Anxiety appears to be a galloping epidemic. Since its introduction as a medical condition in the 80s, anxiety has risen from 2% of cases to the most commonly diagnosed mental illness. Today it affects more than a fifth of the population and a third of all young people.
Is the growth in anxiety a rational response to deeply uncertain times? An over medicalisation of behaviour that would once have been seen as normal? Or a consequence of an obsessively distracted social media culture? And importantly should we treat patients more, or will we only address the crisis by changing our society and its toxic culture?
Leading drugs researcher David Nutt, member of the Climate Psychology Alliance Caroline Hickman, and consultant NHS psychiatrist Mark Salter clash over the roots of and remedies for our rising anxiety.