Mary K. Tatum is a licensed mental health counselor and psychotherapist and has worked in the field of psychology for over 15 years, with seven years in the private practice setting.
Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products, and articles are reviewed by healthcare professionals for medical accuracy. You can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Depression affects both the mind and the body and is much more than just feeling sad for a while. Depression squashes motivation for even the simplest of tasks and creates feelings of hopelessness and despair.
Depression is like a barometer: it tells us that something is wrong, but it doesn’t tell us what is wrong. Complicating the condition is the fact that it is experienced differently by each person, so an individualized treatment plan is essential for recovery.
Self-help books can be a useful tool in the overall picture of successful treatment. They can be used alone but shouldn’t substitute for treatment options like talk therapy and medication. Self-help books can even help to speed up the positive effects of talk therapy as self-study efforts provide added topics for processing in the therapy room.
Here is a list of the best books for depression, according to experts.Our Top PicksThis Is Depression at AmazonPsychiatrist Diane McIntosh explains depression’s many facets as well as various treatment options available.Feeling Great at AmazonThis book addresses depression in two ways: decreasing depressed feelings while increasing positive feelings for faster relief.Learned Hopefulness at AmazonDr. Tomasulo’s book comes from the field of positive psychology, which is gaining popularity in the talk therapy world.Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple at AmazonDr. Gillihan uses a holistic approach to help readers identify patterns of thought that are holding them back from their goals.Unlearning Anxiety & Depression at AmazonThe approach in this book argues that healthier thought and living habits would lead to happier feelings.Maybe You Should Talk to Someone at AmazonIf there was ever proof that helpers are not above needing help themselves at times, this book is it.Your Happiness Toolkit at AmazonWith techniques included for people in drug and alcohol recovery, this book focuses on drug-free methods of coping.101 Ways to Be Less Stressed at AmazonThis book offers many strategies to experiment with and determine which ones are most helpful for each person.Grief Works at AmazonPsychotherapist Julia Samuel provides stories and sound guidance to navigate the complicated healing journey of grieving.Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts at AmazonPsychotherapist Sally Winston teaches how to take back control of your brain and quickly curb intrusive thoughts.
This Is Depression
The first step to healing depression is understanding exactly what it is. In this book, psychiatrist Diane McIntosh explains its many facets as well as various treatment options available to help the reader make confident decisions about what treatment to pursue.
An important benefit of understanding depression is being able to explain it and discuss it with friends, family members, and health care professionals. One of the most effective antidotes to depression is having an understanding and supportive community.
What Experts Say
According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression is a serious medical illness that affects the ways you think, feel, and act. It causes feelings of worthlessness, sadness, and loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. Along with other symptoms, it impacts your ability to function at work or home and lasts longer than a period of two weeks.1 These symptoms can be mild, moderate, or severe. The risk factors for depression can include genetic make-up, brain chemistry, environmental factors, poor diet, vitamin deficiency, a toxic relationship, loss, self-deprecating thought patterns, poor sleep, long-term loneliness, and lack of good physical
Dr. Burns wrote this book after 40 years of research and over 40,000 hours spent treating people who struggle with depression as a psychiatrist. This theory of treatment looks at being able to listen to negative thoughts as important messages from your body rather than feelings to be completely avoided.
The book addresses depression in two ways: simultaneously decreasing depressed feelings while increasing positive feelings to bring faster relief.