix: Set boundaries for discussion topics when you get together whether it’s in person or virtually. For example, you may want to say that talking about politics is off the table. Instead, focus on what you have in common to keep relationships alive. To boost frontal lobe activity, eat a higher-protein diet, engage in daily aerobic activity, and consider nutritional supplements that stimulate the brain (including green tea, rhodiola, and ginseng).

The Persistent Brain Type (rigid thinking).

When you argue with reality, welcome to hell. If you’re stuck in rigid thinking patterns, such as “It’s my way or the highway,” you’re likely to feel extreme stress when elections don’t go your way or when others don’t agree with you. This can keep you locked into PEST, filling you with anger, depression, or relationship issues. SPECT scans show that cognitive inflexibility is often related to overactivity in the anterior cingulate gyrus (the brain’s gear shifter that helps you go from thought to thought or from behavior to behavior), along with low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. This is often seen in people with obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, and other types of anxiety disorders.

When you argue with reality, welcome to hell. Click To Tweet

The Persistent Brain Fix: To calm an overactive ACG and enhance flexible thinking, boost serotonin in the brain by eating “smart carbs” (such as sweet potatoes and hummus), salmon, turkey, eggs, nuts, and seeds; taking supplements like 5-HTP and saffron; and doing activities like burst training.

The Sensitive Brain Type (overwhelmed by negative thinking).

People with this brain type struggle with moods, can feel overwhelmed, and are likely to have lots of automatic negative thoughts (ANTs). When you focus on what’s wrong in your life, it can make you feel depressed and gloomy. This type is associated with too much activity in the deep limbic system, the emotional centers of the brain. It is common in people with mood disorders, such as depression.

The Sensitive Brain Fix: Whenever you have a sad, anxious, or negative thought, write it down and ask yourself if it is true. Questioning your thoughts can help you clean up the mental mayhem. In addition, calm the emotional centers of the brain with healthy fats, such as avocado, almonds, and salmon; take omega-3 fatty acids, s-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), and vitamin D; and do physical activities like dancing or team sports.

The Cautious Brain Type (fearful about the future).

Your brain is always listening and reacting to the inputs you’re feeding it. For people with this brain type, watching the news and scrolling through social media can fire up your brain’s anxiety center (basal ganglia) and trigger nervousness, panic, and fear. It is common in people with anxiety, panic disorder, and phobias.

The Cautious Brain Fix: One of the first steps to harnessing PEST is to pay attention to your news and social media consumption. Limit your daily diet of distressing news and inflammatory posts. Soothe the brain’s anxiety centers by avoiding caffeine, booze, and sugary sweets; supplement your diet with GABA, magnesium, and B6; and try calming activities like yoga.

PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues can’t wait. During these uncertain times, your mental well-being is more important than ever and waiting until life gets back to “normal” is likely to make your symptoms worsen over time.

At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.


  1. Is it possible to have all of these brain types?? 🤪. I can identify with something in each one. No matter how hard I try not to consume too much politics or talk about it with my spouse, who is MUCH different than me in personality, etc., I can’t seem to make this any better for myself. :(.

    Comment by April — December 4, 2020 @ 5:07 AM

  2. Please send information and treatment for anxious depressed insomniac type. In addition send info for simply dysthymia type.. thank you !

    Comment by Carol — December 4, 2020 @ 7:39 AM

  3. The only problem with this plan of dealing with this current situation by ignoring it, is to allow evil to change the world forever. We got to this point by ignoring it and now it is bigger than we have power to stop it. When do we stand up against it? Taking care of me and letting evil win doesn’t seem like an option to me.

    Comment by Ruth Klinge — December 4, 2020 @ 8:32 AM

  4. I had a scan in 2014, and the breakdown of my scan showed all of these – (a prior eeg in 09 showed some of these too) ! It makes sense how I was going through life as if everything was on fire. The scan led to further testing and blood work, and a genetic test ultimately showed an electrolyte regulation issue which affected all these areas mentioned. I experienced a 180 in all life domains after this. Nothing short of a miracle.

    Comment by JS — December 4, 2020 @ 8:55 AM

  5. I used to care about global warming and the politically insane and so forth…but not so much anymore. I’m in my mid seventies and I may be gone to my just rewards in 10 years or so. So…who cares about YOUR grandchildren and their grandchildren? You obviously don’t. My major concern is “will I manage to avoid the worst of it?” But it looks like the effects of global warming, resource depletion, and general human incompetence is hitting a bit sooner than expected.

