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Depression is a mental health condition that can disrupt people’s lives. It can cause various negative feelings, such as anger and sadness. Doctors may prescribe medications to treat the symptoms, but people can also read books to learn more about the condition and find coping strategies for themselves or loved ones.
A quick look at the best books about depression:
- Best for stabilizing emotions: Depression-Free, Naturally
- Best for managing mood: Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
- Best for understanding depression: This Is Depression
- Best for positivity: Learned Hopefulness: The Power of Positivity to Overcome
- Best for understanding CBT: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple
- Best for shared experience: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
- Best for stress management: 101 Ways to Be Less Stressed
- Best for overcoming negative thoughts: Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts
- Best for parental understanding: Parenting the New Teen in the Age of Anxiety
- Best for self-doubt: The Happiness Trap
- Best for self-kindness: Self Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself
This article explores depression in more detail and looks at some of the books available for purchase. It also discusses the benefits and downsides of books about depression.
Depression is a condition that can affect individuals of any age, including children.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that
The National Alliance on Mental Illness notes that the symptoms can include:
- lack of interest in engaging in everyday activities
- difficulty concentrating
- suicidal thoughts
- less energy than usual
- changes in appetite
We chose which books to include in this article based on the following criteria:
- Reviews: The books we chose have a high rating based on readers’ reviews.
- Format: The books are available in Kindle, paperback, and hardcover versions.
- Author background: The author or authors have a doctorate or master’s degree. Some also host podcasts or offer online training.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
Best for stabilizing emotions: Depression-Free, Naturally
The full title of this book is Depression-Free, Naturally: 7 Weeks to Eliminating Anxiety, Despair, Fatigue, and Anger from Your Life. It provides advice on how to identify emotional and behavioral symptoms and stabilize mood shifts. It can also help individuals choose vitamins and minerals that may reduce depression and anxiety.
The author, Dr. Joan Mathews Larson, holds a doctorate in nutrition and is the founder and executive director of the Health Recovery Center in Minneapolis.
This book has an average review rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon and is available to purchase on Kindle for about $14, as a hardcover for about $25, and in paperback for close to $16.
Best for managing mood: Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy is a book that is suitable for people who want to treat their depression without using medications.
The author, Dr. David D. Burns, is a psychiatrist and researcher who hosts training programs for mental health professionals.
The book aims to help people reduce depression by building various skills, including:
- recognizing the causes of their mood shifts
- dealing with guilt
- handling criticism
- being positive
This book has a 4.3-star rating on Amazon, and it costs about $15 on Kindle, $18 in paperback, and $40 in hardcover.
Best for understanding depression: This Is Depression
Dr. Diane McIntosh wrote this book, the full title of which is This is Depression: A Comprehensive, Compassionate Guide for Anyone Who Wants to Understand Depression, for both people who have depression and those who want to learn more about the condition and its treatment options.
The book describes the factors that can lead to depression. It also explains how to discuss depression with doctors, friends, and colleagues and how antidepressant medication works.
Dr. McIntosh is a psychiatrist and has written several mental health articles for HuffPost.
This Is Depression has an average customer rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars, and a person can buy a Kindle version for about $10 or get it in paperback for close to $18.
Best for positivity: Learned Hopefulness: Harnessing the Power of Positivity
This book, Learned Hopefulness: Harnessing the Power of Positivity to Overcome Depression, Increase Motivation, and Build Unshakable Resilience, by Dr. Dan Tomasulo is for individuals who feel hopeless but want to live life with positivity.
It helps readers identify their strengths and feel motivated so that they can plan their future with a positive outlook.
The author has a doctorate in psychology, a master of fine arts in writing, and a master of applied positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. He also works as a review editor for Frontiers in Psychology.
Learned Hopefulness has a 4.7-star average rating on Amazon and costs about $10 for the Kindle version or $17 for paperback versions. Individuals can purchase the audio CD for approximately $20.
Best for understanding CBT:Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple
In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple: 10 Strategies for Managing Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Panic, and Worry, Dr. Seth J. Gillihan provides a person with 10 strategies to help them manage their anxiety, depression, anger, panic, and worry.
People who read this book can learn how to identify negative thoughts and replace them with positive and motivating feelings.
