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Why Can't I Stop?

, 232 pages
April 2016



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Why Can't I Stop?

Reclaiming Your Life from a Behavioral Addiction


Psychology Today Blog

At some point in our lives, we all engage in behaviors that are risky, irrational, or unwise. We might find it exciting and temporarily rewarding to gamble on the lottery or impulsively buy an expensive gadget. But just as substances like alcohol and narcotics have the potential to become addictive, so do certain behaviors. A person addicted to gambling, shopping, the internet, food, or picking at their skin may suffer shame in the shadows while their behavior consumes time and energy and disrupts their life. Some people with behavioral addictions lose their family, job, savings, and home. With a physical basis in the brain, behavioral addictions are serious illnesses—but simply willing yourself to stop is usually not enough.

Why Can't I Stop? is for anyone who has a behavioral addiction, as well as their supportive families and friends. Examining seven of the most common and serious addictions—gambling, sex, stealing, internet use, shopping and buying, hair pulling and skin picking, and food—the authors bring together cutting-edge research to describe behavioral addiction, its causes, and how it can be diagnosed and treated.

Featuring patient stories of behavioral addiction and recovery, as well as information about treatment centers, this compassionate guide will help readers better understand the complicated issues surrounding these addictions and teach family members how to help the addicted person while helping themselves.

Jon E. Grant, JD, MD, MPH, is a professor of psychiatry at the University of Chicago and the coauthor of Stop Me Because I Can’t Stop Myself: Taking Control of Impulsive Behavior. Brian L. Odlaug, PhD, MPH, is a visiting researcher in public health at the University of Copenhagen. Samuel R. Chamberlain, MD, PhD, is a clinical lecturer and psychiatrist at the University of Cambridge. Drs. Grant, Odlaug, and Chamberlain are the authors of Clinical Guide to Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders.

"This timely, up-to-date book is full of good, clear, and reliable information about behavioral addiction."

"Wonderfully helps people to understand, without any stigmatization, that the many addictions to behaviors are universal and similar but also different from each other. The book is an extremely useful treatment guide for people afflicted by—or affected by—these disorders."

"This book provides a great insight into some relatively unknown and misunderstood areas. It is clearly and systematically laid out, following a pattern for each addiction that includes how a diagnosis is made, how common is the disorder, key aspects, and treatment options and treatment recommendations."

"Here is an authoritative manual of common additions... This book is highly recommended for the practical instructions and the frank discussions of what may have caused these situations and how to get them under control."

"This book will be illuminating, if you have one of these behavioral addictions or if you know someone with these problems. With clarity, simplicity, every behavioral addiction is explained with clarity, vividly,offering answers like the best approaches for removing it from the life of your beloved ones or from your one. Highly recommended."

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