On edge A journey through anxiety

Andrea Petersen

Book - 2017

A wry, sympathetic, bracingly honest account of living with anxiety, coupled with deep reportage on the science of anxiety disorders. --

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Subjects
Genres
Autobiographies
Published
New York : Crown [2017]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
305 pages ; 25 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 261-290) and index.
ISBN
9780553418576
0553418572
9780553418590
0553418599
Main Author
Andrea Petersen (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Science journalist Petersen's revelatory chronicle might feel familiar to millions of people who suffer from anxiety disorder, frequently called panic attacks. Between 2008 and 2016, the number of college students alone diagnosed with or treated for anxiety disorders jumped between 10 and 17 percent. Petersen's personal history with the disorder began over 25 years ago while she was a student at the University of Michigan. An episode very nearly totally immobilized her, keeping her from attending classes and frightening her parents. At the time, they consulted one doctor after another, and she was variously misdiagnosed as suffering from such physical causes as multiple sclerosis and a brain tumor. Through dogged determination, Petersen was eventually correctly diagnosed, but her journey was far from over. There is no magic pill. By chronicling her own experiences with a variety of therapeutic interventions and coping mechanisms, she sheds light on the circuitous route those with anxiety disorder travel. With reported incidences of the disorder on the rise, particularly among millennials, Petersen's account is enlightening and informative. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Smothered breath and hard-beating heart: the 40 million Americans suffering from anxiety know them well. Wall Street Journal editor considers causes and her ways of coping. With a 100,000-copy first printing. Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Wall Street Journal reporter Petersen provides an honest memoir of her 15-plus years of struggle with an anxiety disorder. After dozens of visits with physicians, multiple ER trips, numerous EKGs, EEGs, CAT scans, and MRIs, along with the expenditure of thousands of dollars, Petersen's eventual diagnosis came while she was a college student. She presents a succinct summary of the history of the condition and early clinical efforts to understand, define, and treat it; the impact of the disorder during childhood; current research in possible genetic links; nonprescription therapies that hold promise; the latest medications available; how the disorder impacts careers and interpersonal relationships; and how to manage it successfully. Petersen's revelations about one failed pregnancy, followed by the natural ongoing fear about her subsequent daughter's development, solidify her understanding of this illness and its impacts on the lives of thousands. Her heartfelt memoir nicely blends her personal story with findings from extensive professional research cited in the in-depth notes, which provide an impressive primer for professionals wishing to dig deeper into clinical research on anxiety disorders. VERDICT This work is essential for all university collections supporting psychology curriculum and should be required reading for anyone working with those who have the disorder.—Dale Farris, Groves, TX Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

Wall Street Journal reporter Petersen has lived with anxiety for 25 years, and this thorough and lucid investigation combines her personal experiences, current research, and the general history and treatment of the disorder. Peterson was a college sophomore in 1989 when her anxiety "spiraled out of control," which led her to drop out of school for a time. Her parents insisted she return, which ultimately turned out to be the right thing; she later learned that exposure therapy can be an effective way of combating this "invisible" affliction, and avoidance can reinforce anxiety. In her research, Petersen tracks the role of genetics (her grandmother was a schizophrenic who once set fire to the house) but finds that the link to her "marked genes" is complex. According to Petersen, 40 million Americans (twice as many women as men) have chronic anxiety; she also reveals that anxiety diagnoses among children and young adults are increasing. Now married and a mother, Petersen reflects upon how anxiety disorder affected her relationships with friends, family, and former lovers, and how it can tarnish (or, surprisingly, enhance) career, travel, and other aspects of life. While concluding that there is "no one way" to deal with anxiety disorder, she describes the various medications that may be helpful as well as such habits as getting adequate sleep, meditating, and doing yoga. Readers with anxiety disorders will find useful info as well as validation in Petersen's intertwining of reportage and life story. (May) Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly Annex.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A compassionate account of living with anxiety, complemented by deep reportage on the science of anxiety disorders, traces the author's personal journey of trying to understand and manage her own case from neuroscientific, spiritual and genetic perspectives.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A compassionate account of living with anxiety, complemented by deep reportage on the science of anxiety disorders, traces the author's personal journey of trying to understand and manage her own case from neuroscientific, spiritual, and genetic perspectives.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A wry, sympathetic, bracingly honest account of living with anxiety, coupled with deep reportage on the science of anxiety disorders. --

Review by Publisher Summary 4

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 twenty, 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 non-drug 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 reading for anyone who knows what it means to live on edge.