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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2014 Scott Stossel (P)2014 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Great book for medical/psychology students

Very theoretical and historical. I had almost given up several times. I have anxiety, but if anything the book gave me ideas for more phobias. I did enjoy the first chapters as they were more personal. I think that the book is perhaps better for those who want to understand the issue rather than those who suffer from it.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Ryan
  • Logan, Utah
  • 03-04-14

A must read for anxiety suffers

Any additional comments?

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.<br/>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. <br/>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.

18 of 25 people found this review helpful

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Dry. Like a text book.

What would have made My Age of Anxiety better?

I thought this would be a personal story based on the description but the personal part was barely a chapter. Then it was like sitting through the most boring college lectures you could imagine. I couldn't keep listening.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Handbook of Anxiety

Scott compounded a consistent overview of anxiety reasons and cure pathways. I was amazed how complex this condition is. Especially agree on political and cultural predispositions. Thank you Scott for your brave heart!

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Good book about Anxiety

Very educating. good personal stories about the author. Easy to listen to. some great points about anxiety and variuos treatments

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Best book I have ever read to date, Period.

the author touched on all subjects that greatly interest me, with me.myself suffering from anxiety. I would duely reccomend this book to anyone, especially rhose suffering from anxiety or those that can't comprehend it.

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  • Daryl
  • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • 08-21-14

Complex, informative, personal

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Definitely. I have a relative who struggles with depression and anxiety, and this book gives me much more empathy and understanding for people living with these afflictions.<br/><br/>make no mistake, this book is not just a clinical treatise; it is very personal in its depiction of finding relief from debilitating anxiety of flying, vomiting, and performance.

What does Michael Goldstrom bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I enjoyed this narration immensely. It neither added unnecessary "pep" nor lulled me to sleep. It was just a good straight-up reading of this book.

Any additional comments?

Well worth your time and credit!

5 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Somewhat anxiety provoking itself.

Would you listen to My Age of Anxiety again? Why?

When I get a little further from my "age". However this book describes panic, anxiety, and the multitude of issues, still unresolved, with treating and understanding it, better than anything I have ever read/listened too. Gave story 4 stars only because I couldn't finish...left me feeling a bit hopeless while at a low point for myself...will revisit when in better place...

Any additional comments?

Could be a good tool for those who have a loved one suffering from this, but who don't experience it themselves. In general if a child, grown or not, suffers from anxiety/panic there is one parent if you are lucky(?) that can relate. Going through this, it is nearly impossible to explain to someone who has never neen there.

3 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Sheri
  • Foresthill, CA, United States
  • 03-13-14

Excellent

Any additional comments?

This book was well researched and very personal. A big thank you to Scott Stossel for endeavoring to take on this project and finding the courage to be so honest about his own struggles. It was very helpful to me to view my own anxiety in context and find hope.

3 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Excellent memoir and scientific/medical overview

Any additional comments?

Outstanding. Does for anxiety what Andrew Solomon's The Noonday Demon did for depression. Namely, it combines intensely and excruciatingly personal accounts of living with and trying to treat anxiety with an explanation of the medical and scientific view of anxiety over time. A moving and educational combination of memoir and medical/neurological/scientific overview. It helps that the author is a professional writer and, with those tools firmly developed, has the wherewithal to ably describe what anxiety is like for him and for others. I doubt one can walk away from this book without feeling deep empathy for anxiety sufferers and, if you are lucky enough to be mostly free of that curse, grateful that you don't have to navigate life with constant feelings of existential dread. Though the entire book is excellent, one of the later chapters is especially interesting in light of the growing prevalence of anxiety in modern society. That discussion alone is worth the price of admission. Highly recommended.

2 of 8 people found this review helpful