Synopses & Reviews
In this compelling book, we meet a man who can't let anyone get within a certain distance of his nose, two kleptomaniacs from very different walks of life, an Internet addict who chooses virtual life over real life, a professor with a dangerous gambling habit, and others with equally debilitating compulsive conditions. Writing with compassion, humor, and a deft literary touch, Elias Aboujaoude, an expert on obsessive compulsive disorder and behavioral addictions, tells stories inspired by memorable patients he has treated, taking us from initial contact through the stages of the doctor-patient relationship. Into these interconnected vignettes Aboujaoude weaves his own personal experiences while presenting up-to-date, accessible medical information. Rich in both meaning and symbolism, Compulsive Acts is a journey of personal growth and hope that illuminates a fascinating yet troubling dimension of human experience as it explores a group of potentially disabling conditions that are too often suffered in silence and isolation.
"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 fiance 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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
and#8220;Tells stories inspired by memorable patients . . . . Taking the reader from initial contact through the stages of the doctor-patient relationship.and#8221;
and#8220;Obscuring personal details, an expert on impulse control disorders writes of patients. . . . Hard to beat the first essay.and#8221;
"A wonderful read. These stories, written in a breezy, accessible style, illuminate several of the more mysterious and perplexing psychiatric ailments. Highly informative for both professional and lay readers."and#151;Irvin Yalom MD, author of Love's Executioner
"Dr. Aboujaoude is to be congratulated for writing such an important book. He writes lyrically about bizarre, yet entirely credible, cases of common, though poorly understood, compulsions. This book will go a long way in educating the general public, as well as professionals, with its state-of-the-art information about assessment, risk factors, and treatment of these conditions."and#151;Donald W. Black, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa
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.
Table of Contents
Psychiatry by the Dumpster
H2O under the Bridge
A Greek Tragedy
With Any Luck
One Eternity Drive