My Age of Anxiety
Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind
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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 reader great insight into the biological, cultural, and environmental factors that contribute to the affliction.
This is an excellent book. The author expertly balances his own personal stories with historical, factual and some clinical information on anxiety. Its refreshing to read a book on anxiety written from someone who has chronic anxiety. Books written by experts or people who have treated anxiety are nice but with this book you know the author gets it, the struggle the discomfort and confusion that can come with n anxiety disorder. As someone who also has dealt with significant anxiety throughout most of my life I found this book both enlightening and comforting. It also helps you feel you're in good company as the author illustrates multiple significant historical figures who likely had an anxiety disorder. This is not an "Anxiety For Dummies" book, nor is it a medical textbook, but it is for the educated patient. Its for anyone that wants to feel less alone in dealing with anxiety AND has a curiosity about what really is anxiety, its causes, and functions. Again I found this to be a great read.
My Age of Anxiety
Worst book I've ever read. Way too much detail. All about the author's personal experience, and each chapter ends with a medical explanation researched from 200 years ago. It's like studying for med school. Book was a total bore and total waste of time and money.