A celebrated science and health reporter offers a wry, bracingly honest account of living with anxiety.
A racing heart. Difficulty breathing. Overwhelming dread. Andrea Petersen was first diagnosed with an anxiety disorder at the age of 20, but she later realized that she had been experiencing panic attacks since childhood. With time her symptoms multiplied. She agonized over every odd physical sensation. She developed fears of driving on highways, going to movie theaters, even licking envelopes. Although having a name for her condition was an enormous relief, it was only the beginning of a journey to understand and master it - one that took her from psychiatrists' offices to yoga retreats to the Appalachian Trail.
Woven into Petersen's personal story is a fascinating look at the biology of anxiety and the groundbreaking research that might point the way to new treatments. She compares psychoactive drugs to nondrug treatments, including biofeedback and exposure therapy. And she explores the role that genetics and the environment play in mental illness, visiting top neuroscientists and tracing her family history - from her grandmother, who, plagued by paranoia, once tried to burn down her own house, to her young daughter, in whom Petersen sees shades of herself.
Brave and empowering, this is essential listening for anyone who knows what it means to live on edge.
"In On Edge, Andrea Petersen paints a vivid picture of how anxiety has affected her work, romantic relationships, and experience as a parent. We see not only the ways in which her anxiety has held her back, but also how it has led her to live a richer, more authentic life. This brave, hopeful, sensitive account, grounded in the latest neuroscience, will be both enlightening and comforting to the millions who struggle with anxiety." (Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking )
"With a clever mix of science and story, Petersen reveals her search for the roots of her life-long struggle with anxiety. On Edge is both moving and informative, and recommended for those who suffer for similar reasons, as well as those who are simply curious about the workings of the mind." (Joseph LeDoux, university professor and professor of neural science at New York University; author of Anxious)
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Not for a english man!!
- Stephen Ball