Looking back, this book would have been so helpful to me a decade ago. I've struggled with anxiety and depression throughout the majority of my life. In my late twenties I was diagnosed with PTSD. It has taken me years to recognize that the anxiety I always felt was beyond "normal" anxiety. My experience with PTSD is what drove me to therapy and began my journey with my mental health. Maybe it's wishful thinking, but perhaps with more information about anxiety disorders, their causes, and their symptoms I would have sought help sooner or at least implemented other tools to help mitigate my anxiety.
'Why Am I so Anxious' is structured very well. It gives a basic overview of the psychological and biological factors of anxiety. There are simple, yet clear descriptions of each currently classified anxiety disorder, as well as the obsessive-compulsive and related disorders. Symptoms are described in ways that make it easier to self reflect without judgement, but also with diagnostic criteria in mind so as to keep the reader from fretting over having every single issue. The following chapters discuss different methods of treatment, ranging from medication to mindfulness and essential oils.
Because this book was written by a psychiatrist, Dr. Marks, I was fearful it would over-emphasize the use of medication (even though I myself embrace medication and find it very helpful). However, that worry was completely unfounded. Dr. Marks does an excellent job addressing some of the most common psychotherapies that are helpful for anxiety disorders. I also really appreciated that Dr. Marks discussed the myriad of other ways a person can help relieve their anxiety beyond medication and therapy. Finding what tools worked for me was a big process of trial and error. For example, I mistakenly believed that practicing mindfulness was just like meditation, but I was very wrong! Dr. Marks clears this up quickly in her book, which would have been helpful to me when researching ways to help myself. There were so many options presented, some of which I know work for me and some I know don't, that there's bound to be something useful for most people.
Lastly, I greatly appreciated the time Dr. Marks spent discussing vitamins, supplements, and essential oils. Though I still have some skepticism over essential oils personally, the information presented in that portion of the book may really help someone. As for the vitamins and supplements, it was nice to see an overview of the most popular options vs. a professional's opinion on each one. I've always taken magnesium, but never realized how useful it was for anxiety! The information about Silexan was very interesting and I plan to talk to my health care provider about it as an option. Additionally, this book reminded me that I really should be thinking about a pre-biotic...
Whether you're someone who has struggled with anxiety for as long as you can remember or you've just started to feel the impacts, this book is a useful compendium of information. It's succinct and easy to understand. I highly recommend it, even if you've been looking into tools and resources for some time, because you might find something new!