Scott Stossel on Coping with a Fear of Cheese, Flying, and His Other Anxieties

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Thirty-five years ago, anxiety did not exist as a diagnostic category, and today it is the most common form of officially classified mental illness. Scott Stossel talks about his own struggles with anxiety, and about the history of efforts by scientists, philosophers, and writers to understand the condition. In My Age of Anxiety , he reports on famous people who struggled with anxiety,  how it has afflicted generations of his own family, and the many psychotherapies, medications, and other treatments that have been developed to address it.


Scott Stossel

Comments [8]


Fascinating piece, nice work Scott Stossel and Anna Sale. Thank you for sharing your book with WNYC listeners.

Jan. 14 2014 08:58 PM
R. McGeddon

I love how the segment with the irrelevant "Snooki" drew 43 comments while this segment, about a subject that has fascinated mankind for 4000 years, drew 6.

Way to go, Lopate fans!

Jan. 14 2014 03:03 PM
genejoke from Brooklyn

The strange thing about panic/anxiety attacks is that you can try and coach yourself away from it or through it with breathing and mentally going to a "happy place," but once it begins, it's difficult to stop. I've found that I'm still clearly thinking it through while it happens.
Any tips on how to lessen the impact of such an attack?

Jan. 14 2014 01:50 PM
Gary from Long Island, NY

I have friends who have OCD, others have panic attacks, others have anxiety issues; question: what regions of the brain are causing these disorders and what is the bio-chemical basis of these disorders. What is occurring in the brain and how are these conditions related. I have learned not to just say to my friends, just get over it because I have learned it is a condition in their brains

Jan. 14 2014 01:40 PM
Beatrice from Brooklyn

I'd love to hear what Mr. Stossel would recommend for kids with anxiety. how did he handle it as a child, and does he wish anything had been different for him then?

Jan. 14 2014 01:40 PM
genejoke from Brooklyn

Woody Allen, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David have nothing on this guy. I declare Stossel an honorary Jew.

Jan. 14 2014 01:36 PM

Read the Atlantic article & felt cheated - Stossel's not finishing the exposure therapy (after a long-winded account, of the many approaches) speaks to the criticism of the therapist's nurse, whom he dismisses & demeans, that he wasn't ready to let go, i.e. he doesn't want to get better. He says that after the "try" the therapist sessions were "elegiac and desultory" much as the article is. The nurse wasn't the "fatuous bitch" he brands her as but the one to speak truth to this powerful editor who likes to wallow in his misery.

Jan. 14 2014 01:26 PM
antonio from baySide

Through the years I have been building an arsenal of effective ways to lessen the effects of anxiety; Running, tea's which contain calming herbs (i.e. st john's wort etc.) and of course talk therapy. However, lately I have observed when I delve into a distraction (reading a programing book in my case) which requires a lot of concentration, I find that helps a great deal.

Also i suffer from allergies and my allergist is convinced that could be playing a role...

In the end I feel the 'cure' is going to come from a cerebral application...

Jan. 14 2014 08:44 AM

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