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Worry Paperback – September 14, 1998

4.3 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

As far as we know, plants and animals don't do it. Worry is a human "skill." And it comes in different forms. Some kinds indicate diagnosable conditions, such as depression, or Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Others, such as shyness, are built in from birth, and some seem plain old existential--stemming from broken trust or loss of faith. But worry is uniquely human. "To create worry," Dr. Hallowell writes, "humans elongate fear with anticipation and memory, expand it in imagination and fuel it with emotion. The uniquely human mental process called worrying depends upon having a brain that can reason, remember, reflect, feel, and imagine. Only humans have a brain big enough to do this simultaneously and do it well."

Illustrating his theories with the personal stories of and dialogues with clients, Hallowell provides a full picture of the ordinary yet chronic worry-problems. Thus, each presenting problem is dramatically rendered, and the ensuing therapies practically understood. Hallowell emphasizes the physical, not the psychological aspect of worrying, which helps stop the cycle of self-blame many worriers are prone to. When worry is no longer identified as a lack of moral courage, for example, but a natural phenomenon, it can begin to be managed.

The steps set forth in Worry: Controlling and Using It Wisely are practical and straightforward. First comes awareness, which, over time, sets the stage for new patternmaking in the brain. An entire chapter is devoted to methods of running interventions on worry without medication. Worry offers an articulate and powerful reframe of a debilitating condition that's as old as the human brain. By releasing the deeply entrenched habit of negativity, a worrier can step out of the cycle, and freed from phobia, move ahead. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Don't worry: a best-selling psychologist (Driven to Distraction, LJ 3/15/94) is here to explain the difference between worry rooted in in-born predispositions and worry that signals other, deeper problems.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (September 14, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345424581
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345424587
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am a child and adult psychiatrist with private practices in Sudbury, Mass as well as on the upper west side in New York City. Both practices operate under the name The Hallowell Center, where we offer diagnosis and a range of treatments for ADHD and learning problems in children and adults. I also am a writer and a speaker. I am married to Sue Hallowell, a social worker and a therapist. We have been married for 24 years and have 3 children, Lucy, now 23, Jack, 20, and Tucker, 17 (as of April, 2013).
The major theme that runs through all my work is the magical power of the human connection, and the power of positive connections of all kinds. I also specialize in learning differences and have written books about how to deal best with attention deficit disorder, a condition that I regard as a potential gift, if it handled correctly. Having both ADHD and dyslexia myself, I am particularly qualified to help people with these conditions bring out their best
I welcome hearing from readers. Just send me an email to drhallowell@gmail.com or visit my website at drhallowell.com

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I picked up Dr. Hallowell's book about three years ago. I was in a horrible job with a demanding and verbally abusive boss and thought I had died and gone to Hell. On more than one occasion I seriously considered driving my car into a tree just to avoid having to go to work another miserable day. I was in counseling with a psychologist at the time who, though quite a funny guy, was of no help to me. I worried about a lot of things. I worried about everything: how to survive in a rotten job; how to regain joy in my life with my wife and newborn son; how to stop self-destructive behaviors; how to get back my lost sense of humor. I was, needless to say, desperate! Then, while browsing through the "Self-help Section" of the bookstore, I was grabbed by the title of Dr. Hallowell's book: "Worry". I bought the book and read case studies all about myself. People who suffered exactly like I did. I learned that I wasn't a failure. I wasn't crazy. I wasn't destined to live out the rest of my life as a miserably unhappy man. I talked about the book with my wife and told her I thought I was depressed and really needed help. I went to a psychiatrist who said I was suffering from Major Depression. He prescribed medication and long term therapy. The change in me was dramatic. I felt better, mentally and physically, enjoyed my family, regained my sense of humor, and, best of all, I quit my job. Of course I found another job and I'm still in therapy. I'm no longer depressed. This book literally saved my life.
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Format: Paperback
I was very happy that I bought this book. As a person who suffers from worry/anxiety (learned from the best of them....my mother) I turned to this book to help me understand the reasons behind worry and what can be done to help the person suffering from it. Dr. Hallowell does an incredible job discussing the different forms of worry (including the differences between good and bad worry), the possibility of genetic reasons, how worry fits in with other mental illness (depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder), etc. He then talks about the different ways that worry can be dealt with. I was pleasantly surprised to see that he is not an advocate of just giving medication. He discusses a well-rounded approach of therapy, medication (if necessary), and things a person can do on their own. He discusses the various types of medication and how they work with different types of mental illness. The last part of the book talks about various things a person can do to help themselves deal with worry.
Overall I think this is a wonderful book. It is definitely a great starting point for those who know they have a problem but are unsure of how to start dealing with it.
I completely disagree with the reviewer who said this book would not be good for learning how to deal with worry. Its as if they were reading a completely different book than I did.
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Format: Paperback
I disagree with the reader from Minneapolis who feels that this book won't help you worry less -- you just have to read past the case studies that dominate the first two sections. The third section of the book (chapters 19-26) contains a good deal of practical advice that goes beyond Prozac, exercise, and low alcohol consumption. I would recommend this book as a good starting point for those who know they worry too much, but aren't sure if they worry enough to see a physician or psychologist.
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Format: Paperback
If you are looking for a book on worry that goes beyond the usual platitudes or advice found in "stress management" books, this is a great choice. Instead of just repeating the basics such as exercise, meditation, or others, Dr. Hallowell brings the background of a clinical expert to the discussion. He shows exactly how exercise, meditation and other ideas can help, and when they might not.

Dr. Hallowell explains that worry is natural and necessary, but because it ties into the potent human imagination, it can become hard to control in some people, and for various reasons. The author delivers his world class expertise in short chapters that are easy to read, though there is pretty deep information for the interested layperson.

Some examples of the insights I appreciated in the book include: not thinking of excessive worry as a moral failure, but rather a condition to be treated; recognizing the relationship between procrastination and worry, realizing there are basically two kinds of worry - adaptive, which is healthy and maladaptive, which manufactures imaginary dangers. A good quote on the importance of healthy worry: "Refusal to worry constitutes denial". Many modern professions reward healthy levels of worry (scenario recognition and planning), but this can get away from an individual when it becomes a personality trait (and some are born to it). Perfectionists are setup up for toxic worry because they do not feel safe enough to fail.

The overall plan of the book helps the reader determine if they should seek professional help for worry due to psychological, physical or combinations of these causes. There is a lot of reflective questioning and case studies to help you think deeply about why you worry in an unhealthy way.
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