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Why can’t I stop?

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’This is primarily set out as a self-help book, which is also aimed at families who are facing this with a family member, so is not intended specifically for health care professionals.’

Title: Why can’t I stop?

Authors: Jon E Grant, Brian L Odlaug and Samuel R Chamberlain

Publisher: John Hopkins 

Reviewer: Lynne Partington, head of research, Evaluation and Technology, The End of Life Partnership, Cheshire

What was it like?

Dealing with a behavioural addiction or having a family member with a behavioural addiction can be challenging and often has serious consequences to the person’s physical, mental and social well-being.

The book starts off by introducing what behavioural addiction means and the general impact before differentiating between behavioural and substance addiction (although it also acknowledges the similarities). It then looks at seven different types of behaviours relating to gambling, internet, sexual behaviour, food, shopping and buying, compulsive stealing, hair-pulling and skin picking disorders.

What were the highlights?

This book provides a great insight into some relatively unknown and misunderstood areas.

It is clearly and systematically laid out, following a pattern for each addiction that includes how a diagnosis is made, how common is the disorder, key aspects, and treatment options and treatment recommendations. There is some tailoring depending on the type of disorder, for example, the section on compulsive buying distinguishes between other disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder and hoarding disorder.

Each section starts with an illustrative case study and discusses the types of treatment by drawing on life examples to good effect.

The book is well-resourced and introduces some key evidence and utilises up to date research throughout.

Strengths & weaknesses:

Each section ends with key points for individuals and family members, which are summarised succinctly for an easy review.

There is a chapter that has been written specifically for families entitled ”how can family members and friends help” that not only identifies ways in which the family member can offer support, but also acknowledges the impact that this may have on the family member.

The book is ambitious in its aims and covers a lot of different types of addictions, thus has limited focus on particular ones, which may feel a bit too general if you are seeking information about a specific area.

Who should read it?

This is primarily set out as a self-help book, which is also aimed at families who are facing this with a family member, so is not intended specifically for health care professionals. However, it is a book that could have some general appeal as it offers an evidence base to support patient care, but could equally have value for personal issues for readers and their families.

why cant i stop

why cant i stop

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