Depression is an underrated illness that is not taken seriously enough. There are an estimated 16 million adults in the United States suffering from depression. Even though so many people have depression, there isn’t a lot known about it. Some people even see it as a “fake disease” that lazy people use as an excuse. It is not. Depression is a real mental illness that can have drastic side effects. It drags people into slumps, negative thoughts, and can even result in suicide. There are different levels of depression, different solutions, and different ways to cope with it.
What are the Best Depression Books to read?
The best way to understand this mental illness is through lengthy research. People with depression should learn about their mental illness. Loved ones of people with depression should learn about this mental illness. And honestly, so should everyone else. The 20 books listed will help anyone and everyone understand what depression is, and how it can affect the life of those diagnosed and others.
Best Self Help Books For Depression And Anxiety: Our Top 20 Picks
Here are some of the best depression books that you can consider to expand your knowledge on the subject:
1. Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression- And the Unexpected Solutions
Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression- And the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari is a book that helps readers understand depression and anxiety and where they come from. This book uses research from social scientists to garner an actual understanding on these emotional diseases. After explaining depression and anxiety, the book describes seven solutions for curing them. This book also explains the overuse of antidepressants and medication for these diseases.
This, however, is a bit biased. It praises getting the government involved in mental health. The author is very pro-obama. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does distract from the message in the book. This book is good for people who want to hear from an expert, though. Hari was diagnosed with depression and has taken antidepressants, so he understands what the readers are going through and what they want to hear.
- Author: Johann Hari (Author) – Johann Hari (Narrator)
- Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; First Edition edition (January 23, 2018)
- Pages: 336 pages
2. The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself From Chronic Unhappiness
The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself From Chronic Unhappiness by Mark Williams teaches readers to speak mindfulness. This book helps readers with the stressful emotions they have. It teaches them to cope with their life experiences, and break through their negative feelings.
This book explains just how trying to fix the unhappy feelings can sink people into a deeper depression. This book helps readers sidestep the issues that are holding them back, without focusing too much attention on them. This book uses other cases of depression as examples.
This book explains how exactly minds get stuck in a whirlwind of emotions that stays on a loop. It also explains the placebo effect of our feelings. This is a good book for readers of all levels. This book, however, is not for everyone.
- Authors: Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, Jon Kabat-Zinn
- Publisher: The Guilford Press; Paperback + CD-ROM edition (June 2, 2007)
- Pages: 273 pages
3. The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs
Depression is the lack of serotonin that leads to feelings of dejection and negativity. Of course, this is an over-simplified explanation. Anyone with depression would say it is much more, which it is.
The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs by Stephen S. Ilardi seeks to help cure depression with no mediciation. This six step program leads readers through certain topics: Brain Food, Don’t Think, Do, Antidepressant exercises, Let There Be Light, and Habits of Healthy Sleep.
This program is easy to follow and comprehensive. This book can be very helpful for the right person. It’s worth a try, but it doesn’t work for everyone. This book is practical, and can help people get themselves off of medication. This is a good start for anyone trying to learn simple steps for helping depression.
- Authors: Stephen S. Ilardi
- Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books; Reprint edition (June 1, 2010)
- Pages: 304 pages
4. Depression and Other Magic Tricks
People cope with depression in their own ways. They put in in their art, in their work, or in their writing. Depression and Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim is a book full of poems about depression, among other things. Benaim has the beautiful skill of articulating her words through poetry. She is smart, yet witty.
The book discusses love, family, and mental health. This book turns depression into an art form. Readers who do and don’t suffer from depression will enjoy reading this book. Anyone can relate to it. This book is about struggle, but it is also about success. There are all kinds of poems in here.
This book introduces readers to modern poetry. It is quick-witted, elegant, and has a lot of empathy. Benaim has a way of making herself friends with the readers without ever meeting them.
- Authors: Sabrina Benaim
- Publisher: Button Poetry (August 22, 2017)
- Pages: 96 pages
5. The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression
Depression can have an emotional toll on every aspect of life. The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon examines how depression has an effect on personal, cultural, and scientific terms. This book has all the latest research on treatments. Some of these treatments are for suicidal thoughts, postpartum depression, and more.
