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Hitting the Books: Your Must-Have Depression Reading List

Patient expert Deborah Gray assembles the best books on depression, whether you're a patient or a loved one, a teenager, child or adult.

By Deborah Gray
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If you've been diagnosed with depression, one of the most important steps toward finding effective treatment is educating yourself about the illness. If you’re the caregiver of a depression patient, reading the best material about depressive disorders will help you understand your loved one’s experience and how you can best help them back to sound mental health. Below you’ll find a list of the books that have been most helpful to me in my journey with depression.

General Depression Books

You Mean I Don't Have to Feel This Way? New Help for Depression, Anxiety and Addiction, by Colette Dowling

This book is a good primer on depression. This is one of the first books I read after being diagnosed, and I still think it's one of the best, especially as the author's daughter, who suffered from depression, contributed to it.

Overcoming Depression: The Definitive Resource for Patients and Families Who Live With Depression and Manic-Depression, by Demitri Papolos, M.D., and Janice Papolos

One of the first, and still one of the best, books on depression for the layperson, it’s a good complement to a book like “You Mean I Don’t Have to Feel This Way?” as it covers the more technical and medical aspects of the disorder and treatment.

Talking About Depression

You Are Not Alone: Words of Experience and Hope for the Journey Through Depression, by Julia Thorne

Depression sufferers share their thoughts and feelings about the experience of depression. In its own way, this is a groundbreaking book. No one had ever published a book composed simply of conversations with depressed people. But it is very comforting for anyone with depression to have their feelings about their own mental and emotional state validated.

On the Edge of Darkness: America's Most Celebrated Actors, Journalists and Politicians Chronicle Their Most Arduous Journey, by Kathy Cronkite

This is an essential book for anyone who wants to know more about depression. My copy is dog-eared. Cronkite discusses her own depression and interviews well-known people about their depression and that of loved ones. She intersperses the interviews with solid information about depression and its treatment.

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