The 11 Best Books for Depression of 2021, According to an Expert

Depression

The 11 Best Books for Depression of 2021, According to an Expert

264 million people worldwide live with depression.* Our World Data

In 2017, around 17.3 million adults age 18 or older in the U.S. had experienced at least one major depressive episode in the last year (6.7% of adults in the U.S.).* (National Institute of Mental Health)

  • Types of Depression
  • ADAA Resources
  • Additional Resources

Losing a loved one, getting fired from a job, going through a divorce, and other difficult situations can lead a person to feel sad, lonely and scared. These feelings are normal reactions to life's stressors.

Most people feel low and sad at times. However, in the case of individuals who are diagnosed with depression as a psychiatric disorder, the manifestations of the low mood are much more severe and they tend to persist.

Depression occurs more often in women than men. Some differences in the manner in which the depressed mood manifests have been found sex and age. In men it manifests often as tiredness, irritability and anger. They may show more reckless behavior and abuse drugs and alcohol.

They also tend to not recognize that they are depressed and fail to seek help. In women depression tends to manifest as sadness, worthlessness, and guilt. In younger children depression is more ly to manifest as school refusal, anxiety when separated from parents, and worry about parents dying.

Depressed teenagers tend to be irritable, sulky, and get into trouble in school. They also frequently have co-morbid anxiety, eating disorders, or substance abuse.

In older adults depression may manifest more subtly as they tend to be less ly to admit to feelings of sadness or grief and medical illnesses which are more common in this population also contributes or causes the depression.  

Types of Depression

There are different types of depressive disorders, and while there are many similarities among them, each depressive disorder has its own unique set of symptoms.

The most commonly diagnosed form of depression is Major Depressive Disorder. In 2017, around 17.3 million aged 18 years or older in the U.S.

had experienced at least one major depressive episode in the last year, which represented 6.7 percent of all American adults. Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States among people ages 15-44.

  View the SAMSHA website for statistics from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Major depression is characterized by having at least five nine common symptoms. One of the symptoms must be either an overwhelming feeling of sadness or a loss of interest and pleasure in most usual activities.

The other symptoms that are associated with major depression include decrease or increase in appetite, insomnia or hypersomnia, psychomotor agitation or retardation, constant fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or excessive and inappropriate guilt, recurrent thoughts of death and suicidal ideation with or without specific plans for committing suicide, and cognitive difficulties, such as, diminished ability to think, concentrate and take decisions. The symptoms must persist for two weeks or longer and represent a significant change from previous functioning. Social, occupational, educational, or other important functioning are impacted by major depressive disorder. For instance, the person may start missing work or school, or stop going to classes or their usual social activities. 

Another type of depression is called Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia).

The essential feature of this mood disorder is a low, dark or sad mood that is persistently present for most of the day and on most days, for at least 2 years (children and adolescents may experience predominantly irritability and the mood persist for at least 1 year).

For the individual to receive the diagnosis of persistent depressive disorder they should also have two of the diagnostic symptoms which include poor appetite or overeating, insomnia or hypersomnia, low energy or fatigue, low self-esteem, poor concentration, difficulty making decisions, or feelings of hopelessness.

During this period, any symptom-free intervals last no longer than two months. The symptoms are not as severe as with major depression. Major depression may precede persistent depressive disorder, and major depressive episodes may also occur during persistent depressive disorder.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is another manifestation of depression which is a severe and sometimes disabling extension of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Although regular PMS and Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) both have physical and emotional symptoms, the mood changes in PMDD are much more severe and can disrupt social, occupational, and other important areas of functioning.

In both PMDD and PMS, symptoms usually begin seven to 10 days before the start of a menstrual period and continue for the first few days of the period. Both PMDD and PMS may also cause breast tenderness, bloating, fatigue, and changes in sleep and eating habits.

PMDD is characterized by emotional and behavioral symptoms that are more severe, such as sadness or hopelessness, anxiety or tension, extreme moodiness, irritability or anger.

Some medical conditions can trigger depressive symptoms in individuals. This is called depressive disorder due to another medical condition. Endocrine and reproductive system disorders are commonly associated with depressive symptoms.

For example, people with low levels of the thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) often experience fatigue, weight gain, irritability, memory loss, and low mood. When the hypothyroidism is treated it usually reduces the depression. Cushing's syndrome is another hormonal disorder caused by high levels of the hormone cortisol which can also cause depressive symptoms.

