Can't Just Stop

An Investigation of Compulsions

Can't Just Stop

Using in-depth case studies to explore how we grapple with compulsion in ourselves and those we love, Can’t Just Stop examines the science behind both mild and extreme compulsive behavior—“a fascinating read about human behavior and how it can go haywire” (The Charlotte Observer).

Whether shopping with military precision or hanging the tea towels just so, compulsion is something most of us have witnessed in daily life. But compulsions exist along a broad continuum and, at the opposite end of these mild forms, exist life-altering disorders.

Sharon Begley’s meticulously researched book is the first to examine all of these behaviors together—from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) to hoarding, to compulsive exercise, even compulsions to do good. They may look profoundly different, but these behaviors are all ways of coping with varying degrees of anxiety. Sharing personal stories from dozens of interviewees, “Begley combines a personal topic with thoughtfulness and sensitivity” (Library Journal) and gives meaningful context to their plight. Along the way she explores the role of compulsion in our fast-paced culture, the brain science behind it, and strange manifestations of the behavior throughout history.

Can’t Just Stop makes compulsion comprehensible and accessible, with “fresh insight that could fundamentally alter how we think of, and treat, mental illness going forward” (Publishers Weekly).
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 304 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476725833 | 
  • February 2018
List Price $16.00 (price may vary by retailer)
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About the Author

Sharon Begley
© Kayana Szymczak

Sharon Begley

Sharon Begley is the senior science writer at STAT, the life sciences publication of The Boston Globe. She previously worked at Reuters, Newsweek, The Daily Beast, and The Wall Street Journal. She is the author of Can’t Just Stop; The Emotional Life of Your Brain (with Richard J. Davidson); Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain; and The Mind and the Brain (with Jeffrey Schwartz). She has received numerous awards for communicating science to the public.

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