Afraid: Understanding the Purpose of Fear and Harnessing the Power of Anxiety

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Product Details
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.56 inches | 1.01 pounds

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About the Author

Arash Javanbakht, MD, is a psychiatrist and neuroscientist who currently serves as the Director of the Stress, Trauma, and Anxiety Research Clinic (STARC) at Wayne State University, School of Medicine. Dr. Javanbakht is a frequent invited speaker at national and international conferences and universities. Multiple media outlets and scientific organizations have featured Dr. Javanbakht's work, including: CNN, NPR, Smithsonian, Aljazeera, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Scientific American, Science, American Psychiatric Association, Anxiety and Depression Association of America, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He is the academic advisor on the PBS documentary "Mysteries of Mental Illness." He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


According to Javanbakht, psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and founder of the Stress, Trauma, and Anxiety Research Clinic at Wayne State University, fear is a biological mechanism that has served to protect humanity for centuries. But these days, with few dinosaurs and saber-toothed tigers attacking, our fears and accompanying anxiety are often detrimental rather than helpful. (He considers, especially, how social media and targeted news reports can stoke fear.) Using research findings, patient cases, news stories, and personal experiences, Javanbakht examines the roots of our fears and possible solutions for reigning them in. He delves into different types of fears and anxieties, describing the criteria that divide clinical cases from normal reactions, and suggests therapies to ease symptoms. None of this is in the service of eliminating fear entirely. Adequately harnessed, fear can help us beat procrastination, increase bonding, and spur creativity. In the end, Javanbakht urges readers to keep their fears and anxieties in perspective, facing their lives with awareness.

Afraid is an approachable text for a wide variety of readers. Written by Javanbakht, a psychiatrist and researcher, this book reviews the most important fundamentals of anxiety--where it comes from, how it impacts people, and what sufferers can do when it goes awry.... Overall, this book takes a pragmatic approach that will leave readers with concrete takeaways they can use in their own lives. Recommended. All readers.

Afraid is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the multifaceted nature of fear and anxiety. The author's ability to present complex topics in an accessible and engaging manner ensures that readers will remain captivated throughout the book, and walk away with a comprehensive understanding of these emotions. What sets this book apart from others in the field is the actionable information it provides. From outlining the various clinical treatments for anxiety to offering practical advice on how to use fear to our advantage, Afraid empowers readers to take control of their fears and live more fulfilling lives.

A provocative journey into the heart of fear itself, Afraid also helps us understand the impact of fear and anxiety on our brains and bodies, and highlights the importance of treating our trauma-based illnesses and phobias.

These days, It's not hard to feel like we humans are trying to hold it together in a world that is coming undone. Afraid gives succinct, poignant and real world examples of how humans perceive fear and anxiety, pointing out that the human mind is often seduced into the unfortunate combination of overestimating threats and underestimating its ability to cope. Dr Javanbakht has given us a wonderful treatise on fear and anxiety for both health care professionals and the general audience alike. I loved the fluidity and ease of reading this book, compassionately showing that we are equipped with stone age brains in an increasingly digital world. I'm not Afraid to highly recommend this book!

In Afraid, Dr. Javanbakht brings the world of neuroscience to the general population in an approachable, entertaining, and informative review of the most recent findings as they apply to fear and anxiety. He weaves clinical case examples throughout to demonstrate key concepts including where fear and anxiety come from, how they impact the brain and the body, and how problematic fear and anxiety can be treated. The chapters include focus on the fundamentals of fear and anxiety as well as stepping into our modern world and illustrating how human fear and anxiety can used as tools for social, economic and political gain often to the disservice of the public. Afraid is both entertaining and informative.

Kudos to Dr. Javanbakht on this easy-to- read, helpful and thoughtful book! From the lens of an experienced clinician and researcher, and using personal vignettes and clinical experiences, Dr. Javanbakht explores and provides ways to better understand the relationship between fear and anxiety, through the life cycle. A very important topic, especially in these trying times.

Afraid is a comprehensive and accessible review of both the neuroscience and human impacts of fear, trauma and related conditions. If you want to understand this experience form many angles, this is a great book to read.

Little surprise that Javanbakht finds numerous occasions to connect his field of expertise to recent developments in news from around the world. In particular, the evidence of intergenerational transmissions of fear, anxiety and trauma make for unhappy implications. Yet the author's tone is almost always energetic, even jaunty.