This book discusses depression with professionals, such as: philosophers, politicians, doctors, scientists, drug designers, and others who have been diagnosed with depression. This book combines all their thoughts, experiences, and research to provide the best solutions to depression.
This book is honest and humorous. This book researches every last detail of depression, and how it can really be a demon. This book does a great job of relating to the reader, and making sure they feel like they are not alone.
- Authors: Andrew Solomon
- Publisher: Scribner; New edition (May 19, 2015)
- Pages: 688 pages
6. The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Step at a Time
Depression is described as a downward spiral. Depression is a slump. It is difficult to claw out of it. But it doesn’t have to be. The Upward Spiral: Use Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Step at a Time by Alex Korb gives readers advice on pulling themselves out of that vortex of negative emotions. This book is all about the small changes that help reduce stressful thoughts. There is no large, straight-forward solution to curing depression and increasing positivity.
This book is practical. It helps relax muscles. It has advice for getting better on the individual’s terms. This book reshapes the brain. This book is based on scientific research on neuroscience, so it is based on facts. It is easy to read, and it is comprehensive. It reads well, and has plenty of steps for turning a downward spiral into an upward spiral.
- Authors: Alex Korb PhD
- Publisher: New Harbinger Publications; Illustrated edition (March 1, 2015)
- Pages: 240 pages
7. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple
Cognitive Behavior Therapy Made Simple by Seth G. Gillihan is a guide that helps with anxiety, depression, and other illnesses. The book focuses on 10 steps that manage the side effects of mental illnesses like panic, anger, and worry. This book has a simple approach to understanding cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy seems complicated, but it’s actually fairly simple. This book makes it even simpler.
This book encourages readers to get to know themselves, and treat themselves. Gillihan works to help readers reduce their anxiety and depression. Though this book doesn’t work for everyone, it does for some. This is a great introduction to cognitive behavioral therapy for those who have never used it. However, this is not a great book for those already know about it.
- Authors: Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D
- Publisher: Althea Press (May 22, 2018)
- Pages: 234 pages
8. Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn’t Teach You and Medications Can’t Give You
There are many proposed solutions to depression, but they don’t work for everyone. Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn’t Teach You and Medications Can’t Give You by Richard O’ Connor examines how people cope with depression on their own, and often overlook their own emotions. People with depression start to get used with it, and hide it. While this may seem like a good short-hand solution, it prevents full recovery. This book even has a mood journal.
Owners of this book can write down their own moods, and the ways they go to hide them. This book is an easy-read. It’s simple and straight-forward. The book is well researched and helps individuals discover what depression they have, and how it is unique to them.
- Authors: Richard O’Connor PhD
- Publisher: Little, Brown Spark; 2nd Revised edition (January 7, 2010)
- Pages: 384 pages
9. Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Its Cure
Spiritual depression can be the feeling of melancholy in religious life. It can be hard to fight and understand. It is related to depression, but it is not the same. Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Its Cure by David Martyn Lloyd-Jones is a book that explains all levels of spiritual depression. This book identifies the causes of spiritual depression. It faces them head on. This book is blunt and to the point.
The book handles issues such as: sin, regrets, fear, and emotions. This book is about studying, but also applying it to real life. Those who read this book will not reach the results they want if they don’t exercise what they are reading. Finding religion and beliefs and staying with them is a difficult task, especially without evidence. This book helps readers keep spirituality in their hearts, and fight off the spiritual depression that strains to be there, too.
- Authors: David Martyn Lloyd-Jones
- Publisher: Eerdmans; Reprinted edition (July 21, 1965)
- Pages: 300 pages
10. Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness
Depression and religion are not synonymous, but sometimes faith can help. Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness by Edward T. Welch is a book that combines God and depression. Obviously faith does not cure depression, but for those who are religious, and can be a good idea to combine faith with their disease. Welch uses this book to address depression and ways to cope with it through God. He uses faith to make light of the darkness that comes with depression. The book has a lot to do with religion, but it is also practical.
This book sees depression as pain. It uses scripture to prove that the suffering depression brings on is not worthless. It acknowledges depression instead of pretending it doesn’t exist. This is a great book for anyone with religion who suffers from depression or anxiety.
