Books on Depression for the Depressed and Those Who Love Them

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How can you tell when you or someone you know is suffering from depression that needs clinical treatment? How can you find the best treatment for your depression? Books on depression can’t help the sufferer to ‘snap out’ of it, but they can help both the victim and the family to understand depression better and find ways to treat it properly. Here is a review list of depression books for the depressed and those who love them.

Dealing with depression: a commonsense guide to mood disorders
by Gordon Parker
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Answers to many questions regarding depression can be found in Gordon Parker’s book – Dealing with Depression. Many readers would agree that this book is an essential reading for depression sufferers, their carers and professionals treating the disease. The book Dealing with Depression is a brief, user-friendly guide to depression and mood disorders. It has been widely used by both general readers and health professionals. The second edition of the book has been updated with information based on recent research in the field, especially about bipolar disorders and the influence of personality styles on non-melancholic disorders. Readers may find the witty style of writing in some parts of the book pretty interesting, maybe even provocative, and local speech idioms make it user-friendly for Australian readers.

What This Book is About

In this book, Gordon Parker explains what depression is, common types of depression with special attention to clinical depression, unipolar and bipolar disorders, and postnatal mood disorders (maternity blues, post-natal depression and puerperal psychotic states). The author gives a detailed account of differences between normal and non-melancholic depression from melancholic and psychotic depression. Additional topics addressed in the book are experiences with grief, stress and depressive subtypes, personality styles and non-melancholic depression.
Dr. Parker’s patient vignettes are useful for the reader who can see a family member in them and consider the roles of biological, social and other influences on each depressive sub-type. Understanding depression is supported by an overview of broad mechanisms explaining how a sufferer can benefit from physical, psychological and social interventions.
The reader of Gordon’s book on dealing with depression can learn what to expect from a professional treating the disease, about different types of treatment (including drug treatments, electroconvulsive therapy, transcranial magnetic simulation, cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, psychotherapies and counseling), anger management and the effects of depression on family and friends and ways to cope with them.

About the author

Gordon Parker, is Scientia Professor of Psychiatry at the University of New South Wales, and Executive Director of the Black Dog Institute (incorporating the former Mood Disorders Unit) at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney. He is an experienced Australian researcher and clinician, known for having strong and provocative views.

List of Works by Gordon Parker

  • Navigating Teenage Depression: A guide for parents and professionals (with Kerrie Eyers)
  • Mastering Bipolar Disorder: An insider’s guide to managing mood swings and finding balance (edited with Kerrie Eyers)
  • Journeys with the Black Dog: Inspirational stories of bringing depression to heel (edited with Tessa Wigney and Kerrie Eyers)
  • Bipolar II Disorder: Modelling, Measuring and Managing (edited by Gordon Parker)
  • Modelling and Managing the Depressive Disorders: A Clinical Guide (with Vijaya Manicavasagar)
  • A Piece of My Mind: A psychiatrist on the couch

The Mindfulness & Acceptance Workbook for Depression
by Kirk D. Strosahl & Patricia J. Robinson

According to the authors of this book, Kirk D. Stroshal and Patricia J. Robinson, ‘depression is the result of living life out of balance in some important way. The conventional way of thinking about depression is that it causes people to get off balance.’ This book is not about overcoming or putting a stop to depression because it doesn’t refer to this illness as something ‘ to be gotten rid of.’ Instead, The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Depression is based on the approach that depression is a behavior that acts as a signal that something needs to change in the life of the sufferer. This book teaches you to understand the function and interpret the signal of depression because, if depressed, you need to learn how to live well even with feelings of depression. The central idea is that feelings of depression are not problems in themselves.

The book is based on the acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), an emerging new model of psychotherapy. Avoidance of pleasurable and productive activities is seen as the biggest problem in depressed people because the process of this avoidance eventually becomes a cycle causing more depressed feelings.

The Contents of the Book

The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Depression is organized into three parts:

  • Create a Context for Change
  • Step Out of Depression and Into a Vital Life
  • Make a Commitment to Vitality

Chapters which may be of special interest to you:

  • Recognize the Depression Trap
  • Accept What You Cannot Change
  • Become a Mind Watcher
  • Learn That Sense Making Doesn’t Make Sense

‘Strosahl and Robinson invite us to take a wholly new view of what depression is, and how to deal skillfully with it through strategies born of acceptance and self-compassion. Their book shows the pathways into and out of depression and gives us a vital map to see clearly where genuine peace and freedom lie.’ (Quote by Mark Williams, co-author of the book The Mindful Way through Depression)

Dealing with depression naturally: Complementary and alternative therapies for restoring emotional health
by Syd Baumel

Syd Baumel’s book on dealing with depression is organized into six parts:

# 1 – Physical Causes of Depression and Their Treatment

Four chapters in this part teach you how to differentiate between emotional depression and medical illness of depressive type, learn about impacts of endocrine processes, toxic causes of depression, and alternative diagnoses.

#2 – Healing Moods with Diet and Supplements

Eight chapters in this part of the book explain the orthomolecular approach to depression, the impact of vitamins and minerals, uplifting aminos, good and bad foods, nutritional supplements, and how to implement a healthy antidepressant diet.

