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Book Review: Overcoming Anxiety For Dummies, 2nd Edition by Charles H. Elliott and Laura L. Smith

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There are many types of anxiety; there is even good and bad anxiety. Neither of these facts come as a surprise in these anxiety-producing times. For some people, anxiety is a natural state of being, like having a pulse. If they aren’t anxious they think there is something wrong.

Overcoming Anxiety For Dummies is not a book for everyone who suffers from anxiety. For those with serious disorders like OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), GAD (generalized anxiety disorder), and panic disorder, Overcoming Anxiety For Dummies might serve well as an adjunct to professional care, but is not a replacement.

How does one know if the anxiety suffered requires professional/clinical care or a little self-administered behavior modification? Does your anxiety interfere with your life? Does it keep you from working, leaving your home, or interacting with others? Do you engage in compulsive behaviors? If anxiety dictates how you live your life, it’s not something reading a book is likely to dispel.

Who should read Overcoming Anxiety For Dummies? It’s a good book for anyone who lives with or cares about an anxiety-ridden person, for people who want to know more about the topic, and for those whose lives are relatively “normal” but would like to better control anxiety when it arises.

There is always going to be stress in our lives, whether it’s good or bad. If you don’t want that stress interfering with your sleep, your physical health, and your emotional status, you need to control it. Overcoming Anxiety For Dummies offers a wealth of information on eliminating the effects of stress, and those willing to make the effort and use the information provided will be rewarded by achieving goals they set for themselves.

For some, anxiety can be eliminated by simply relaxing, and authors Elliott and Smith offer a variety of techniques that will help one to both physically and mentally relax. They also offer advice on lifestyle changes designed to reduce anxiety and better ways of thinking that take control away from anxiety.

As with the entire “Dummies” series, Overcoming Anxiety For Dummies includes “The Part of Tens,” concise suggestions that offer quick relief. They include “Ten Ways to Stop Anxiety Quickly,” “Ten Ways to Deal with Relapse,” and “Ten Signs That You Need Professional Help.” The appendix recommends self-help books, resources to help children, and web sites offering more information about anxiety.

Overcoming Anxiety For Dummies contains a lot of information, but the authors advise that it is not necessary to read every word. Skip around, if you like, read what you need or would like to know. The last thing anyone reading a book about anxiety wants to do is feel pressure to complete a reading assignment about anxiety.

The first four parts of Overcoming Anxiety For Dummies are written for the anxiety-ridden to help them understand what anxiety is, what causes it, and what to do about it. The fifth part is a valuable resource for those who want to help friends or relatives suffering from anxiety. In addition to discussing adult sufferers, It offers tips on recognizing anxiety in kids and helping kids conquer anxiety.

Readers will find lots of helpful information on sleep and relaxation techniques, and a variety of ways to deal with stress. While Overcoming Anxiety For Dummies is not the book for those requiring clinical intervention, it does offer support in defeating anxiety disorders.

Bottom Line: Would I buy Overcoming Anxiety For Dummies? Yes. I am a fan of the “For Dummies” series (going all the way back to DOS for Dummies), and if I had a problem with anxiety (or someone close to me did), it would be my first resource.

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About Miss Bob Etier

  • Andre

    I too love the “dummies” series and I remember the DOS book well. I thought your review good however having suffered from anxiety attacks myself I’d like to point out that there is a difference between stress and anxiety. Humans function at differing levels of stress and some stress is good, however anxiety or prolonged anxiety has a debilitating effect on one’s life and sometimes these come from either side effects of medication or as a result of a learned response to situations. If the latter then books such as the dummy series or other CBT’s can provide the relief that one seeks. Thank you for the review anyway.