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Angst: Origins of Anxiety and Depression Hardcover – October 23, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0199796441 ISBN-10: 0199796440 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (October 23, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199796440
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199796441
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #824,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"Why does mental illness persist when it would seem to be counterproductive in an evolutionary sense? Kahn argues that certain traits that promote group fitness can, in a modern context and if exaggerated, manifest as serious mental illness . . . A lively presentation." --Library Journal

"An amazingly insightful and timely book, Angst will make you think and rethink the way our brains deal with anxiety and tragedy." -- Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD is a cancer physician and researcher at Columbia University. His book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in general non-fiction.

"Most of the theorists who study mental illness through the lens of evolution have never seen a patient themselves. This is what makes Dr. Kahn's approach unique. Dr. Kahn refracts theory through his rich experience as a clinician and the result is a thesis on evolutionary psychiatry that is both conceptually rich and pragmatically valuable." -- Sally Satel, MD, Yale University psychiatry faculty, popular author One Nation Under Therapy; PC, MD and regular Op-Ed contributor to The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

"This remarkable book presents a revolutionary and counter-intuitive theory of anxiety and depression. This theory reflects the author's careful clinical observations over decades of outstanding individual psychiatric care, and from his vital work in dealing with 'the wounded workplace.' This landmark book is a must read for everyone interested in mental health, evolution - or in humankind." -- Richard K. Harding, MD, Past-President, American Psychiatric Association, Professor of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Science at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine.

"Kahn is a highly experienced clinician and researcher, and he offers some of the soundest, most up-to-date advice available about the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness." -- Peter D. Kramer, MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University and author of Listening to Prozac and Against Depression.

"Jeffrey Kahn offers a novel and comprehensive evolutionary theory on the adaptive value of anxiety and depressive disorders. His insight into the social instincts in animal herds is compelling and is nicely integrated with psychiatric research and clinical observations. This is an outstanding book for the inquisitive reader, and a milestone in translating evolutionary theory into a new understanding of common psychiatric illnesses." -- Eric Hollander, MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, author of Textbook of Autism Spectrum Disorders, Textbook of Anxiety Disorders, and Coping with Social Anxiety Disorder, and International Expert on Psychiatric Diagnosis and Neuropsychopharmacology

"I was intrigued by the evolutionary psychiatric explanation... make sense when you think about them from that perspective - emotional disorders arising from the conflict between societal instincts and our consciousness. It definitely got me to think about these problems in a different way, which will be useful to both me and my patients... well written with humor and insight... 4 Stars!" - Doody's Book Review Service

About the Author


Jeffrey P. Kahn, M.D.'s evolutionary theory of Anxiety and Depression draws on his academic work on anxiety disorders, workplace mental health, and precision diagnosis, and most especially upon observations from clinical practice. A graduate of Swarthmore College and Columbia University Medical School, he is now Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Weill-Cornell Medical College, and works in Manhattan and Westchester County.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Great information in a easy read format.
Destiny Champion
"Angst" is the rare book that manages to straddle the line between serious scholarship and a wide readership.
Jeremy
Kahn has done a remarkable job, making his theory on mental illness and evolution accessible to the masses.
Andy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By sanlore on December 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very enjoyable reading. A must for mental health specialists as well as (educated) general readers interested in mental health. He draws from such fields as Biology,Evolutionary Science, Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology and Psychiatry to paint a grand canvas depicting what affects most of us.
By concentrating in five psychiatric syndromes, he tries to simplify the bewildering nomenclature of the DSM IV, whit its often overlapping and confusing descriptions of mental illnesses. Well written and often humorous. His main thesis will be discussed for a long time.
Lorenzo Margini MD (Psychiatrist)
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Peter F. Rousmaniere on January 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover
"Ophelia: Lord, we know what we are, but know not what we may be." I read "Angst" both as a general reader and as a consultant in the field of work disabilities. I found Kahn's book to be unique and stimulating, particularly in helping me to understand human behavior in response to stressful events. It had never occurred to me that behavior after stressful events could be influenced by instincts, and that these instinctive influences are so pervasive among humans that we implicitly accept them as life conditions - even while mental health professionals may wish to label them with diagnoses and treat them. ("Angst" shifts rather too frequently for me between a general readership exposition and tactical advice to clinical psychiatrists, but for the psychiatric community this formula might work well.)

The title of the book is intriguing, As I understand Kahn, the struggle of consciousness, one of Kahn's six instincts, to guide us to counter-instinctive behavior gives rise to angst. The implication is that angst is more among us now than 500 or 5000 years ago. Part of angst, I infer, is a very troubling sense that we do not know ourselves - that our consciousness is engaged in a dark battle with our instincts. Consider Ophelia. Her rejection by Hamlet deprives her of a means of her expressing adult love for another. Her father's death voids her role as a caring daughter. Melancholic depression, Kahn's instinct that leads us to separate ourselves from the world, overcomes her. And she is conscious of how this fatal drive has utterly transformed her.

I give this book less than maximum stars because of the awkwardness of the exposition as the author shifts between audiences - general vs psychiatric.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jess Faraday on September 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I've been counting the days until this book was available. Dr. Kahn's approach to mental health is a refreshing and insightful. The thesis and case studies in the book shed a new light on our own interpersonal interactions and those in the animal kingdom all around us. I can't help but notice the principles he discusses coming to life in the everyday exchanges all around me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By eg on November 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fascinating approach to understanding the evolutionary origins of our mental health issues. Humor and cute illustrations make this serious topic easier to read, understand, and remember. A great gift for all my angsty friends and relatives!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Andy on September 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I was one of the few who were privileged enough to get an advanced read. Kahn has done a remarkable job, making his theory on mental illness and evolution accessible to the masses. A must read for anyone interested in sociology, evolution, or psychology. Highly recommended!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jacob Elder on June 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was really excited to read this book because it seemed like it had the potential to be something amazing. As someone who has suffered from anxiety I was looking forward to a book that would help explain in a coherent manner the evolutionary history of anxiety. Also from looking at the glowing reviews on Amazon and on the back cover one comes away with the impression that the book is going to be well written and full of useful incites. The first several chapters where moderately well written but soon it becomes apparent that Dr. Kahn has no idea how to structure or even write in a coherant and strong manner. It as if Dr. Kahn stops trying and the rest of the book is very poorly organized and almost unreadable. He divides chapters up into little chunks that barely relate to each other and he goes off on random tangents that don't add anything and distract from his message. Most shocking of all, he doesn't talk at all about how evolutionary psychology could be used to better treat anxiety disorders. All his chapters basically end by saying that we should put everyone on SSRIs, a hypothesis that lacks originality and looks like it was copied strait out of drug company literature. In the end after reading all the positive reviews, I was so disappointed that I couldn't even finish the book. I did gain some knowledge and insights that I thought was interesting but compared to what the book could have been it was a thoroughly disappointing read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Oded Regev on February 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A fresh look at evolutionary psychiatry, attributing most of today's syndromes to primordial herd social instincts. I enjoyed most the second part and was bored a bit
by the "patient cases".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By linda on December 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Good book on all different types of Angst. A big help for those struggling with anxieties. Would recommend this book.
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