Review: David Adam – The Man Who Couldn’t Stop

The Man Who Couldn’t Stop
David Adam

There’s no such thing as ‘a little bit OCD’. People with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can’t stop their thoughts. They might obsess about germs, AIDs or burning the house down. Or they might fear they will steal money or stab their own baby. They perform compulsive rituals in order to prevent their thoughts from coming true, but it never goes away. Nor do the thoughts usually come true. It’s just a bit of brain biology / mind psychology gone wrong.

9781447259374This novel is a bit of a mix between memoir, textbook and examples. It doesn’t profess to provide any concrete answers. Instead it explores the history of OCD, different interesting cases of OCD and indeed the almighty DSM-5 that is used for categorizing mental illness everywhere.

I learnt about the difference between OCD and OCPD. So many people who say they are ‘a little OCD’ might have OCPD (obsessive compulsive personality disorder), but in fact they have nothing like OCD. For an OCD sufferer, their life is hell. I’ll keep that in mind, and next time someone gives me that line, maybe instead we can have an honest conversation about mental illness and how things are. It is one thing to accept mental illness, and another to trivialise it.

You don’t have OCD? You don’t know anyone with OCD? You’ve somehow never heard about it? Seriously. Get on and read this novel. You won’t be disappointed.

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