An intimate look at the power of intrusive thoughts, how our brains can turn against us, and living with obsessive compulsive disorder
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, David Adam explores the weird thoughts that exist within every mind, and how they drive millions of us toward obsession and compulsion.
Adam, an editor at Nature and an accomplished science writer, has suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder 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, humor, 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.