Good Reasons for Bad Feelings: Insights from the Frontier of Evolutionary Psychiatry
One of the world's most respected psychiatrists provides a much-needed new evolutionary framework for making sense of mental illness With his classic book Why We Get Sick, Randolph Nesse established the field of evolutionary medicine. Now he returns with a book that transforms ou... read full description below.
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|Library of Congress
||Psychiatry - Philosophy, Mental illness - Etiology, Evolutionary psychology
||Psychology: Professional & General
||College/higher education;Professional and scholarly;General/trade
Description of this Book
One of the world's most respected psychiatrists provides a much-needed new evolutionary framework for making sense of mental illness With his classic book Why We Get Sick, Randolph Nesse established the field of evolutionary medicine. Now he returns with a book that transforms our understanding of mental disorders by exploring a fundamentally new question. Instead of asking why certain people suffer from mental illness, Nesse asks why natural selection has left us with fragile minds at all. Drawing on revealing stories from his own clinical practice and insights from evolutionary biology, Nesse shows how negative emotions are useful in certain situations, yet can become excessive. Anxiety protects us from harm in the face of danger, but false alarms are inevitable. Low mood prevents us from wasting effort in pursuit of unreachable goals, but it often escalates into pathological depression. Other mental disorders, such as addiction and anorexia, result from the mismatch between modern environments and our ancient human past. Taken together, these insights and many more help to explain the pervasiveness of human suffering, and show us new paths for relieving it. Good Reasons for Bad Feelings will fascinate anyone who wonders how our minds can be so powerful, yet so fragile, and how love and goodness came to exist in organisms shaped to maximize Darwinian fitness.
Awards, Reviews & Star Ratings
||Randolph Nesse, who trained psychiatrists for many years, has for a quarter century been a key leader of evolutionary medicine. Good Reasons for Bad Feelings integrates these two strands of his life and thought in a readable, insightful book, as much a philosophy of emotions as it is a new window on mental illness. All who want to know themselves should read it. -- Melvin Konner, Dobbs Professor of Anthropology, Emory University, author of The Tangled Wing A personalized and lively but well documented treatise on how we humans function and on needed changes in the way psychiatry thinks about troublesome mental experiences and behavior. . . . Many readers will find it hard to put the book down. -- Eric Klinger, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of Minnesota Two sets of ideas inform this fine book: one, the cold-hearted logic of natural selection; the other, the practical wisdom of a compassionate psychiatrist. The tension is palpable. The result is riveting. -- Nicholas Humphrey, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, London School of Economics, author of Soul Dust Highly accessible, scholarly and deeply illuminating . . . this will become a treasured classic; not just for clinicians but for all those interested in how to facilitate well-being and create more moral communities and societies. -- Professor Paul Gilbert OBE, author of Compassionate Mind, and Living like Crazy
||Bertrams Star Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)
Randolph Nesse is an American physician, a founder of evolutionary medicine, and co-author with George C. Williams of the acclaimed Why We Get Sick. After a long career as a Professor of Psychiatry and Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan, Nesse moved in 2014 to become the Founding Director of the Center for Evolution and Medicine at Arizona State University, where he is also a Professor in the School of Life Sciences.