Our modern, medical definition of anxiety could be traced back to 1980 and the publication of the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-III), the doctor’s and psychiatrist’s bible for identifying mental illness.
The authors of DSM-III suggested that, according to their new criteria, between 2 and 4 per cent of the population would have an anxiety disorder.
About 7 per cent of UK adults are on antidepressants (often prescribed for anxiety, too) and one in seven will take benzodiazepines such as Xanax in any one year.
Mental health charities warn that our anxiety levels are creeping even higher; they often blame our “switched-on” modern culture for this, or the financial crisis and the long recession that followed it.
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