To Heal Anxiety, Stop Thinking of It as a Disease

Featured in
Psychology Today
Published on
July 5, 2022

KEY POINTS

  • Treating anxiety as a disease isn't working. Although treatments exist, rates of anxiety disorders continue to rise.
  • This is because this disease model blocks us from learning to cope with anxiety.
  • Until we jettison this faulty model, our struggle with anxiety disorders will only worsen.

It’s a simple fact: Nobody likes to feel anxious. Anxiety is among the most pervasive and reviled of human emotions. And since it’s unhealthy, we all agree, we should prevent and eradicate it like any other illness. An entire economy has sprung up to aid us in our efforts: from self-help books and holistic remedies to pharmaceuticals and cutting-edge talk therapy. And yet, the fact is that we remain a profoundly anxious society, with rates of anxiety disorders soaring. A third of us will suffer from debilitating anxiety disorders in our lifetime.

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