Other conditions that have been found to cause depression include conditions such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes, strokes, Parkinson’s disease etc.

Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood is diagnosed when symptoms of depression are triggered within 3 months of onset of a stressor. The stressor usually involves a change of some kind in the life of the individual which he/she finds stressful.

Sometimes the stressor can even be a positive event such as a new job, marriage, or baby which is nevertheless stressful for the individual. The distress is typically proportion to the expected reaction and the symptoms cause significant distress and impairment in functioning.

The symptoms typically resolve within 6 months when the person begins to cope and adapt to the stressor, or when the stressor is removed.

Treatment tends to be time limited and relatively simple since some additional support during the stressful period helps the person recover and adapt.

Another type of depression is related to changes in the length of days or seasonality. This type of depression is called Seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

People with SAD suffer the symptoms of a Major Depressive Disorder only during a specific time of year, usually winter.

This appears to be related to the shorter days of winter, and the lack of sunlight in many parts of the country.

Depression and Anxiety Disorders: Not the Same

Depression and anxiety disorders are different, but people with depression often experience symptoms similar to those of an anxiety disorder, such as nervousness, irritability, and problems sleeping and concentrating. But each disorder has its own causes and its own emotional and behavioral symptoms.

Many people who develop depression have a history of an anxiety disorder earlier in life. There is no evidence one disorder causes the other, but there is clear evidence that many people suffer from both disorders.

Sleep and Anxiety and Depression

  • Anxiety, Stress, Depression and Sleep
  • Sleep Disorders

Sources:

1. NIMH: Depression Basics
2. View the NIMH website for statistics from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health3. American Psychiatric Association. (2013).

Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

4. Sadock, B. J., Sadock, V. A., & Ruiz, P. (2009).

Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry (Ninth edition.) Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer.

Additional Resources

  • Some of the best books about depression in 2021, Medical News Today
  • BlueCross BlueShield
  • Child Mind Insititute
  • Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
  • Depression Stories on The Mighty
  • Disability Benefits
  • Faster and Easier Approaches for Improving Patients' Depression Treatment Outcomes, CareForYourMind.org, ADAA Member Michael Thase, MD
  • HeadsUpGuys
  • Hope for Depression Research Foundation
  • I Had a Black Dog, His Name Was Depression
  • Let's Talk About Depression, HealthCentral.com (Jan/Feb 2020) — Series of articles about the signs, types, and treatment for depression disorders, with ADAA CMO and Board Member Dr. Charles Nemeroff.
  • Major Depression: The Impact on Overall Health
  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • World Health Organization
  • Tips for How to Explain Depression So Other People Understand, Healthline, ADAA Member David Rosmarin, PhD, ABPP 

Источник: https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/depression

5 Best Books for Dealing with Anxiety and Depression

The 11 Best Books for Depression of 2021, According to an Expert

Depression blows. Anxiety isn’t any fun either. And perhaps the only thing worse than the well-intentioned friends and family who implore you to just “get over it” or advise you to “keep your head up” is the fact that there are approximately 3,102 crappy books out there promising to wave a little wand and sprinkle fairy dust in your ass, and everything will instantly be better.

In my experience, the best books on dealing with anxiety and depression are the best because they are honest about the situation. There is this thing that sucks, and you’re not going to magically make it go away. You have to deal with it, engage it, wrestle with it a bit and become stronger in the face of it.

I get hundreds of emails every month from people who struggle primarily with anxiety and depression. Many of them are looking for a solution or a piece of wisdom or advice. Unfortunately, the only thing I’m qualified to send them is this new care bear emoji I got on my phone. And that’s probably not a long-term solution for them.

So instead, I will send them here, to these books.

I’ve read a lot of books about anxiety and depression over the years and these are some of the best ones I’ve come across. They’re way more qualified than I am to help you through whatever suckage you’re experiencing. And this way, when nothing works and the world is still a steaming pile of dogshit, you can blame them and not me.

