Friday, January 8, 2016

Review: My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind by Scott Stossel

Title: My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind
Author: Scott Stossel
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Knopf
Publish Date: January 7, 2014
Source: Library

What's the Story?:

From "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 Two Cents:

"My Age of Anxiety" is part memoir, part exploration on what anxiety is and its history. Anxiety affects many people and is often hidden. I saw Scott Stossel speak at the 2014 Gaithersburg book Festival and he was speaking about his book my age of anxiety. His talk really hit home for me because I also deal with anxiety on a daily basis. It's not particularly fun but through this book it so that helped me understand what was going on a little bit more.

As I said, this book is part memoir and part history of anxiety disorders. Stossel is a great author for this book because he suffers from extreme anxiety to the point where he has to self medicate in order to be able to deal with things such as making speeches. He really puts himself out there so that readers can understand what it feels like to deal with anxiety and to try to treat it.

Stossel covers a lot of different angles of anxiety. He talks about how scientists have tried to figure out why it happens. He weighs all of his cards out on the table and I realize how difficult that must be for somebody who has major anxiety. This is an intimate look at what it means to suffer from this mental on this as well as take give some context around how scientists are beginning to look at this. Overall, this book would be a great pick for those that suffer from anxiety but also those that love someone who deals with anxiety!


1 comment:

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