25 Books That Will Help You Better Understand Mental Illness & Disorders

Books for mental health

Health is not just about what we eat, drink, and workout but it is also what we think, say and read.
When we say ‘health’ we mean overall health of a person that includes physical health, emotional health, psychological or mental health, and social behavior.
Here we are going to discuss 25 books that will help you better understand mental illness, disorders, and recovery-


1. Mental Health: A Person-Centred Approach by Nicholas Procter, Helen P. Hamer, Denise McGarry, Rhonda L. Wilson, and Terry Froggatt.

Mental Health: A Person-Centred Approach is an easy book that not only enhances readers’ understanding of mental health, mental illness, and recovery but it urges beginners to understand theory with practice also.
The book explains basic humanistic concepts in a detailed way; It is a valuable resource to understand mental health.


2. How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body, by David R. Hamilton.
In this book the author David Hamilton has explained the connection between the human body and mind at the cellular level. The book contains a vast list of the uses of imagery as a tool to heal chronic pain and some other physical problems. It also covers the physical triggers that cause mental health problems.
The book deeply explains the impact of poor mental health on the human body and it urges readers to take charge of their overall well being.


3. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT): Basics and Beyond, by Judith S. Beck, Aaron T. Beck.
Cognitive behavior therapy is an integrated part of psychotherapy and counseling. CBT is considered the most valuable tool to help people suffering from mental illness.
This book contains the basics of cognitive behavior therapy and through step by step approaches at advance levels of CBT. This is a very good book to know how can one use one’s own thoughts and emotions to troubleshoot one’s difficulties.


4. Madness: A Bipolar Life, by Marya Hornbacher.
The book, Madness: a bipolar life is a nice literary instrument to understand bipolar disorder. The author Marya Hornbacher has deeply explained the mood swings, self-harm, substance abuse, and anorexia in this book.


5. Shadows in the Sun: Healing from Depression and Finding the Light Within, by Gayathri Ramprasad

The Writer from Bangalore has presented her past in this book, how she fights with depression she was carrying
from a long time, and how spirituality, yoga, and medicine helped her healing. This memoir of her, can help you to understand depression in a practical way.


6. Trauma and Recovery, by Judith Lewis Herman
Trauma and Recovery is the extensive research book of the author Judith Herman. It offers a long history of psychological effects of major traumas like domestic violence, sexual abuse, combat, and terror, etc. This book is an honest and outstanding exploration of the frequently misunderstood disorder PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).


7. Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness, by William Styron
Though this memoir of William Styron is a little old it is quite relevant to modern age depression.
It gives us the courage to battle with depression and making the choice to live.


8. The Man Who Couldn’t Stop: OCD and the True Story of a Life Lost in Thought, by David Adam
This book is the work of David Adam, in which he explained how he explored his mind and history of a condition that makes that mind abnormal. The Man Who Couldn’t Stop: OCD and the True Story of a Life Lost in Thought, is the book that helps many readers to understand the obsessive-compulsive disorder.


9. Willow Weep for Me: A Black Woman’s Journey Through Depression, by Meri Nana-Ama Danquah
It is another memoir that illuminates a dark story of depression. It is the memoir of a black lady Danquah who experienced many challenges in her life as a young single mother. This is the story of how she understood her own depression and how willingly she sought help.


10. Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression, by Brooke Shields
It is the one memoir that can describe the depression of many women who experience the same after giving birth. Brooke Shields has written each and every single struggle that could be related to postpartum depression, her condition before pregnancy during the pregnancy, and after the birth of her daughter, her postpartum depression, and recovery on her own.


11. Loud in the House of Myself: Memoir of a Strange Girl, by Stacy Pershall
By reading this memoir you can understand bipolar disorder, bulimia, anorexia, and borderline personality disorder. The author was diagnosed with bipolar and borderline personality disorder and later she was diagnosed with anorexia and bulimia. In her memoir she presented her struggles honestly and in dark funny ways.


12. Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania, Andy Behrman
If you wish to understand bipolar disorder this memoir of Andy Behrman is for you.
He was misdiagnosed; house arrested and later had gone under electroshock therapy, all of his life incidents are captured in this hilarious memoir.


13. The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness, by Elyn R. Saks
A law professor is telling about her obsessions, nightmares as a child, hallucinations, and suicidal tendencies as an adult and time spent in the psych ward for the treatment and at the end the victory over schizophrenia. To understand schizophrenia, its symptoms, and treatment, etc, this book of Elyn Saks is considered one of the best books.


14. Lay My Burden Down: Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis Among African-Americans by Alvin Poussaint and Amy Alexander
The book offers a comparison between black Americans and the predominantly white healthcare industry. Good for them who want to study suicidal tendencies and know the different types of depression.


15. A Bright Red Scream: Self-Mutilation and the Language of Pain, by Marilee Strong
The book, a bright red scream…. is the appropriate explanation of why self-harm happens, what it accomplishes for those who do it, and how they can recover.


16. In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction, by Gabor Maté
After decades of looking at addiction and experiencing in treating it as a doctor, Canadian physician Gabor Mate has written all his investigations, causes of addiction, struggles of people with the addiction, and treatments in the form of this book.


17. FAST MINDS: How to Thrive If You Have ADHD (Or Think You Might), by Craig Surman and Tim Bilkey
This book educates and empowers anybody who lives with ADHD (Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder). People with ADHD may be forgetful, impulsive, time-challenged, distractible and motivationally challenged, these symptoms affect the daily life of the victim of ADHD. This book offers what a person can try to manage all these symptoms.


18. This Fragile Life: A Mother’s Story of a Bipolar Son by Charlotte Pierce-Baker
This memoir of Professor Charlotte P Baker is a heartbreaking story of a mother learning how best she can support her son who is suffering from bipolar disorder. It is not only a story of mental illness but family bonds woven within it. A must-read for them who want to know every aspect of bipolar disorder.


19. An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness, by Kay Redfield Jamison
This is a unique work by Dr. Jamison, he has described the depression and bipolar disorder from two opposite sides, one who treats it and the other side who is being treated. One must read this book to improve one’s understandings of bipolar disorder and depression.


20. The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, by Andrew Solomon
This award-winning book contains writers’ own experiences of depression along with his interviews with doctors, scientists, politicians, philosophers, and other people living with depression.


21. The Buddha and the Borderline: A Memoir, by Kiera Van Gelder
The writer of this book attempted suicide for the first time when she was twelve years old and after that failed attempt there was a long struggle in her life with drug addiction, self-harm, depression and so many unhealthy relationships. Twenty years later at the age of 32 she diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder. In her memoir she illuminates all the incidents of her life, the recovery process, and the triumph over borderline disorder.


22. Irritable Hearts: A PTSD Love Story, by Mac McClelland
Mac McClelland, a human rights journalist reported a misfortunate event, a disastrous earthquake in 2010. When she came back to her home in California she was having the lasting effects of the trauma she had witnessed. How she investigated her own mind and in the process of her recovery she met a man with the same PTSD disorder what happened then, is the story of this book.


23. The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness, by Lori Schiller and Amanda Bennett

The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness, is the story of a model who diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 23. It chronicles her struggles, years of hospitalizations, suicide attempts, hopelessness, and ultimately her survival.

24. My Body Is a Book of Rules, by Elissa Washuta
This is the story of a woman who had taken the wrong mood stabilizers; her recovery from sexual trauma is helpful to understand bipolar disorder, eating disorder, and suicidal tendencies.


25. Just Checking: Scenes From the Life of an Obsessive-Compulsive, by Emily Colas

This memoir Just Checking: Scenes From the Life of an Obsessive-Compulsive,  is an unsparing account of OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder)- honest but not so heavy. But it manages to be both specific enough to speak those who also live with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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