Angst: Anxiety, Depression and Ancient Social Instincts

Hardcover | November 6, 2012

byJeffrey P. Kahn

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Some twenty percent of us are afflicted with common anxiety and depressive disorders - not just brief bouts of nervousness or sorrow, but painful dysfunctions without obvious benefit. Why do so many people suffer from angst? In this path-breaking volume, engagingly written for the general public, psychiatrist Jeffrey Kahn reveals that angst ultimately results from our transformation, over tens of thousands of years, from biologically shaped, almost herd-like prehistoric tribes, to rational and independent individuals inmodern civilization. Kahn looks at five basic types of modern-day angst - Panic Anxiety, Social Anxiety, OCD, Atypical Depression, and Melancholic Depression - and shows how each derives from primeval social instincts that once helped our ancestors survive. For instance, the "panic disorder" whichprevents some people from flying may have originally evolved to keep our tribal ancestors from traveling dangerously far from home. Likewise, the increased emotional sensitivity to social rejection that now triggers episodes of "atypical depression" may have helped maintain polite behavior andsocial harmony in our ancestors. Our distinctly human civilization and rational consciousness lets us defy these social instincts. But those over-ridden instincts can resurface as stressful emotional disorders. Kahn notes that some of us painfully tackle this distress head-on, in ways that can advance intellectual creativity,social performance and productivity. He also describes the interplay of instinct with the advance of civilization, and on how evolutionary perspective explains why modern treatments work. Ranging from Darwin and Freud to the most cutting-edge medical and scientific findings - drawing from ancient writings, modern humor and popular lyrics, and with many amusing cartoons - Angst offers us an exciting new slant on some of the most pervasive mental health issues of our time.

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Some twenty percent of us are afflicted with common anxiety and depressive disorders - not just brief bouts of nervousness or sorrow, but painful dysfunctions without obvious benefit. Why do so many people suffer from angst? In this path-breaking volume, engagingly written for the general public, psychiatrist Jeffrey Kahn reveals that...

Jeffrey P. Kahn, MD, is Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Weill-Cornell Medical College, in New York City and Westchester County.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:November 6, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199796440

ISBN - 13:9780199796441

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Table of Contents

1. Anxiety and Depression are the Modern Echoes of Evolved Social InstinctsPart I: Six Social Instincts: Five Usual Suspects and One Missing Think2. Don't Stray Far From Family, Home or Safety: Panic Anxiety3. Follow the Leader of the Pack: Social Anxiety4. A Sure and Tidy Nest (Clean, Arrange, Save and Behave): Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder5. Go Along to Get Along: Atypical Depression6. Feeling So Useless You Could Die: Melancholic Depression7. Consciousness Lost and Instinct Run Amok: Schizophrenia and PsychosisPart II: Civilization: The Rise of Reason and the Ascent of Angst8. Happy in the Herd: Instinctive Herds and Primeval Ignorance9. Climbing To Civilization: The Rise of Reason and the Ascent of Angst10. Illness and Instinct: Consciousness Has Consequences11. Free to Choose: How to Balance Your Reason and InstinctAppendix of Diagnostic CriteriaAnnotated BibliographyCited References (Arranged by Chapters)Index