It’s not a stretch to say that anxiety helps to keep you alive. The emotion of fear developed in humans as a response to threats to our safety. In the face of imminent danger, our body redistributes blood to the muscles and pumps up our heart rate, all in an effort to face the threat and fight, or high tail it out of there.
But for over 300 million people worldwide, anxiety can sometimes be misplaced. When a nervous system perceives threats that are not life-or-death, people can fall into a difficult pattern of chronic fear and stress.
The good news is that there are effective treatments for anxiety disorders, including medication and psychological therapy. Unfortunately, not all people can access the help they need, due to sky-high waitlists and a lack of publicly funded services. Medication, while easy to access and proven effective for many, can come with pesky side effects.
Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, Associate Professor and Director of the Anxiety Disorders Research Program at Georgetown University School of Medicine, has been treating people with anxiety disorders for 20 years. She’s prescribed many different types of medication, psychotherapy, and a combination…