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Can't Just Stop: An Investigation of Compulsions
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Simon & Schuster 2017
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Using in-depth case studies, Can't Just Stop examines the science behind both mild and extreme compulsive behavior—"a fascinating read about human behavior and how it can go haywire" (The Charlotte Observer).
Whether shopping with military precision or hanging the tea towels just so, compulsion is something most of us have witnessed in daily life. But compulsions exist along a broad continuum and, at the opposite end of these mild forms, exist life-altering disorders.

Sharon Begley's meticulously researched book is the first to examine all of these behaviors together—from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) to hoarding, to compulsive exercise, even compulsions to do good. They may look profoundly different, but these behaviors are all ways of coping with varying degrees of anxiety. Sharing personal stories from dozens of interviewees, "Begley combines a personal topic with thoughtfulness and sensitivity" (Library Journal) and gives meaningful context to their plight. Along the way she explores the role of compulsion in our fast-paced culture, the brain science behind it, and strange manifestations of the behavior throughout history.

Can't Just Stop makes compulsion comprehensible and accessible, with "fresh insight that could fundamentally alter how we think of, and treat, mental illness going forward" (Publishers Weekly).

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
02/07/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781476725840
ASIN:
B01HMXV0VU

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Citations

APA Citation (style guide)

Sharon Begley. (2017). Can't Just Stop: An Investigation of Compulsions. Simon & Schuster.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Sharon Begley. 2017. Can't Just Stop: An Investigation of Compulsions. Simon & Schuster.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Sharon Begley, Can't Just Stop: An Investigation of Compulsions. Simon & Schuster, 2017.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Sharon Begley. Can't Just Stop: An Investigation of Compulsions. Simon & Schuster, 2017.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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      • value: hoarding
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      • value: Daniel Goleman
      • value: compulsive eating
      • value: wall street journal
      • value: compulsive lying
      • value: boston globe
      • value: monkey mind
      • value: internet addiction
      • value: compulsive exercise
      • value: reuters
      • value: my age of anxiety
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      • value: david kessler
      • value: ocpd
      • value: richard davidson
      • value: Upside of Stress
      • value: magic rituals
      • value: compulsive gambling
      • value: suspicious minds
      • value: association of health care journalists
      • value: book of woe
      • value: compulsive acquiring
      • value: compulsive cheating
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      • role: Author
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      • bioText: Sharon Begley is the senior science writer at STAT, the life sciences publication of The Boston Globe. She previously worked at Reuters, Newsweek, The Daily Beast, and The Wall Street Journal. She is the author of Can't Just Stop; The Emotional Life of Your Brain (with Richard J. Davidson); Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain; and The Mind and the Brain (with Jeffrey Schwartz). She has received numerous awards for communicating science to the public.
      • name: Sharon Begley
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title
Can't Just Stop
fullDescription
Using in-depth case studies, Can't Just Stop examines the science behind both mild and extreme compulsive behavior—"a fascinating read about human behavior and how it can go haywire" (The Charlotte Observer).
Whether shopping with military precision or hanging the tea towels just so, compulsion is something most of us have witnessed in daily life. But compulsions exist along a broad continuum and, at the opposite end of these mild forms, exist life-altering disorders.

Sharon Begley's meticulously researched book is the first to examine all of these behaviors together—from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) to hoarding, to compulsive exercise, even compulsions to do good. They may look profoundly different, but these behaviors are all ways of coping with varying degrees of anxiety. Sharing personal stories from dozens of interviewees, "Begley combines a personal topic with thoughtfulness and sensitivity" (Library Journal) and gives meaningful context to their plight. Along the way she explores the role of compulsion in our fast-paced culture, the brain science behind it, and strange manifestations of the behavior throughout history.

