Anxiety encompasses post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety, OCD, as well as generalised anxiety disorder (which is what I suppose I have, although I’ve never had a specific diagnosis). But while the classic advice is to see a therapist – as I have, on and off, for over 30 years – how effectively anxiety can be cured may depend on the type of therapy.
Many therapists are now acknowledging that generalised anxiety may respond far better to ‘retraining’ the brain than to counselling or psychoanalysis.
What’s more, several recent studies suggest that anxiety isn’t always rooted in a traumatic past, but may be a quirk of certain brain structures. ‘We hear a lot about why talking is the best thing for mental health,’ says psychologist and anxiety specialist Dr Zoubida Guernina. ‘But with anxiety, there are so many powerful emotions, it’s very hard to process them through just talking.’
The ideal treatment, she adds, ‘helps the client to face the fear, to become much more proactive and find solutions for themselves.’