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4.4 out of 5 stars
My Age of Anxiety
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
I have a very dear friend, my best friend actually, who has made claims forever about the debilitating anxiety that she endures every morning. A brilliant woman, an Ivy League grad school graduate, yet she almost can't get out of bed because it overwhelms her. I have, on occasion, had what I consider very high anxiety. But it doesn't get me often and it doesn't keep me the way that it seems to grab hold of my friend and the author of this book, Stossel.

I read this book with great interest. It was engaging and it helped me better understand (and believe) what happens to my girlfriend and others. I never truly believed it could be this bad, I mean how can she have managed to come so far if it was truly all of that? This book has shown me otherwise with the great many very successful people who have suffered from the same thing. I found that one of the more inspiring things about the book.

The book, in addition to enlightening me to the world of people like my friend and Stossel, also kept me amused. The humor so reminded me of the humor with which my friend explains her similar problems.

I really enjoyed this book. It was extremely well written and entertaining. I have passed it along to my previously mentioned friend. Although she won't find cures or answers, she might take some comfort in the good company.

This book is highly recommended for anyone suffering with anxiety or who loves someone who is.

**update** when I told my friend about giving her this book to read, she was extremely excited. She is seeing Scott Stossel at some speaking engagement next week in Hollywood. She had heard about this book and his story on NPR and immediately told me "He has the same crippling anxieties I do. My shrink told me to read his book!" So apparently this book is shrink and NPR recommended.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 10 February 2014
This book to me cover 2 areas. Firstly it is a personal account of the author's anxiety disorder, he has a major anxiety disorder and he pulls no punches in revealing the entire extent of the distress that this has caused in his life. The other part is a review of all the therapies which have been used to cure anxiety disorders up until the present day and because the author is a journalist he has used his investigative and writing skills to present a complete and detailed review on the status of current treatments. I suffered from an anxiety disorder, which started when I was 19 and largely finished when I was 47, and this caused a dark shadow over my life during that time. I have been confused ever since about what happened to me and I found this book a tremendous help firstly because as bad as I thought my condition was, it was less than Scott Stossel's condition and this helped me to put things into context. Secondly I found the review of treatments very useful. The author had 25 years of therapy and tried every drug available. In contrast I had no therapy and did not take any drugs and laboured on as best I could on my own. After reading the book I have reached the somewhat surprising conclusion that my way was about as effective as the Mr Stossel's way.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 4 February 2014
For those who have never suffered from anxiety (and according to research you may well be sociopaths) this will seem like a load of self-indulgent rambling but for the rest of us this is a fascinating book on the history of anxiety and up to date research and treatment. In between we hear the author's own struggles with anxiety - some of which are hilarious.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 2 February 2014
Scott Stossel, author of this book, since childhood suffered from anxiety disorder. He was afraid to be alone, worrying that something happens to his parents. Over the years, Stossel lived with his disorders and phobias, whose number exceeded 20. The book opens with a scene of Stossel’s wedding, when he almost loses consciousness because of anxiety attacks and with great difficulty completes the whole wedding ceremony.

The author immediately warns us that he is not a doctor, not a specialist in mental disorders, not a psychologist. This book is not a medical investigation, it is half memoir, half journalistic investigation. Stossel is a journalist and editor, who took leave during the writing of the book. And we can say that it is a miracle it was finished, so many times the author suffered from panic attacks. He was afraid to miss a deadline, afraid that because of the leave he can be fired from his job, and during the writing ofthis book his family have been through many unpleasant moments. Nevertheless, My Age of Anxiety was completed, published, and it turned out quite successful.

The book turned out brave, though Stossel does not consider himself brave. He goes through his phobias, his dependence on drugs, his family tree. Anxiety disorder and other phobias run and determined life of the author. He was forced to adapt to his anxiety, has to carry a pack of pills, and in case of some important events to pump himself with medicines, often also drinking alcohol, to somehow control his fear.

Stossel elaborates on the development of drugs against psychological disorders, their implementation, and a change in general studies of their effects. Medicine against panic and anxiety existed early in the last century, but were used for general purpose. Gradually, with the determination of specific disorders in groups, with a clear differentiation, pills become more narrow-effected. The consumer environment also changed. At the beginning of the last century antidepressants were used only by rich people, actors, workers of stressful occupations. But later the pills become more affordable, and people everywhere grow an addiction of antidepressants. One antidepressant was replaced by another, then they were many and different, depending on the disorder.

Stossel, almost all his life taking pills, writes that pills help him personally. Yes, they are addictive, most likely cause damage to the brain, to cause side effects, but they smooth panic attacks. Antidepressants do not cure the disorder, but they allow to control it.

Stossel writes accessibly about not easiest material. He supports his own experience with research, and, starting from his own experiences, finds approach to the problem as a whole. The author doesn’t overcomplicate: not goes into the dense wilderness, full of terms and statistics. We throughout the book do not forget that this is not just an attempt to make sense of fear and anxiety in our time, but also a memoir.

The theme is covered on all sides, from the terminology to treatment. Author’s origin narrows the problem mainly to the United States, but this should not prevent plunging in this interesting book, doesn’t matter where you live.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 March 2014
A long book that covered every aspect of fear, anxiety, phobias and all else. The author was very honest about his own ongoing situation and he describes his own fears and phobias in great detail, including all the embarrassing incidents. (I do admire him for allowing himself to be exposed in this way.) The book made me search my own life. I came to realize that my own problems are almost insignificant compared to his. This is the best book I have read in a long time and was a great help to me. Well worth buying.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 February 2014
With a solid account of the history of the thinking and the treatment of anxiety disorder this is a fascinating account of the personal experience of anxiety. I hope it will promote understanding of a condition that can so difficult to appreciate and makes some people's lives so challenging
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 February 2014
Thorough and interesting insight into the complexities and history of anxiety disorders with the personal experiences and difficulties described making it all the more emotive.
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on 1 November 2014
This well presented, readable, book draws on both the authors’ long-standing battle with anxiety, as well as his effort to understand the condition from a medical, cultural, philosophical and experiential perspectives; the result is both authoritative and intimate. He depicts both its crippling impact, as well as exploring how those who suffer from it (all of us to a greater or lesser degree?) find ways to manage and control it. Although this is not explicitly a book about leadership, it is a book that ought to be read by those with aspirations in that direction. But, while values are implicit to the issues being considered, it might have been useful to have seen the subject discussed in more detail, explicitly. (Neither of the critical words, in my view, meaning and value merited mention in the extensive index?)
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on 28 June 2015
A history of the efforts to understand anxiety and the biological, cultural and environmental factors that cause it, together with an account of the author’s firsthand experience of anxiety and its often mutually contradictory treatments. There’s a lot of interesting material here, and the autobiographical passages are honest and moving. On the other hand, the research material is presented in over-meticulous, repetitious detail, interrupted by copious footnotes, suggesting the author was anxious about leaving anything out. I speed-read some of this, and by the end the lack of a clear thesis or narrative shape left me feeling so what?
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on 13 April 2015
For anyone who has either suffered from the debilitating effect of chronic anxiety, or who knows someone who does this book is possibly the best resource you could access. It is superbly written, informative and at times, when discussing Scott's own experiences, laugh out loud funny. It brought me a level of comfort at a time when I most needed it...I'd like to thank Scott Stossel for the time spent researching this condition; while he freely admits that this has been done in an attempt to understand and move towards a treatment for his own tortuous condition, it provides a form of therapy for us all.
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