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Why Can't I Stop?

Reclaiming Your Life from a Behavioral Addiction

Jon E. Grant, JD, MD, MPH, Brian L. Odlaug, PhD, MPH, and Samuel R. Chamberlain, MD, PhD

Publication Year: 2016

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.

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Preface

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pp. vii-x

This book is for people who have behavioral addictions and for their families and friends. While drug and alcohol addictions may be difficult to miss, behavioral addictions commonly go unnoticed, and many people with these problems suffer in the shadows. A person with a behavioral addiction...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-6

At some point in our lives, we all engage in behaviors that are risky or unwise—behaviors that, deep down, we know are not rational. We might gamble on the lottery even though we know that, statistically, the odds are firmly against us; or we might impulsively buy some clothing...

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2. What Does Behavioral Addiction Mean?

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pp. 7-27

Jeremy realized he had a problem controlling his use of Internet pornography. It was starting to destroy his work life and his marriage because he spent so much time on the Internet that his wife had started to distrust him. He went to see a therapist about the problem and...

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3. Gambling

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pp. 28-55

Marilyn is now 53 years old. She started gambling at the age of 50 after going to a riverboat casino with friends one Friday night. “I went with two friends for a night out, and I just loved it. Something about the casino made me forget my problems for a few hours, forget the...

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4. Stealing

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pp. 56-78

Janice started shoplifting in high school. At first she stole some inexpensive items on a dare. Not only did she not get into any trouble with the behavior, she discovered that she liked the feeling it created inside her—she felt powerful and nearly euphoric. She continued to steal...

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5. Sex

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pp. 79-101

Robert, a 38-year- old married man with two children, felt that he’d had a problem with pornography ever since he was an adolescent. He had started pornography use at about age 15 years and never stopped since. Over the last ten years, his use had increased, particularly...

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6. Internet

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pp. 102-117

Danny is a 19-year- old university student in the top 10 percent of his class who works part time as a laboratory assistant. He has many close friends and a good relationship with his family. He lives in a dormitory, where he shares a living room with five other friends but has...

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7. Food

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pp. 118-130

Theresa is a university student who since her early teens has had episodes of eating that make her feel out of control. She gained a lot of weight in high school, and her self-esteem plummeted. Other students bullied her at school because of her weight, and she felt ashamed of her...

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8. Shopping and Buying

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pp. 131-148

Diane is 38 years old and has two children in elementary school. She and her husband have full-time careers they love. Working downtown, Diane often meets colleagues from her office at a shopping mall for lunch. After lunch, she spends a little time looking through the...

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9. Hair Pulling and Skin Picking

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pp. 149-167

Serena is a 33-year- old single woman who owns her own business and describes pulling her hair out since the age of 14. “I remember I started by pulling my eyelashes and making a wish. There was something about it that just felt ‘right,’ and I couldn’t stop after that. About six...

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10. Causes of Behavioral Addictions

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pp. 168-184

It is natural to wonder why some people develop behavioral addictions and other people do not. In answering the question, “What causes mental illnesses?” we are addressing this very human need to know, and we are finding ways to intervene and help people avoid developing these...

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11. How Can Family Members and Friends Help?

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pp. 185-208

Timothy and Julia have been married for eight years, but Timothy found out about Julia’s kleptomania only when Julia was arrested a few months ago, at which time she had to disclose a ten-year history of shoplifting to her husband. Timothy was distraught. He wanted to be...

Resources

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pp. 209-214

Index

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pp. 215-220


E-ISBN-13: 9781421419671
E-ISBN-10: 142141967X
Print-ISBN-13: 9781421419664
Print-ISBN-10: 1421419661

Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2016

OCLC Number: 965462944
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Why Can't I Stop?

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Compulsive behavior.
  • Psychology, Pathological.
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