The three Types of Mental Health Books

Books about mental health come in three flavors:

  1. Greater Understanding/Research – These are books that explain what the latest research suggests that’s happening in your life/brain and what the most effective treatments may be. Building your understanding and knowledge about your problem can often be enough so that you can take care of it from there.
  2. Feeling Less Alone – These books inspire hope. Usually, the author has suffered from the same problem as you, except that their situation was orders of magnitude worse than yours. This has the double-whammy effect of a) reassuring you that you’re not the only one to go through shit this, and b) that there is hope — if this person made it, so can you. “Feeling Less Alone” books tend to be the most emotionally powerful (and best-written) of the three flavors.
  3. Exercises/Actions – I’m personally not a huge fan of books that want you to take out a sheet of paper every other page and write a bunch of crap down. But I know some people are. And I know that some of these exercises can be highly effective. And if the exercises are well-done (usually constructed by a therapist/psychiatrist with tons of experience) you can get good results from these books.

All three flavors can be more/less useful given the situation/personality/tastes of the reader. That’s why I’ve specified the type for each book below.

One last statement before we get to the books. Why anxiety and depression together? Well, because they often occur together. In fact, they occur so often together that people will mistake one for the other. A close friend of mine recently spent the better part of a year constantly complaining of anxiety and stress.

After a couple of months of therapy, she discovered that she had actually been deeply depressed.

Similarly, I felt depressed for a brief period at the beginning of this year and looking back, it turns out I was incredibly anxious about something in my life and the feelings of lethargy/meaninglessness were merely my ways of escaping that anxiety.

So anxiety and depression are two peas in a pod. Sonny and Cher. Bonnie and Clyde. Piss and vinegar. They’re a package deal. Much of what you’ll get from these books is an understanding between the two and recognizing when one or the other takes over.

1. The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon

Focuses on: Depression
Type(s): Feeling Less Alone and Greater Understanding/Research

Solomon calls his book “An Atlas of Depression” and once you’ve covered about half of the 688 pages, you start to realize why: this is everything you would ever want to know about depression—the personal experience of it, the medical experience of it, the pharmacological treatments, the history of it, the cultural interpretations of it, and of course, Solomon’s own struggles with it. The book is a lot to take in. What carries the book, though, is the combination of how well-written it is, along with the shocking severity of Solomon’s own story.

I’m going to be honest. I’ve been reading about depression and mental health for many years. I’ve even suffered from some mild depressive episodes myself. I had no idea the depths this thing can reach. This is the only book I’ve ever read that makes me understand why a person might choose to end their own life.

Reading Noonday Demon changed a number of my attitudes and assumptions that I’ve had about not just depression, but antidepressants, therapy, and mental health. Had I read it while I was depressed, it would have given me more hope and helped me to navigate getting myself it.

2. First, We Make the Beast Beautiful by Sarah Wilson

Focuses on: Anxiety
Type(s): Feeling Less Alone and Greater Understanding/Research

I loved this book but I don’t think everyone will. This is mostly due to Wilson’s writing style and, I suppose, the way her brain works.

a chronically anxious person, First, We Make the Beast Beautiful is frenetic and at times, overly-energetic, leaping from story to story, back ten years to ahead five years to childhood to imagined old age, from personal disaster to scientific research to that thing my meditation teacher told me that, by the way, totally didn’t work, but hey, it’s funny now, looking back.

I enjoyed it because my brain (and writing) sometimes operates in the same way. But I’ve seen reviews online from anxious people who have commented that the book actually made them more anxious, just by reading it. Obviously, that’s not the goal.

But all of that aside, I think this book is the best demonstration of what it is to actually live with severe anxiety and still find a way to function and thrive in one’s life. Wilson has suffered from bipolar disorder, eating disorders, manic episodes, and intermittent depression. But the anxiety has always been there. Intensely there.

And she’s somehow leveraged it to get her places. I’ve always argued that the key to anxiety is not getting rid of it but merely directing it in more productive ways.

The heart of First, We Make the Beast Beautiful is the same argument, demonstrated through a vibrant (and slightly crazy) life that is un anything else I’ve quite come across before.

(Note: This book is not out yet in some countries.)

3. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David Burns

Focuses on: Anxiety and Depression
Type(s): Exercises/Action

Godwin’s Law famously states that the longer any internet discussion continues, the probability of someone being compared to Hitler approaches 100%.

Well, in my experience, the longer an internet discussion about depression, anxiety, or any other mental health problem goes on, the probability that Feeling Good gets recommended to them also approaches 100%. I see this book mentioned everywhere.

That’s because if you were going to write a comprehensive, “This is what three months with a CBT therapist would be ,” book, full of enough exercises to fill a small notebook, you’d have Feeling Good.

