Provides a broad and entertaining overview of fear from evolution, to modern day challenges, and how clinicians treat trauma, anxiety, and PTSD today.
About a third of the world population suffers from an anxiety disorder, and half of Americans have had at least one traumatic experience like rape, assault, shooting, or natural disasters. The news is full of stories about our dying planet, civil unrest, political fighting, and other anxiety-inducing subjects. On social media, digital tribes have lined up against each other and people worry they may get “canceled” for any number of perceived offenses. Fear and anxiety are with us everywhere we go.
Fear is one of the most deeply rooted biological mechanisms that has evolved over hundreds of millions of years in the brains and bodies of animals and humans with one key mission: to increase our chance of survival. Fear is deeply woven into our biology, culture, politics, and day to day life. We sometimes don’t even know what we are afraid of. What we know for sure is that we are afraid too often.
But why are we so scared? How does fear work in our brains? Why does our body react the way it does when we are scared? What is the evolutionary purpose of fear? Why do we enjoy watching horror movies? How does the brain of a brave person work differently than others? How do we learn to be afraid, and how can we unlearn? Is fear good or bad for creativity? Can we use fear to our advantage? How is fear used to manipulate us?
In this book, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist answers these questions. It is a comprehensive review of fear and anxiety in most tangible aspects of the modern life. Arash Javanbakht explores how our childhood experiences define the role fear plays in us as adults, how fear may or may not affect our genes, what excessive fear and anxiety can do to our brains and bodies, and the role of fear in the wake of trauma. Readers will come away with a better understanding of fear and how we can tamp its negative effects, how we can treat it medically if necessary, and how we can protect ourselves from fear’s most negative consequences.