Calm down. Research on Tap was a blast.

Did you miss Dr. Ian Dowbiggin’s Research about the history of anxiety disorder? Don’t fret – join us for next month’s discussion.

Dr. Dowbiggin, Professor of History at UPEI and author of several books on the history of medicine, led a lively discussion on “Why are we so anxious these days? Living in an illness-breeding and illness-affirming culture.”

“First, I think we should acknowledge that anxiety is very real,” explained Dr. Dowbiggin to the crowd of about 65 people. “But it’s interesting to note that it wasn’t diagnosed as a distinct disorder until just 30 years ago. Today, it affects three-million Canadians. The World Health Organization calls it a global epidemic of anxiety.”

Dr. Dowbiggin explained what he sees as some of the reasons for the explosion of anxiety. He says we live in a world that is inherently stressful. The media has contributed to our fear of the economy, of terrorists, and of the threat of losing our jobs. He calls it an illness-breeding culture.

“And we also celebrate that stress,” he said. “It’s seen as a badge of honour.”

He also pointed to the rise of the pharmaceutical industry egging this phenomenon along.

The discussion was lively and the crowd diverse. Some who couldn’t make it followed along by way of Twitter.

Next month’s Research on Tap is 7 p.m., November 2, at Mavor’s in the Confederation Centre for the Arts. Dr. Malcolm Murray, Professor of Philosophy and author of The Atheist’s Primer will lead a discussion titled “Atheism: It’s not so bad, really.”

Read more about his research in this ORD Blog post.

Photo comes from the Twitter stream of Dr. Dowbiggin’s Research on Tap.