On Amazon, the book has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars, and it is available on Kindle and paperback for about $13. Individuals can also listen to the audiobook via Audible.
Best for shared experience: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
In Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb, readers hear from five individuals receiving therapy, including the author herself. The book describes the scenarios in which these people find themselves and the viewpoints that they have on life.
Gottlieb is a psychotherapist and a New York Times bestselling author. She also contributes to The Atlantic’s weekly advice column.
The book has a 4.7-star rating on Amazon and is available in Kindle for $14. The hardcover and paperback versions are available for around $13 and $19.
Best for stress management: 101 Ways to Be Less Stressed
101 Ways to Be Less Stressed: Simple Self-Care Strategies to Boost Your Mind, Mood, and Mental Health is a book by Dr. Caroline Leaf that aims to help individuals with anxiety and depression reduce stress and boost their mood.
The author focuses on mental self-care to help readers deal with difficult situations and achieve their goals.
The publication has many positive reviews, with an overall rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars.
A person can purchase the Kindle and hardcover versions for about $14. It is also available as an audiobook or audio CD.
Best for overcoming negative thoughts: Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts
In Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts: A CBT-Based Guide to Getting Over Frightening, Obsessive, or Disturbing Thoughts, Sally M. Winston and Martin N. Seif explore different types of disturbing and frightening thoughts.
They discuss how a person can control their mind and learn to cope and live with thoughts that may scare them.
The book has an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon. People can buy the paperback version for about $10 and the Kindle and hardcover versions for between $15 and $30.
Best for parental understanding: Parenting the New Teen in the Age of Anxiety
Parenting the New Teen in the Age of Anxiety: A Complete Guide to Your Child’s Stressed, Depressed, Expanded, Amazing Adolescence is written for those with children who might find social, academic, and family life difficult and potentially experience anxiety and depression as a result.
It helps parents or caregivers develop a plan to address teenagers’ needs and deal with their changing minds.
The author, Dr. John Duffy, is a clinical psychologist and podcaster with a more-than-20-year-old practice.
The book has a 4.6-star average rating on Amazon, and the Kindle and paperback versions are available for around $16. Audiobooks and audio CDs are available.
Best for self-doubt: The Happiness Trap
The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living: A Guide to ACT aims to help individuals free themselves from depression, anxiety, and insecurities.
Russ Harris uses
The book has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon, and it costs about $14 on Kindle and $20 in paperback. An audiobook is available.
Best for self-kindness: Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself
In her book, Dr. Kristin Neff helps individuals overcome insecurity, limit self-criticism, and live a fulfilled life.
She provides a step-by-step guide to help people use self-compassion to overcome damaging emotional patterns. She also includes personal stories and practical exercises for dealing with parenting, weight loss, and other tasks that people can often find challenging.
The book has an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars, and a person can purchase the Kindle version for about $15 or the paperback for close to $12.
A person should carry out research before choosing a book about depression to ensure that they select one that meets their need and has a reputable author.
Some of the factors that a person should consider include:
- Author information: Books typically include a short description of the author. A person should check that the writer is a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, or mental health professional who can provide learned advice about depression.
- Specialty: A person may wish to look for the book that best describes their situation — for example, a difficult relationship or a past trauma. Alternatively, they may want one that focuses on the depression-related symptoms they would like to learn more about, such as troubling thoughts.
- Format: A person may prefer to buy a book in a Kindle, paperback, or hardcover version. Some are also available as audiobooks.
- Rating: Although people will have different opinions on a book, an overall positive rating is a good indication of the content’s quality and usefulness.
Here we look at some of the benefits and downsides of these books about depression:
- A choice of formats is available, including audio, Kindle, and paperback.
- There are options to suit different readerships.
- The authors are mental health professionals.
- The subject matter may bring up painful memories for some people.
- Some topics have the potential to overwhelm a person.
- Some format options may not provide privacy from family members, if that is required.
There are many books about depression that will benefit different people in different ways.
Many authors provide the reader with tips on how to discuss their symptoms with a friend, relative, or doctor. Their books may also help people overcome negative thoughts to reach their goals.
Individuals can look for books about depression online or at their local bookstore. They may find customer reviews helpful when researching their options.