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    Original Essays | July 14, 2015

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    When I was in grad school, a teacher told our workshop that if a published novel is 300 pages, the writer had to generate 1,200 along the way. I... Continue »
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3 Burnside Psychology- Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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All We Have to Fear: Psychiatry's Transformation of Natural Anxieties Into Mental Disorders


All We Have to Fear: Psychiatry's Transformation of Natural Anxieties Into Mental Disorders Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Thirty years ago, it was estimated that less than five percent of the population had an anxiety disorder. Today, some estimates are over fifty percent, a tenfold increase. Is this dramatic rise evidence of a real medical epidemic?

In All We Have to Fear, Allan Horwitz and Jerome Wakefield argue that psychiatry itself has largely generated this "epidemic" by inflating many natural fears into psychiatric disorders, leading to the over-diagnosis of anxiety disorders and the over-prescription of anxiety-reducing drugs. American psychiatry currently identifies disordered anxiety as irrational anxiety disproportionate to a real threat. Horwitz and Wakefield argue, to the contrary, that it can be a perfectly normal part of our nature to fear things that are not at all dangerous--from heights to negative judgments by others to scenes that remind us of past threats (as in some forms of PTSD). Indeed, this book argues strongly against the tendency to call any distressing condition a "mental disorder." To counter this trend, the authors provide an innovative and nuanced way to distinguish between anxiety conditions that are psychiatric disorders and likely require medical treatment and those that are not--the latter including anxieties that seem irrational but are the natural products of evolution. The authors show that many commonly diagnosed "irrational" fears--such as a fear of snakes, strangers, or social evaluation--have evolved over time in response to situations that posed serious risks to humans in the past, but are no longer dangerous today.

Drawing on a wide range of disciplines including psychiatry, evolutionary psychology, sociology, anthropology, and history, the book illuminates the nature of anxiety in America, making a major contribution to our understanding of mental health.

About the Author

Allan V. Horwitz is Board of Governors Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University. His books include The Social Control of Mental Illness and Creating Mental Illness. He is the recipient of the Pearlin Award for lifetime Achievement in the Sociology of Mental Health from the American Sociological Association.

Jerome C. Wakefield is University Professor, Professor of Social Work, and Professor of Psychiatry at New York University. He is the author, with Allan V. Horwitz, of The Loss of Sadness: How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Sorrow into Depressive Disorder--named Best Psychology Book of 2007 by the Association of American Publishers.

Table of Contents

Chapter One: The Puzzle of Anxiety Disorders

Chapter Two: An Evolutionary Approach to Normal and Pathological Anxiety

Chapter Three: Normal, Pathological, and Mismatched Anxiousness

Chapter Four: A Short History of Anxiety and Its Disorders

Chapter 5: The Validity of the DSM Diagnostic Criteria for Anxiety Disorders

Chapter Six: Fear and Anxiety in the Community

Chapter Seven: PTSD: The Persistence of Memory

Chapter Eight: The Transformation of Anxiety into Depression

Product Details

Horwitz, Allan V
Oxford University Press, USA
Jerome C. Wakefield, DSW, PhD
Horwitz, Allan V., Prof.
Wakefield, DSW, PhD, Jerome C.
Horwitz, PhD, Allan V.
Horwitz, Allan V.
Allan V. Horwitz, PhD
Horwitz, Allan V., PhD
Diseases - Nervous System (incl. Brain)
Medicine | Psychiatry & Psychology
Health and Medicine-Illnesses
Publication Date:
6.3 x 9.3 x 0.9 in 1.25 lb

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Brain
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Illnesses
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Specialties
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Mind and Consciousness
History and Social Science » Archaeology » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

All We Have to Fear: Psychiatry's Transformation of Natural Anxieties Into Mental Disorders Sale Hardcover
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