A riveting, revelatory, and moving account of the author’s struggles with anxiety, and of the history of efforts by scientists, philosophers, and writers to understand the condition.
As recently as thirty-five years ago, anxiety did not exist as a diagnostic category. Today, it is the most common form of officially classified mental illness. Scott Stossel gracefully guides us across the terrain of an affliction that is pervasive yet too often misunderstood.
Drawing on his own long-standing battle with anxiety, Stossel presents an astonishing history, at once intimate and authoritative, of the efforts to understand the condition from medical, cultural, philosophical, and experiential perspectives. He ranges from the earliest medical reports of Galen and Hippocrates, through later observations by Robert Burton and Søren Kierkegaard, to the investigations by great nineteenth-century scientists, such as Charles Darwin, William James, and Sigmund Freud, as they began to explore its sources and causes, to the latest research by neuroscientists and geneticists. Stossel reports on famous individuals who struggled with anxiety, as well as on the afflicted generations of his own family.
His portrait of anxiety reveals not only the emotion’s myriad manifestations and the anguish anxiety produces but also the countless psychotherapies, medications, and other (often outlandish) treatments that have been developed to counteract it. Stossel vividly depicts anxiety’s human toll - its crippling impact, its devastating power to paralyze - while at the same time exploring how those who suffer from it find ways to manage and control it.My Age of Anxiety is learned and empathetic, humorous and inspirational, offering the listener great insight into the biological, cultural, and environmental factors that contribute to the affliction.
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A must read for anxiety suffers
I have been a moderately anxious, worry-filled pessimist for most of my life. For me, anxiety has come with its costs (missing out of many otherwise fun and exciting moments in my life, blocking people from seeing the REAL me) and its benefits (always prepared for any situation, overly attuned to social cues), etc. But I have always been skeptical of the reasons why I am this way. Is it chemical? Am I being fooled into a diagnosis by the drug companies? Is this within the realm of normalcy? In My Age of Anxiety, Scott Stossel delves into each of these questions and more.
The book is the most comprehensive and complete narrative of the history, the perceptions, reasons, the social stigmas, and the SCIENCE behind anxiety that I have ever read. And while I won't spoil the story for anyone, knowledge is power, and for me - knowing and recognizing the reasons behind anxiety was therapeutic.
The book is not a casual listen. But if you're interested in learning about anxiety, there will be no more user-friendly, layman's manual on the topic better than this. The narration is easy to listen to, the author is easy to follow, and as I found - he has ample experience with anxiety and its vast array of treatments. This book should be the recommendation of every diagnosing Physician dealing with anxious patients - it helped me out tremendously.
- Ryan ""The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why" Mark Twain"
Great book for medical/psychology students