Health reporter Andrea Petersen’s new memoir On Edge: A Journey through Anxiety is a first-person exploration of what it’s like to live with anxiety and panic attacks for one’s entire life. But true to her background as a health reporter, her personal experiences are interspersed with research about the various available treatments, from medications to exposure therapy to yoga.

Petersen’s research has led her to surprising discoveries, including the connection between anxiety and suicidal acts. “We often think of depression as being most closely linked with suicide,” she said. “Actually depression is most closely linked with suicidal thoughts, but it’s actually anxiety disorders and other disorders like impulse disorders and substance abuse disorders that are also tied to suicidal acts, so anxiety can actually be deadly.”

Petersen acknowledges that while she continues to have ups and downs, she has health insurance and a support system to guide her. She recognizes that her experience is by no means universal. Many others lack health care resources or family and community support.

On Edge is an important book that will help shed light on the experience of living with anxiety, which is said to impact more than 40 million Americans each year, as well as illuminating the various paths to recovery.

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