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Book: ANGST ~ Origins of Anxiety and Depression

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  • Robert Karl Stonjek
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Tara Kennedy, 212.726.6258 or tara.kennedy@oup.com Why does mental illness persist when it would seem to be counterproductive
    Message 1 of 33 , Nov 6, 2012
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      CONTACT: Tara Kennedy, 212.726.6258 or tara.kennedy@...


      “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


      Origins of Anxiety and Depression

      by Jeffrey P. Kahn

      (November 1, 2012 — 304 pp. — $34.95 — ISBN13: 9780199796441)


      For many, understanding why they or a loved one has been diagnosed with a disorder such as depression or anxiety is itself a challenge. In a new book titled, ANGST: Origins of Anxiety and Depression author Jeffrey P. Kahn provides a meaningful answer to that question without oversimplifying or using too much jargon. While herd-like animals share a set of evolved social instincts, we humans use reason to defy our biology, and we experience five specific Anxiety and Depressive disorder subtypes as a result. Basically, we are built to be sheep, but for some reason prefer to be human. The downside of this is that our sheepish instincts complain in the form of Anxiety and Depressive Angst. 


      ANGST asserts a new theory that common Anxiety and Depressive Disorders experienced by a large number of people—about 60 million according to Kahn—are modern consequences of biologically evolved social instincts. Kahn looks at five basic types of modern-day angst—Panic Anxiety, Social Anxiety, OCD, Atypical Depression, and Melancholic Depression—and shows how each derives from primeval social instincts that once helped our ancestors survive. He chose these five because they are not only the most common in the general population but are also the most common among people who are generally successful who walk into a psychiatrist’s office. Kahn examines how each instinctive syndrome evolved with the development of Homo sapiens, how they resemble behavior in other species, how they correspond to the five clinical syndromes and what we know about their biology, genetics, and epigenetics.

      Angst: Origins of Anxiety and Depression at Amazon.com


      Here is the short version of what the instincts are and what they once did for our

      primeval selves and tribes:


      Panic Anxiety

      Purpose: Kept us close enough to home and group that we could find our way back.

      Motto: Catastrophes await if you can’t find your way home.


      Social Anxiety

      Purpose: Kept us in line in our tribal social hierarchies to keep the peace at home.

      Motto: Shame and embarrassment come from not knowing your primeval rank.


      Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

      Purpose: Kept us on track for the work needed to let people live together safely.

      Motto: Clean, arrange, save and behave for a sure and tidy nest.


      Atypical Depression

      Purpose: Kept us well-enough behaved for a cooperative society.

      Motto: Behave yourself to avoid rejection, remorse, and exile.


      Melancholic Depression

      Purpose: Death kept us from using scarce resources when no longer useful to the group.

      Motto: Take one for the team if you are too old or too ill.



      Purpose: Kept us responsive to our companions and environment

      Motto: Thoughtful understanding leads to better solutions.



      Topics for discussion include:

      ·         What makes us uniquely human is our rational ability to transcend biological social instincts

      ·         What are some cultural or music references that illustrate some of the ideas discussed in the book?

      ·         What are the advantages of really careful diagnosis: treatment, outcome, cost benefit, theoretical advances?

      ·         Why careful psychiatric diagnosis is so often overlooked?

      ·         Beer as a catalyst for human civilization

      ·         Do we already have the knowledge and tools to cure Schizophrenia?












      While other books have focused on these disorders and the drugs used to treat them, ANGST provides a reasoned and entertaining new framework for understanding our knowledge of psychiatric neuroscience, clinical research, diagnosis and treatment. Ranging from Darwin and Freud to the most cutting-edge medical and scientific findings—drawing from ancient writings, modern humor and popular lyrics, and with many amusing cartoons— ANGST offers us an exciting new slant on some of the most pervasive mental health issues of our time.





      ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jeffrey P. Kahn, MD is Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, in New York City and Westchester County.



      ANGST: Origins of Anxiety and Depression by Jeffrey P. Kahn will be published, in hardcover,

      by Oxford University Press on November 1, 2012.

      (304 pp.  —  $34.95  —  ISBN13: 9780199796441)


      Jeffrey P. Kahn, M.D.
      Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Cornell
      New York City (212-362-4099) and Scarsdale (914-725-6303)...
      Angst: Origins of Anxiety and Depression

      Oxford University Press
      ...... Twitter.com/JeffreyPKahn

      WorkPsych Associates:
      Executive and Corporate Consultation
      ... WorkPsych.com
      Posted by
      Robert Karl Stonjek
    • james kohl
      The sera and tissues of various animals contains exogenous plant miRNAs that are primarily acquired through food intake. If not for the epigenetic effects of
      Message 33 of 33 , Nov 12, 2012
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        The sera and tissues of various animals contains exogenous plant miRNAs that are primarily acquired through food intake. If not for the epigenetic effects of nutrient chemicals on intracellular signaling and stochastic gene expression, there would probably be no ecological niche construction from which adaptive evolution proceeds via subsequent social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction. That would make adaptive evolution depend on random mutations, but there's no model for that. That's why evolution via random mutations is a ridiculous theory! Moving forward, the ridiculous theory becomes dangerous when people who claim expertise in genetics, like Sussa, do not recognize the perils associated with GMOs. They don't even know enough to recognize the risks and compare them to the rewards.
        James V. Kohl
        Medical laboratory scientist (ASCP)
        Independent researcher
        Kohl, J.V. (2012) Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 2: 17338.

        From: Sussa Björkholm <sussab@...>
        To: evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Sun, November 11, 2012 6:43:01 AM
        Subject: Re: [evol-psych] Alleles, Genes and Mutations


        The thing is, how could DNA or proteins that are in the food in any way affect us as they are all digested into nucleotides and amino acids before they are absorbed into our body? 

        As nucleotides and amino acids they have lost all their previous "identities" and cannot be dangerous no matter how they were put together before.


        On Sun, Nov 11, 2012 at 12:41 PM, Leif Ekblad <leif@...> wrote:

        Yes, I think there are real risks with genetically modified crops, apart from multinational companies being able to charge people for using seeds.
        I still haven't been able to publish my primary paper about neurodiversity, but it is at least on peer-review again, so I hope for a positive outcome. It is a pity that it is so hard to publish controversial material like this, and even to find some journal that is interested in it. I wrote the Neanderthal theory of autism already in 2001, and started to research it a few years later. The main research with Aspie Quiz started in 2004, so what I'm trying to publish is 8 years of research, which is kind of hard to summarize in an ordinary paper, especially when the implications are so broad.
        Leif Ekblad
        Anna wrote:
        I know of this claim. In fact recent research suggests that a gene indeed can be transferred from one species to another although the exact mechanism is unknown. I had these two articles in my files for a while.  The one from ISIS warns about the risks of genetically modified foods for the very reason..
        I am most interested in your research. Please, elaborate.

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