- Authors: Edward T. Welch
- Publisher: New Growth Press; 11.1.2011 edition (October 3, 2011)
- Pages: 257 pages
11. Catholic Guide to Depression
Catholic Guide to Depression by Aaron Kheriaty and John Cihak is a book that is based on the stories of many catholics who have suffered from depression, too. Not only have religious people had depression, but so have religious leaders. Depression does not see people for their power, wealth, or anything else. Some of the greatest leaders had depression.
This book explains how spirituality and medical treatments can work cohesively to treat depression. This book both explains depression and religion, and gives readers a better understanding on how to combine them. This book discusses treatments like therapy, medicine, and more. This is the perfect book for catholics suffering from depression. Religion and science work together to give readers the best solution to curing their depression, or at least easing it.
- Authors: Aaron Kheriaty
- Publisher: SOPHIA INSTITUTE PRESS; 9/15/12 edition (October 15, 2012)
- Pages: 247 pages
12. The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression: A Step by Step Program
The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression: A Step by Step Program by William J. Knaus is full of worksheets and exercises for using cognitive therapy. These exercises help readers learn skills for fighting their depression. This book helps control depression, and then prevent relapse.
The exercises also help readers leave their negative past behind, use behavior techniques that therapists often use, and find ways to effectively manage anxiety, stress, and anger. This book helps avoid procrastination and effectively treat depression. This book does a lot to help with the small problems, and the big ones.
However, at times it can be dense and over-simplified. Overall, it provides a lot of great information and research. The book is read step by step, so it’s easy to understand and follow along.
- Authors: William J. Knaus EdD , Albert Ellis PhD
- Publisher: New Harbinger Publications; Second edition (June 1, 2012)
- Pages: 336 pages
13. It’s Not Always Depression
Believe it or not, there is a difference between being sad and being depressed. It’s Not Always Depression by Hillary Jacobs Hendel has many stories of people who have suffered from anxiety and depression, and how they treated it. This book helps readers connect to their emotions, depression, and their authentic self. The people treated in this book didn’t actually have depression or anxiety, though. They had all experienced trauma in their youth, which had made them put up emotional barriers that had been mistaken for depression.
This book is particularly for those who think they could have depression, but are not sure. This book helps readers move forward from those traumatic events. All emotions have value, even if it isn’t a medically diagnosed emotion. This book is great for people with emotions of all levels.
- Authors: Hilary Jacobs Hendel , Diana Fosha
- Publisher: Random House (February 6, 2018)
- Pages: 320 pages
14. The 10- Step Depression Relief Workbook: A Cognitive Behavior Therapy Approach
The 10-Step Depression Relief Workbook: A Cognitive Behavior Therapy Approach by Simon Rego and Sarah Fader is an effective workout that helps readers understand cognitive behavior therapy with a simple step by step approach. The book helps readers with a personal plan, exercises based on them, and a strategy that helps them be the best versions of themselves that they can be.
This book gives readers guidance in their time of need. It’s an easy read that is simple for them to follow. They don’t have to read between the lines. Everything the reader needs to know is outlined in this book. This book makes readers write down the thoughts they are having, and live with them. This is the perfect book for people who are too caught up in their heads to confront their illness.
- Authors: Simon Rego PsyD , Sarah Fader
- Publisher: Althea Press; Workbook edition (January 9, 2018)
- Pages: 180 pages
15. How Hard it Really is: A Short, Honest Book About Depression
Depression is a serious mental illness that is easy to overlook. It is just as serious as any other illness, like the flu or strep throat. There are good days and bad days. Unlike these diseases, depression doesn’t ever go away. It could only be masked by medication and exercises. How Hard it Really is: A Short Honest Book About Depression by J.S. Park helps readers understand how depression exists, and what it means.
This book is great for people with depression, but it’s also great for people without it. It is an quick, straight-forward book with all the facts on depression. Family and friends of people with depression can gather worthy information from this book. It helps them get to know what their loved one is going through without judgement.
- Authors: J S Park
- Publisher: TWE Media; 1 edition (July 19, 2017)
- Pages: 200 pages
16. Talking to Depression: Simple Ways to Connect When Someone in Your Life is Depressed
There are so many books on depression, but few for those who are connected to someone with depression. Talking to Depression: Simple Ways to Connect When Someone in Your Life is Depressed by Claudia J. Strauss is a book written for the family and friends of someone diagnosed with depression.
