Good Reasons for Bad Feelings: Insights from the Frontier of Evolutionary Psychiatry

Good Reasons for Bad Feelings: Insights from the Frontier of Evolutionary Psychiatry

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A founder of the field of evolutionary medicine uses his decades of experience as a psychiatrist to provide a much-needed new framework for making sense of mental illness.

Why do I feel bad? There is real power in understanding our bad feelings. With his classic Why We Get Sick, Dr. Randolph Nesse helped to establish 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 all with fragile minds.

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 overwhelming. Anxiety protects us from harm in the face of danger, but false alarms are inevitable. Low moods prevent us from wasting effort in pursuit of unreachable goals, but they often escalate into pathological depression. Other mental disorders, such as addiction and anorexia, result from the mismatch between modern environment and our ancient human past. And there are good evolutionary reasons for sexual disorders and for why genes for schizophrenia persist. Taken together, these and many more insights help to explain the pervasiveness of human suffering, and show us new paths for relieving it by understanding individuals as individuals.

Title:Good Reasons for Bad Feelings: Insights from the Frontier of Evolutionary Psychiatry
ISBN:9781101985663

    Good Reasons for Bad Feelings: Insights from the Frontier of Evolutionary Psychiatry Reviews

  • Alja

    The book looks at mental health from an evolutionary perspective: why did natural selection shape traits that make us vulnerable to diseases? Nesse proposes a theory of how emotions evolved to help us...

  • Joseph L. Graves

    Essential ReadingNothing in biology makes sense save in the light of evolution. Nesses shines that light on the most intractable of scientific problems, the human mind and its emotions. Specifically h...

  • Mugizi Rwebangira

    I LOVED THIS BOOK!The basic idea is to give an evolutionary explanation for mental illness. Can evolution explain why we seem to get so easily anxious and depressed? And what about schizophrenia or Al...