Cover image for Good reasons for bad feelings : insights from the frontier of evolutionary psychiatry / Randolph M. Nesse, MD.
Title:
Good reasons for bad feelings : insights from the frontier of evolutionary psychiatry / Randolph M. Nesse, MD.
ISBN:
9781101985663
Publication Information:
New York, New York : Dutton, [2019]

©2019
Physical Description:
xv, 365 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents:
Part one: Why are mental disorders so confusing? A new question -- Are mental disorders diseases? -- Why are minds so vulnerable? -- Part two: Reasons for feelings. Good reasons for bad feelings -- Anxiety and smoke detectors -- Low mood and the art of giving up -- Bad feelings for no good reason: when the moodostat fails -- Part three: The pleasures and perils of social life. How to understand an individual human being -- Guilt and grief: the price of goodness and love -- Know thyself: NOT! -- Part four: Out-of-control actions and dire disorders. Bad sex can be good, for our genes -- Primal appetites -- Good feelings for bad reasons -- Minds unbalanced on fitness cliffs -- Epilogue: Evolutionary psychiatry: a bridge, not an island.
Abstract:
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.
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