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It seems that anxiety disorders have really been making it into the news lately. At the forefront of the discussion is, of course, the Iraq War and PTSD, but that’s not all it’s limited to. On today’s Diane Rehm show (NPR/WAMU) the second half of the show featured Allen Shawn, author of Wish I Could Be There: Notes From a Phobic Life.

The interview was interesting, although I found myself disagreeing with Shawn on a few things. For example, he places a large amount of faith into Freud. If I understood him correctly, Shawn claims to have an Oedipus complex. Whatever. I can’t say that I’ve ever really found Freud to be enlightening, although some of his theories were unique and a different way of thinking about psychology. Much of Freud’s theories, however, have little conclusive evidence to back them up. In fact, take a gander at this recent Washington Post article: “Was Repressed Memory a 19th Century Creation?”

On the other hand, during the interview, Mr. Shawn spoke a lot about the biological origins of fear and phobias, and I think this discussion is important because many people often forget that fear serves a very important function: it keeps you alive. It only becomes a problem when the fear mechanism is triggered unnecessarily and for extended periods of time.

Anyway, the interview’s worth a listen if you’re interesting. Follow this link and then click on “Real Audio” or “Windows Media Player” to the right of the 11 o’clock segment.


"Drag your thoughts away from your troubles... by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it." -- Mark Twain