    I’ve come to terms with human insanity and stupidity…I just need to sidestep it. Alls I can say is…good luck…you’ll need it.

    Comment by bob — December 5, 2020 @ 1:21 AM

  6. Many years ago I ceased watching mainstream media which is, in part, controlled by China and George Soros and their far left, owners. Also, there seems to be obvious fraud as seen on videos from cameras in many of the swing states. I am concerned that China will own and even run America if Biden becomes our president. The most trustworthy news imho, is on Newsmax and Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity on Fox News. They present facts and show evidence via video camera of actual evidence of fraud. Truth is difficult to find these days, and these options seem to be more truthful. They even point out the lies other stations claim. As a result, I’m angry at those committing fraud and at the news media for claiming it is factual.

    Comment by Dionne Marie Schwartz — December 5, 2020 @ 8:54 AM

  7. Every single one of these fits me to a T. Right now, I feel like I hate everyone and everyone hates me. I don’t want to be around people, anyone. I’m fed up with the idiotic masks and the stupid people who blindly wear them. Can’t stand people thinking their candidate is going to fix everything (no one can) and I’m tired of people looking to me for help and support. I just want to go to the jungle and stay there. Preferably alone.

    Comment by RFriend — December 5, 2020 @ 10:26 AM

  8. Basically, some may call it a crutch, but the serenity prayer is the best daily medicine. We have to pray and let go. We have to listen to the holy spirit and trust God id in charge. We voted, the only legal action we can exercise. There is not much else we can do except handle each day as it comes. And, pray. Fear is not from God. “He has not given us a sf pirit of fear, but of power. Love, and a sound mind.”

    Comment by Terrie — December 6, 2020 @ 12:03 AM

  9. I often find myself feeling hopeless when I witness the ‘brokenness’ of our world. The hatred, the pain, and the suffering that humans cause other humans.

    The hopelessness can be overwhelming, if there truly was nothing I could do about it.

    There is one thing… I love as many people as I can. When met with brokenness, I try to respond in love. Pain begets pain. Only love can heal it. I can’t fight the world’s problems myself, but I can fight back with the only thing I’m truly any good at, and that’s loving. Maybe that little bit will ripple out beyond me. When I feel hopeless and heartbroken at the suffering that life can be, I know that if it’s all I can do, I’m gonna do it as hard and as much as I can.

    “Love is all we need” ❤️

    Comment by Deb S. — December 6, 2020 @ 2:43 AM

  10. I think mental health care is sometime at odds with politics…you think!?! I do think it interesting to come up with the acronym PEST. There are other ways to think about these ‘brain types’. This view is medicalized. I think that – for example – we possibly over diagnose ADHD now because our world requires focus in a way our brains haven’t evolved to. And, when it comes to conflict there are plenty of theories and studies on how conflict is actually quite healthy and improves relationships. But there is the truism that it has to be a certain type of conflict, one that doesn’t as John Gottman’s research reveals that we turn TOWARD others not AWAY or AGAINST.

    Comment by Barb Elgin LCSW-C — December 7, 2020 @ 2:29 PM

  11. In order to survive this post election upheaval and whatever is coming next you need foundational beliefs — belief that some things are always true and unchangeable. You need the mental and emotional security of knowing that there is order and a plan — not just permanent chaos. The question is (and now is a great time to get our heads out of the election and consider this) who do you believe has the power to be in charge of all that is happening – and all that happens daily – in our world? Do you believe in God? If no, then what do you believe? If yes, do you believe that He has a plan and it is being worked out in our world? If yes, you can rest in that. If no, then who is making everything happen in this world? For anyone interested in exploring the God option, I suggest start by reading the Book of John in the New Testament. If you believe that God is in charge and there is life after this life, it most definitely puts our current woes in perspective. Either way, discover what you believe and then ask yourself if those beliefs bring you comfort; if not, examine other beliefs. This seems like a good time for a voyage of personal belief discovery.

    Comment by Debra Stevenson — December 14, 2020 @ 11:09 AM

  12. Hello JS, thank you for reaching out and sharing your story! #brainhealthmatters

    Comment by Amen Clinics — December 21, 2020 @ 7:34 PM

  13. Hello Carol, thank you for reaching out. Our Care Coordinators will contact you directly with information. We look forward to speaking with you.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — December 21, 2020 @ 7:35 PM

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