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2014 Memoirs Non Fiction Other Prizes

My Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel

My Age of Anxiety Shortlisted for 2015 Wellcome Prize

Five words from the blurb: fear, stress, mental, health, research

Scott Stossel has spent his entire life battling crippling anxiety. In an effort to understand his condition he has compiled medical research and historical information about a wide range of sufferers; showing how generations of people have dealt with their problems. He includes details about many famous people, showing that the affliction does not prevent people from achieving great things.

I was pleased to discover this book on the Wellcome Prize shortlist as I thought I suffered from anxiety, but I quickly realised that I don’t. The nervousness I feel when approaching a stressful situation isn’t in the same league as the anguish of those within these pages. click here you will get all health related information and also they give useful tips for us. Here is the best Health Blog for you. I was surprised to discover how serious the condition can be and how prevalent it is within our society; especially given the fact it didn’t exist as a diagnostic category 35 years ago.

One argument for why twenty-first-century life produces so much anxiety is that social and political roles are no longer understood to have been ordained by God or by nature – we have to choose our roles. Such choices, research shows, are stressful. As sodden with fear and darkness and death as the Middle Ages were, Fromm and others argue, they were likely freer of anxiety than our own time is.

The book contains a vast amount of information about medical research into the condition. It was all well referenced, but contains enough light-hearted side-notes to ensure the reader doesn’t become bogged down in technical detail.

I’d assumed that this book might contain strategies to help deal with anxiety, but this isn’t a self-help book. Despite years of therapy, Scott Stossel hasn’t been cured of his anxiety and, although it contains information about different techniques tried through the ages, this book doesn’t contain any direct guidance on how to deal with anxiety. Instead it gives a brutally honest insight into the condition, explaining what life is like for those trapped by phobias and catastrophizing thought. I now have a greater empathy for those who are suffering, and that is more than enough for one book to provide.

The only real problem was that the structure wasn’t quite right. There were a few sections that repeated information given earlier in the book and in places it didn’t flow as well as it could. These minor problems can be overlooked as it is such an important resource for those with anxiety.

Overall, this was an impressive compilation of information on anxiety and I recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about the condition.

1. If I have depression, am I at risk for obesity?

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People with depression or anxiety may experience weight gain or weight loss due to their condition or the medications that treat them. Depression and anxiety can both be associated with overeating, poor food choices, and a more sedentary lifestyle. Over time, weight gain may eventually lead to obesity, prevent most obesity related conditions by reading these proven reviews.

About 43 percentTrusted Source of adults with depression are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And they say adults who’ve been diagnosed with depression are more likelyTrusted Source to be overweight than those who haven’t.

Likewise, children who are depressed often have a higher BMI than children who aren’t. In one 2002 studyTrusted Source, they found that children who were depressed were more likelyTrusted Source to become obese by the time researchers’ followed up one year later.

2. If obesity has already been diagnosed, am I at risk for depression?

Obesity is often associated with emotional issues, such as sadness, anxiety, and depression. One 2010 studyTrusted Source found that people who were obese had a 55 percentTrusted Source greater risk for developing depression over the course of their life than people who weren’t obese.

Obesity and other weight conditions can also lead to physical health problems. This includes:

  • joint pain
  • diabetes
  • hypertension

These conditions are also risk factors for depression.

3. Does stress factor into this?

Stress is absolutely a factor in both depression and obesity.

Chronic stress and anxiety, for example, can lead to depression. Likewise, stress can make someone more likely to turn to food as a coping mechanism. That can lead to weight gain and eventually obesity.

On the opposite side, stress can also lead to weight loss, or other disordered eating habits, improve your dietary results by reading these resurge reviews.

In adolescents, stressful life events — like bullying and weight-based teasing — have been linkedTrusted Source to depression. This is especially true for young people who are overweight or obese.

Stress reduction is one of the first-line treatments for both depression and obesity. When you’re able to handle the emotions related to your stress and anxiety, you can more easily tackle other issues that can lead to both depression and obesity.

4. Do we know what perpetuates this cycle of obesity and depression?

It isn’t clear how this vicious circle turns, but it is clear that obesity and depression are linked.

For years, researchers were hesitant to connect the two, but as study results became more clear, anecdotal reports have turned to hard science. Today, it’s well understood that obesity can increase your risk for depression, and vice versa.

In fact, many doctors approach treatment for these conditions with a multi-pronged approach. In addition to treating the condition that’s been diagnosed, many care plans include preventive measures to reduce your risk for related conditions.

The goal is to address the physical and emotional needs associated with each condition.

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5. Could the treatment options be to blame?