This book guides readers on understanding their loved one, and how depression is affecting them. Strauss gives advice for helping readers say and do the right thing when talking with the depressed loved ones in their life. This book avoids frustration and pain. This book is very helpful and easy to read. This is a basic book on depression that isn’t over-complicated or too long. This is the perfect book for those who are struggling to connect with their loved one with depression.
- Authors: Claudia J. Strauss , Martha Manning
- Publisher: Berkley (January 6, 2004)
- Pages: 224 pages
17. Perfectly Hidden Depression: How to Break Free from Perfectionism That Masks Your Depression
Sometimes the happiest people are just the opposite. Perfectly Hidden Depression: How to Break Free From Perfectionism That Makes Your Depression by Margaret Rutherford Robinson teaches its readers to be vulnerable. It’s hard to get help without asking for it. This book helps readers open up about their feelings and depression, instead of hiding it. Rutherford helps readers understand why they’re feeling they need to be perfect, and why they have shame for their depression.
This book has tips for calming the readers, and getting them to seek the help they need. It helps them quiet the inner, nagging voice in their head. This book helps people with depression, but it also helps readers who need to identify people with depression, or want to help their family and friends. Best of all, this book has sections for journaling and annotating.
- Authors: Margaret Robinson Rutherford PhD , Jennifer Marshall
- Publisher: New Harbinger Publications (November 1, 2019)
- Pages: 216 pages
18. The Depression Workbook for Teens: Tools to Improve Your Mood, Build Self-Esteem, and Stay Motivated
About 20% of teens suffer from depression. That is a gruesome statistic, especially considering all the stress they go through in high school, and applying to colleges. The Depression Workbook for Teens: Tools to Improve Your Mood, Build Self-Esteem, and Stay Motivated by Katie Hurley is a great book for teens suffering from depression. It helps them in a way that is simple for them to understand, because it is directed at them. This book helps them stay motivated through their stressful situations.
This book includes cognitive behavior therapy, exercises that help them vanquish their depression, and evolve skills that will make them build their well being. The book has fun and exciting tools, too. The book has journaling prompts, quizzes, conversations starters, and so much more. This is a perfect introduction to depression and how to cope with it for teens.
- Authors: Katie Hurley LCSW
- Publisher: Althea Press (October 1, 2019)
- Pages: 162 pages
19. When Someone You Know Has Depression: Words to Say and Things to Do
When Someone You Know Has Depression: Words to Say and Things to Do by Susan J. Noonan is the perfect book for people who know someone with depression, but don’t know to act around them. This book helps readers understand what to say and what to do. Saying the wrong thing can lead to more pain, so those connected to someone with depression should be prepared for any situation.
This book does not only help people connected to someone with depression, but also helps the friends and family of people with bipolar disorder as well. This book draws from medical and scientific research to provide the best information for readers. This book is factual, informative, and easy to read. This is a very simple and straight-forward book on depression.
- Authors: Susan J. Noonan
- Publisher: JHUP; 1 edition (June 1, 2016)
- Pages: 160 pages
20. Healing Depression for Life: The Personalized Approach that Offers New Hope for Lasting Relief
Depression is getting easier to live with. Research and treatments are improving. Healing Depression for Life: The Personalized Approach That Offers New Hope for Lasting Relief by Gregory L. Jantz is a book that offers new hope for those who suffer from depression. This book looks into finding a lasting relief to depression, and not just a temporary one.
The book is split into three parts: mind, soul, and body. The book analyzes each of these parts, and how depression affects them. It includes a personal action plan for confronting depression. The tools with this help with self-assessment. Readers of this book can also help with writing, and journaling. This is a great self-help book that helps readers understand depression and how it affects them. It has exercises and activities that help engage the brain and fight off negative feelings.
- Authors: Gregory L. Jantz Ph.D. , Keith Wall
- Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (August 6, 2019)
- Pages: 272 pages
Choosing the Best Depression Books
These books have plenty of information on depression. They help readers understand the mental illness they or their loved ones are coping with. There are self-help exercises, tips, advice, and more in these books. There are journals, and places for those affected by depression to express their feelings. These books are in no way a solution or cure for depression, but they can help. It is dependent on the reader to find the book for them, and tune in to their own needs. These are only few of many books on depression that are sure to help.