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Compulsive Acts


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Psychiatry by the Dumpster H2O under the Bridge A Greek Tragedy With Any Luck One Eternity Drive References Preface Index

About the Author

Elias Aboujaoude is Director of the Impulse Control Disorders Clinic at Stanford University School of Medicine. His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, on the NBC Nightly News, and elsewhere.


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) affects 1%-2% of Americans, according to Aboujaoude, director of the Impulse Control Disorders Center at Stanford's School of Medicine. In this short, highly readable book reminiscent of Irvin Yalom's Love's Executioner, Aboujaoude focuses on five case studies involving fear of contamination and invasion of personal space, trichotillomania (compulsive pulling out of one's hair), kleptomania, pathological gambling and what is called "problematic Internet use." As he looks at both patients' behavior and his treatment of them, Aboujaoude demonstrates his combination of empathy and "habit reversal," a cognitive behavioral therapy involving "increasing awareness" of the compulsive behavior and "enhancing motivation to reduce [it]."Most of Aboujaoude's interventions seem successful, though the compulsive Internet user, whose social anxiety led him to retreat into a virtual world, in effect drops out of treatment, his work and his relationship with his fiancee to devote himself to his online virtual alter ego, and another meets a tragic end. But whatever the success of his treatment, Aboujaoude consistently provides the reader with a refreshingly jargon-free and intimate look at what OCD looks and feels like. (Apr.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"Obscuring personal details, an expert on impulse control disorders writes of patients... Hard to beat the first essay." Vancouver Sun / New Brunswick Reader "Tells stories inspired by memorable patients ... Taking the reader from initial contact through the stages of the doctor-patient relationship." Times Higher Ed Sup (Thes)

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