Can't Just Stop makes compulsion comprehensible and accessible, with "fresh insight that could fundamentally alter how we think of, and treat, mental illness going forward" (Publishers Weekly).
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        October 24, 2016
        Science journalist Begley (Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain) demystifies compulsive behavior, exploring its history and manifestations and the many difficulties its sufferers face in finding appropriate diagnoses and treatment. Establishing compulsive behavior as the brain's attempt to assuage anxiety, Begley argues that it can serve a useful purpose. She notes that there are socially acceptable compulsive “quirks,” such as a baseball player who won't change his “lucky” shorts, and that people turn to compulsive habits to feel more in control, a response that is “hardly pathological.” Begley also provides riveting case studies, including a woman who must check her refrigerator repeatedly to ensure that her cat is not inside and a man whose germophobia compelled him to throw out his clothes, shave his head, and abandon his apartment for a series of hotel rooms. A fascinating historical analysis notes references to hoarding in Dante’s Inferno and describes an obsessive Victorian-era book collector. Begley also chats with video game creators about their “addictive” products and expresses a healthy skepticism regarding concerns over widespread compulsive Internet usage. Much of the text summarizes well-known scholarship, but Begley's final chapter on brain function in the compulsive mind contains fresh insight that could fundamentally alter how we think of, and treat, mental illness going forward. Agent: Linda Loewenthal, David Black Agency.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        October 15, 2016
        Science journalist Begley (Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain, 2007, etc.) delves into specific types of compulsive behaviors while also positing a grand theory of what links seemingly disparate obsessions.The main types of obsessive behaviors the author examines include shopping, hoarding of material possessions, constant checking of smartphones, playing video games nonstop, additional quirks that fall into the realm of obsessive-compulsive disorders, hyper-conscientiousness, and hyper do-gooding. What connects those behaviors, Begley suggests, is living with anxiety in contemporary times. Although clinical anxiety can be difficult to measure, the author cites research that it afflicts about one of every five U.S. adults in any given year, about three times the rate of clinically diagnosed depression. Because Begley frames many compulsive behaviors as somewhat logical responses to severe individual anxieties, she does not find the behaviors as worrisome as loved ones of the anxiety-ridden might find them. After all, writes the author, a compulsive response to anxiety can be viewed as a sensible, if exaggerated, coping mechanism. The case studies she provides, sometimes to the point of overkill, can seem alarming. Yet often those compulsions do not directly harm others and partially cure the anxious individuals. Part of the book's fascination can be found in Begley's personal case study, as she gradually shifts her view about compulsive behaviors from frightening to logical. She came to believe that hoarders, video game obsessives, and the like should be considered outliers in American society only to the degree of their behaviors, not the behaviors themselves. Their brains are not broken, she writes. As a result, the extreme behaviors often do not require institutionalization or other such drastic responses. Due to Begley's dense explanations of brain science, the book requires close attention at times, but her captivating, accessible anecdotes of individual cases lead to unforgettable scenarios.

        COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        December 1, 2016

        Science writer Begley (Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain) delves into the science behind compulsive behavior. While compulsions and addictions are commonly used interchangeably, she describes the differences between the two. She then traces the history of compulsive behavior while including examples. From mild to extreme situations, the case studies and interviews Begley conducted and cites here include compulsions with video games, the Internet, smartphones, exercising, and hoarding. The author also explains the neurology behind compulsions. In addition, she devotes a chapter to altruistic behavior, including acts of generosity and volunteering. An example of such altruistic behavior that she notes is people who donate a kidney to a stranger. Begley emphasizes the stories of the interviewees, while analyzing how compulsions affect society in a fast-paced world. She explains how people can deal with their compulsions and the compulsions of those they care about. Prior science knowledge is not necessary, as this book is written for the general public. VERDICT In this fascinating read, Begley combines a personal topic with thoughtfulness and sensitivity. Recommended for anyone interested in learning more about compulsive behavior.--Tina Chan, MIT Libs., Cambridge

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Using in-depth case studies, Can't Just Stop examines the science behind both mild and extreme compulsive behavior—"a fascinating read about human behavior and how it can go haywire" (The Charlotte Observer).
Whether shopping with military precision or hanging the tea towels just so, compulsion is something most of us have witnessed in daily life. But compulsions exist along a broad continuum and, at the opposite end of these mild forms, exist life-altering disorders.

Sharon Begley's meticulously researched book is the first to examine all of these behaviors together—from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) to hoarding, to compulsive exercise, even compulsions to do good. They may look profoundly different, but these behaviors are all ways of coping with varying degrees of anxiety. Sharing personal stories from dozens of interviewees, "Begley combines a personal topic with thoughtfulness and sensitivity" (Library Journal) and...
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