On Edge: A Journey Through Anxiety

By Andrea Petersen
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.



    REVIEW QUOTES
"On Edge is a beautiful, often heartbreaking, often funny, always moving account of what it means to experience a degree of anxiety most of us cannot imagine. Andrea Petersen has crafted an engaging blend of memoir and science that will open your eyes--and heart--to a condition that is usually invisible, but deserves a broader spotlight. Truly a must-read for anyone who wants to understand mental illness and the effect it can have on our lives." --MARIA KONNIKOVA, author of Mastermind and The Confidence Game "On Edge is a remarkable achievement--poignant, funny, illuminating, and unflinchingly honest. Petersen combines the intimacy of a memoir with the groundbreaking science that is unraveling the mystery of anxiety: a fundamentally human experience, capable of making our lives miserable but essential for our very survival. A compelling and unforgettable read." --JORDAN SMOLLER, professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; author of The Other Side of Normal "In this fascinating book, science reporter Andrea Petersen deftly combines an honest, wry account of her own challenges with anxiety with a thorough examination of contemporary research. On Edge will illuminate the subject for anyone who has wrestled with anxiety." --GRETCHEN RUBIN, author of The Happiness Project and Better Than Before "This story of resilience in the face of enormous challenge powerfully illustrates Andrea Petersen's pathway to recovery from mental illness. Eminently readable and at times controversial, Andrea's story is a beacon in the darkness for those living with anxiety disorders in silence. Stories like hers, shared openly, can change lives by reducing the stigma and discrimination that still surrounds mental illness." --FORMER FIRST LADY ROSALYNN CARTER, co-founder, The Carter Center "Andrea Petersen raises the bar for anyone attempting to explain the complex science of the anxious brain, I was fascinated by the candid, painful, often humorous account of her own struggle and her quest for the best information about anxiety." --KAREN CASSIDAY, president of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America



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About the Hardcover

Publisher Crown Publishing Group (NY)
Publish date 05/16/2017
Pages 320
ISBN-13 9780553418576
ISBN-10 0553418572
Language English

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