BYO rock or tree bark!

Eco-anxiety is real, according to some psychologists, and it can really stress you out.

As one eco-anxious reporter described it, “The sight of an idling car, heat-trapping carbon dioxide spewing from the tailpipe, would send me into an hours-long panic, complete with shaking, the sweats, and staring off into space while others conversed around me”

We can’t even escape at the movies. In his 2006 Oscar-winning documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” Vice President Al Gore warned us that we might be a mere decade away from a global environmental disaster.

It was really time to be afraid — very afraid. Therapists who treat eco-anxiety say their patients report a number of general anxiety symptoms, including loss of appetite, irritability, panic attacks, insomnia, nightmares, unexplained weakness and actual physical pain.

Some people say they cry uncontrollably at the thought of the polar ice caps melting or of yet another species facing extinction. So what do you do if you are suffering from eco-anxiety? Some people see an eco-therapist.

According to the International Community for Ecopsychology, there are almost 150 ecopsychology practitioners around the world [source: Ecopsychology]. More colleges and universities, like Naropa University in Boulder, Colo., and Prescott College in Tucson, Ariz., have started offering ecopsychology as a major, so the number of trained eco-therapists is likely to grow.

Eco-therapists charge up to $250 an hour to diagnose the cause of your worries and offer solutions.

Some eco-therapists advise their patients to get outside and feel closer to nature, while others recommend that patients bring nature closer to them by carrying around a rock or piece of tree bark.

Stephanie Watson, “How Eco-anxiety Works” 15 October 2008. HowStuffWorks.com.