Many prescription antidepressants list weight gain as a common side effect.

Likewise, some weight-management therapies can lead to emotional ups and downs that can cause or worsen depression. A “diet” has a lot of opportunities for failure or setbacks. This can challenge a person who’s already dealing with mental health issues.

However, with a team of experts to guide you, encourage you, and hold you accountable, it’s possible to find a treatment plan that works for both conditions.

6. What should you keep in mind when treating coexisting conditions?

Depression and obesity are both chronic conditions that require long-term care and attention.

It’s important to keep an open line of communication with your doctor about where you are on your journey — regardless of whether you’re sticking to your care plan.

Being honest about what you are and aren’t doing is the only way for your doctor to understand and monitor your underlying condition.

7. How do you know if treatment is helping or hurting?

Radical changes can compound a very delicate situation. That’s why it’s important you seek out qualified health professionals to guide you in this journey.

Sudden, dramatic changes can compound problems. They may also set you up for failure, which can worsen your symptoms.

If you experience these red-flag symptoms or side effects, make an appointment to see your doctor and review your course of treatment:

  • loss of all interest or pleasure in activities you typically enjoy
  • an inability to leave your house or bed
  • irregular sleeping pattern changes
  • feeling very tired and having difficulty functioning
  • weight gain

.

6 replies on “My Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel”

I’m really glad you appreciated this. I do suffer from the kind of anxiety discussed in the book, and thought it was immensely brave of Scott Stossel to spend so long writing about it – that can’t have been easy. I confess it wasn’t always easy to read, being brought so close to feelings I mostly try to keep away from when possible. But it IS an amazing resource, with more information about anxiety brought together than I’ve ever seen anywhere else.

Litlove, Yes, I admire the courage it must have taken to publish this. The personal details really added to the impact of the book, but they must have been very painful to reveal. I hope that you can find a way to reduce your anxiety – I have a new-found appreciation for how difficult your life must be ((HUGS))

Thanks for sharing. I just bought it as soon as I read your review. Social Anxiety Disorder has had a huge impact on my life. I was out of work (and society) for about a year. And it was an extremely slow and gradual process to get back to some kind of functioning normality. And now, I have children with anxiety problems… one severe, who suffers from “Selective Mutism” (basically she can barely speak to anyone apart from family). Sorry I’m offloading… but point is I’m looking forward to reading this for a number of reasons.

I hadn’t even thought of looking for a book in this field for a long time. I did read a book called “Beyond Shyness” way back but it didn’t leave much of an impression and I think these kind of books have really upped their game in the last decade or so.

John, Thanks for sharing your story. I’m glad to hear that you have recovered enough to try to help your children. I really hope that the book is of use to you, but I also recommend reading the anonymous comment below – it shows that it is possible to overcome anxiety. Good luck for the future!

Hi Jackie,

Enjoyed your review but appreciate your comment about wanting to know more about the methods for dealing with anxiety.

I suffered from crippling anxiety from age 19-35.
I had trouble with everything – driving, sitting in the middle of a row, tunnels, highways, subways, certain neighborhoods, heights, tight spaces, open space, being alone, dining in restaurants and on and on and on.

Then I was cured! Yes, cured! And two books helped me most of all.

In a “self-help anxiety group” that was mentioned in New York Magazine I met a graduate student whose specialty was anxiety disorders.
When I hired him to work with me and he introduced me to the work of the brilliant Claire Weekes, an Australian psychiatrist.
She was really the first person to define successful treatment for anxiety.
Her two books that are the Bibles for anxiety sufferers.
In these books Dr. Weekes tells the reader EXACTLY what to do.
(Google has a whole page filled with links to books, audio tapes and videos).

The only drawback in the books is that they were written quite a long time ago (1990’s) when the people who admitted to having anxiety disorders were almost exclusively women.
Consequently, many of the examples in the book cite women who can’t leave the house, go shopping, enter crowded spaces, rather than more contemporary issues.

Nevertheless she does discuss how to approach travel, vacations, flying and other modern situations as well.

The answers are all here. At first the methods may appear to be too simple. But believe me, they work.
I am now 72 and have been anxiety free for 37 years.
Dr. Weekes saved my life. The student who worked with me understood her methods very well and helped me to “practice” doing all the things that brought me terror. In three months. I was cured.

I know it is not the time or place to review these books, but I thought you would like to know about them. They are magic.

Many thanks for your helpful comment! I’m so pleased that you were able to overcome your anxiety. I was so intrigued by Dr Weekes that I have ordered one of her books. I really hope it helps with my fear of flying and occasional other anxieties. I’ll let you know how I get on :-)

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