#3 – Other Substances, Other Energies

Four chapters in this part of the book explain different alternative treatments of depression, such as treating depression with herbal remedies (for example, with St. John’s Wort), homeopathy, aromatherapy, and flower remedies. Other alternatives include elementary healing with darkness and light, heat and cold. The last chapter in this section gives an insight into the electromagnetic mood medicine.

#4 – From Bodywork to Working Out

Four chapters in this part of the book explain how you can work the body to work the mid, use sleep therapy to cure depressive moods, and implement other healing rhythm techniques.

#5 – Psychotherapies and Medicines of the Mind

Nine chapters in this part of the book address psychotherapies for depression that work, ways to become more active in order to become less depressed, cognitive approach to depression, social and spiritual aspects of depression, creative problem-solving for the cause of depression, relaxation and meditation, suggestions for self-help, therapeutic imagery, and healing arts from J.S. Bach to journaling.

#6 – Antidepressant Drugs and Electroconvulsive Therapy

Syd Baumel calls antidepressant drugs and electroconvulsive therapy ‘unnatural antidepressants’ and explains how they work in treating depression.

About the Author

Syd Baumel is a Canadian author who has been a writer since the 1980’s. His specialties are natural health and medicine, and lately ethical issues, such as animal welfare, ethical eating, global justice and governance. He is also the editor of the Winnipeg Quarterly. Syd Baumel published three books: Serotonin, Natural Antidepressants and Dealing with Depression Naturally.

The Depression Answer Book
by Wes Burgess

The Depression Answer Book contains more than 275 professional answers to critical questions about medication, therapy, support and more regarding depression. Sixteen chapters in this book explain the basics of depression (symptoms, diagnosis and cures), similar and coexisting disorders, classic and newer antidepressant medications and what to do if your antidepressants don’t work (finding a doctor, seeking therapy, choosing between psychotherapists, treating depression at home, keeping good health habits, and reducing stress). The author also gives an overview of depression signs in women and more.

About the Author

Wess Burgess, MD, Ph.D., trained at Stanford University and on university faculties around the world. He is an award-winning author, including the Purdue University Literary Award and the Meade Johnson Award for Excellence in Writing. His credentials include two doctoral degrees and service at Chief Resident at Stanford . Burgess has been a consultant for the California State Bar Association, the California Consumer Research Center and two feature films, as well as a regular guest on NPR, and interviewed by everyone from US Magazine to Teen Wire, ParentLife Magazine, and the LA Times. He wrote 4 books on mental health as well as book chapters and scientific papers on social relationships.

Defeating Depression: Real Help for You and those Who Love You
by Howard W. Stone

Howard W. Stone’s book on defeating depression is a self-help book intended both for the depressed and the people who love them. Every chapter in this book begins with ‘In This Chapter You Will’ – a brief summary of what you will find in that section of the book. The author suggests exercises to cope with depressive moods, supported by fictional case histories.

Defeating Depression is organized into three parts:

  • Part I – Is it Depression or Something Else? (explains what depression is, what its different symptoms and types are)
  • Part II – The Four Faces of Depression (explains how to overcome depression)
  • Part III – Help for Depression (provides information about sources of help for the depressed and their families)

About the Author

Howard W. Stone, Ph.D., is a psychologist, marriage and family therapist, a pastoral counselor, the author or editor of many books in the Fortress Press Creative Pastoral Care and Counseling series, and a professor emeritus at Texas Christian University.

50 Ways to Fight Depression Without Drugs
by M. Sara Rosenthal

Sara Rosenthal’s book is organized into 5 parts:

Part I – Sadness Versus Depression

Rosenthal explains the differences between depression and sadness by pointing out signs of sadness, grieving, and depression. In this part of the book, you can learn how to check whether your depression is chemically based, how to deal with suicidal thoughts, understand who and why people get depressed, understand causes and types of depression, and treatment options.

Part II – Rediscover Passion

The second part of the book explains the importance of rediscovering what you used to enjoy doing and trying to find sense and pleasure in those habits.

Part III – Reduce Stress

The third part of the book is focused on understanding stress and different types of stress, and managing stressful situations and their consequences.

Part IV – The Physical, Nutritional, and Herbal Approach

The fourth part of the book suggests doing exercise, keeping good eating habits, doing yoga, using herbal medicine to treat depressive moods and other alternative methods.

Part V – Self – Care Strategies

The last part of the book suggests different types of relaxation, such as getting more sleep, getting a massage, meditating, etc. in order to take off the burden of depression and stress.

About the Author

Dr. M. Sara Rosenthal, bioethicist and Director of the University of Kentucky Program for Bioethics. She is the author of several peer-reviewed publications, and over 30 consumer health books, including books on diabetes, thyroid disease and a range of women’s health issues.

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More Books on Depression:

  • Living With a Black Dog
  • The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook For Depression
  • Understanding Depression – P. Ainsworth
  • Understanding Depression – DePaulo and Horvitz
  • Depression by Constance L. Hammen
  • Depression by Judith Peacock and Jackie Casey
  • Depression by Jennifer Roy

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Remember that books on depression for the depressed are not only for depression sufferers, but also for those who love them and want to help them. Reading books on depression won’t cure this disease, but it can help in the struggle against it, or at least, be the first step toward recovery.

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Books on Depression for the Depressed and Those Who Love Them, Seekyt
General Contributor
Janice is a writer from Chicago, IL. She created the "simple living as told by me" newsletter with more than 12,000 subscribers about Living Better and is a founder of Seekyt.