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Views And Reviews No Holds Barred

Margaret McCartney: We should stop fuelling anxiety

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (Published 04 June 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k2399

Re: Margaret McCartney: We should stop fuelling anxiety

Anxiety disorders are common and disabling but assuming that their symptoms are merely an expression of rational fearfulness such as concern about missing a significant diagnosis presumes cognitive dysfunction.

When Anxiety symptoms are treated as dysautonomia, resolution of anxiety symptoms, including the cognitive symptoms can be achieved rapidly and effectively.

Research studies don’t fuel flight anxiety, dentist anxiety or agoraphobia: Instead of arrogantly panicking that we doctors are the causes of anxiety, patients would be better served if we dropped our preconceptions and offered effective interventions for the problems that patients actually present with.

For example BabyGaze (1,2) is effective and inexpensive but colleagues appear to prefer expensive drugs and psychological interventions with large data sets over an intervention based on second year anatomy combined with fMRI evidenced.

1. BabyGaze: A Rapid Neurobiological intervention for Anxiety, Panic and Anger. Ashworth A.J., Dutton, PV Int J Psychiatry 2017 2:2


Competing interests: No competing interests

09 June 2018
Andrew J Ashworth
Bonhard House, Bo’ness EH51 9RR