Burns has done a fantastic job of essentially writing the closest replacement to a real therapist.

As a result, pretty much any time I come across someone who needs a therapist but can’t get one for some reason, this book is the insta-recommendation.

4. The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living by Russ Harris

Focuses on: Anxiety and Depression
Type(s): Greater Understanding/Research and Exercises/Action

I love this book. It was quite influential on me when I read it years and years ago and I was quite upset to find out that I had inadvertently ripped off one of the exercises in it in my Self-Knowledge PDF (it has since been fixed and credited appropriately).

Harris is probably the most visible proponent of something called ACT or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

ACT is a relatively new form of therapy that argues that the key to dealing with depression, anxiety, or addiction is to not necessarily to remove bad feelings.

Instead, ACT focuses on developing mental tools and habits to simply weather those bad feelings more effectively.

Whereas CBT is focused on channeling pain and suffering into more productive interpretations and actions, ACT just says fuck it, bad feelings are bad feelings and they don’t necessarily have to mean anything at all, if we don’t let them. To me, ACT is one of the more promising recent developments in psychology as it incorporates some of the benefits of mindfulness, with a zest of eastern philosophy thrown in.

The Happiness Trap is also one of the most approachable and enjoyable psych reads out there. The writing is clear and fun, and the exercises are engaging. In my opinion, the best pop psychology books bring some humor and humanity to the subject, and this is one of the few books that pulls that off really well.

5. Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff

Focuses on: Anxiety and Depression
Type(s): Greater Understanding/Research and Exercises/Action

In The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck (yes, I had to find a way to plug my own shit here), I made the point that true self-esteem can’t be a measure of how someone feels about their successes, it must be a measure of how we feel about our failures.

This isn’t a terribly original idea. People have been shitting on self-esteem for a couple decades now. But Neff is the first psychologist to conceptualize an alternative metric for self-esteem: self-compassion.

People with self-compassion can weather failures, can forgive themselves for screwing up, can accept their insecurities and flaws and continue trying despite them.

Ignore the cheesiness of the title here. Self-compassion gives you the answer and the how-to for every time you’ve ever heard someone say, “hey, don’t be so hard on yourself.

” In this book, Neff proposes self-compassion as a more effective measurement of psychological health and did the research into how we get there.

How do we cultivate self-compassion? How do we forgive ourselves for fucking up, for not living up to what we want from ourselves, for having failures and down moments and days where nothing seems to go right? *Infomercial Voice* Read this book to find these answers and more!

many pop psychology books, her examples and anecdotes are sometimes cliche-ridden. However, the central idea is important enough that this book is still worth a read if you are the insanely self-critical type.

Can reading about depression and anxiety actually help you?

I think this list of books will help you better understand depression and anxiety. But you might still be wondering: will they actually help me deal with my depression and anxiety?

Well, I’d answer that with “it depends.” (Sorry, but you had to have seen that coming.)

I love books. I read them every single day. But if you’re reading a book with the hopes that it will permanently “fix” you, then no, none of these books will help you.

There’s a fine line between reading a book to gain a new perspective on a problem and reading a book to simply avoid the problem by intellectualizing it.

You could read every single book ever published on money and personal finance. But if you don’t apply that knowledge and save and invest your money, you’ll still be broke. You’ll understand why you’re broke really well, but you’ll still be broke.

This seems so obvious when it comes to more tangible outcomes money or losing weight or whatever. But when it comes to our emotional and mental health, we often believe we can just think the problems away.

Getting your emotional and mental shit together is a lived experience. You have to face and endure the pain, not rationalize it away. You can do it with a therapist or a family member or a good friend. In some cases, you might be able to do it alone. But no matter what, it has to be done, not simply thought about and analyzed.

So, yes, these books are helpful—as a starting point. They will give you perspective on what your depression and anxiety really are and where they come from. They will show you that you’re not alone, and that others have gone through what you’re going through. They will show you that, yes, you can come out the other side a happier, stronger person.

They’ll make the work a bit easier. But you still have to do the work.

Looking for more books to read?

Well, I put together a list of over 200 of the best books to read, organized by topic. You should check it out, along with my all-time recommended reading list.

Источник: https://markmanson.net/5-books-for-dealing-with-anxiety-and-depression

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