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The Man Who Couldn't Stop

Have you ever had a strange urge to jump from a tall building, or steer your car into oncoming traffic? You are not alone. In this captivating fusion of science, history and personal memoir, writer David Adam explores the weird thoughts that exist within every mind, and how they drive millions of us towards obsessions and compulsions. David has suffered from OCD for twenty years, and The Man Who Couldn't Stop is his unflinchingly honest attempt to understand the condition and his experiences. What might lead an Ethiopian schoolgirl to eat a wall of her house, piece by piece; or a pair of brothers to die beneath an avalanche of household junk that they had compulsively hoarded? At what point does a harmless idea, a snowflake in a clear summer sky, become a blinding blizzard of unwanted thoughts? Drawing on the latest research on the brain, as well as historical accounts of patients and their treatments, this is a book that will challenge the way you think about what is normal, and what is mental illness. Told with fierce clarity, humour and urgent lyricism, this extraordinary book is both the haunting story of a personal nightmare, and a fascinating doorway into the darkest corners of our minds.
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An intimate look at the power of intrusive thoughts, how our brains can turn against us and what it means to live with obsessive compulsive disorder

About the Author

Dr David Adam is a writer and editor at Nature, the world's leading scientific journal. Before that he was a specialist correspondent on the Guardian for seven years, writing on science, medicine and the environment. He was named feature writer of the year by the Association of British Science Writers, and reported from Antarctica, the Arctic, China and the depths of the Amazon jungle.


Clear-sighted and eminently accessible ... a fundamentally important book that will bring a breath of fresh understanding to sufferers - as well as mental-health professionals, and family and friends of anyone who exhibits symptoms of OCD. I urge anyone to buy it. It will make you think again * Sunday Times * A fascinating study of the living nightmare that is obsessive compulsive disorder ... one of the best and most readable studies of a mental illness to have emerged in recent years ... an honest and open and, yes, maybe life-changing work -- Matt Haig * Observer * Combines a scientific account of OCD from ancient times to the most recent research with passages of tenderly written memoir * Telegraph * The Man Who Couldn't Stop is quite simply book of the year, on living with OCD: just buy it now -- Adam Rutherford Superb... A brave and helpful contribution to deepening our understanding of the intricate complexities of mental ill-health * The Times * Adam recounts his journey with humour and detachment * Literary Review * [An] engaging, exhaustively researched neuro memoir, a blend of brain science and personal history * Evening Standard * This blew me away. Stunning -- Ian Sample * Guardian * An insider's tour of the OCD brain, providing insight into the cultural and scientific evolution of how we view and treat a disorder that affects up to 3% of people worldwide * Nature * A captivating first-person account of how a blizzard of unwanted thoughts can become a personal nightmare. At times shocking, at times tragic, at times unbelievably funny, it is a wonderful read * Focus * A lucid, humane -- only intermittently autobiographical - science book ... offers a clear history through riveting case studies and the work of key figures * Metro * David Adam, a successful writer, is also a sufferer of obsessive compulsive disorder ... He covers the history of OCD, the treatments that have been tried without success, and his experience of cognitive behavioural therapy, CBT, which was greatly helpful. A well-written, thorough account * Independent * Well-researched, witty, honest and irreverent, Adam's account proves as irresistible as his subject * Kirkus Reviews *

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