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.


Recent Reviews

On Edge

Kelly Brown

4.5 Stars

As a perpetual worrier myself, I understand some of this author's struggle with anxiety.

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A first hand look and a scientific background of anxiety

Elizabeth Hallmark

5 Stars

People with anxiety often suffer in silence, and doctors often…

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Informational and Intriguing

Elise Burkhead

5 Stars

This hardcover book has a very eye catching cover. I picked it up because anxiety seems to be one of the leading…

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