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Books on Depression


When Living Hurts by Sol Gordon, Ph.D.

This book is addressed to teenagers who may be feeling depressed or suicidal, or who want to help someone else who is troubled. Topics discussed include worries about sex and love, religion, relationships with parents, and purpose in life. A list of crisis intervention and suicide prevention hot linesaround the country is included. "Grades seven to twelve."

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom (a must read!)

Most of us, at some point in our schooling, have had a teacher who had a major impact on our thinking and the way we've lived our lives. What a treat would it be now, all these years later, to reacquaint ourselves with that treasure advisor, to learn again those lessons he or she shared when we were young. Mitch Albom was given that opportunity. He spent several months regularly visiting his college professor, Morrie Schwartz, during the elder man's final year of life. Tuesdays with Morrie is Albom's best-selling tribute to the man who gave him so much.

The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck MD (Excellent!!)

"With profound psychological and spiritual insight, Dr. M. Scott Peck, a practicing psychiatrist, suggests ways in which confronting and resolving our problems -- and suffering through the changes -- can enable us to reach a higher level of self-understanding. The result is a book that can show us how to embrace reality and achieve serenity and fullness in our lives."

First Person Plural by Dr. Cameron West M

Dr. Cameron West recounts the dramatic true story of his struggle with multiple personalities, the condition now known as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). A love story at heart, First Person Plural is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit as a family's love and mutual support triumphs over extraordinary circumstances.

His Bright Light by Danielle Steele (story of her son's manic depressive life and suicide) Must Read!!!

From the day he was born, Nick Traina was his mother's joy. By nineteen, he was dead. This is Danielle Steel's powerful personal story of the son she lost and the lessons she learned during his courageous battle against darkness. Sharing tender, painful memories and Nick's remarkable journals, Steel brings us a haunting duet between a singular young man and the mother who loved him - and a harrowing portrait of a masked killer called manic depression, which afflicts between two and three million Americans." "Nick rocketed through life like a shooting star. Signs of his illness were subtle, often paradoxical. He spoke in full sentences at age one. He was a brilliant, charming child who never slept. And at first, even his mother explained away his quicksilver moods. Nick always marched to a different drummer. His gift for writing was extraordinary, his musical talent promised a golden future. But by the time he entered junior high, Danielle Steel saw her beloved son hurtling toward disaster and tried desperately to get Nick the help he needed - the opening salvos of what would become a ferocious, pitched battle for his life." "Even as he struggled, Nick's charisma and accomplishments remained undimmed. He bared his soul in his journal with uncanny insight, in searing prose, poetry, and song. When he was finally diagnosed and treated, it bought time, but too little. In the end, perhaps nothing could have saved him from the insidious disease that had shadowed.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar is a classic of American literature, with over two million copies sold in this country. This extraordinary work chronicles the crack-up of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, successful - but slowly going under, and maybe for the last time. Step by careful step, Sylvia Plath takes us with Esther through a painful month in New York as a contest-winning junior editor on a magazine, her increasingly strained relationships with her mother and the boy she dated in college, and eventually, devastatingly, into the madness itself. The reader is drawn into her breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes completely real and even rational, as probable and accessible an experience as going to the movies. Such deep penetration into the dark and harrowing corners of the psyche is rare in any novel. It points to the fact that The Bell Jar is a largely autobiographical work about Plath's own summer of 1953, when she was a guest editor at Mademoiselle and went through a breakdown. It reveals so much about the sources of Sylvia Plath's own tragedy that its publication was considered a landmark in literature.

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

It's a wonder that McCourt survived his childhood in the slums of Depression-era Limerick, Ireland: three of his siblings did not, dying of minor illnesses complicated by near starvation. Even more astonishing is how generous of spirit he became and remains. His family lived—barely—in a flat so miserable that every year they had to cram themselves into an upstairs room when winter floods made the place only half-habitable. That upstairs room was "Italy"—warm and dry. Downstairs was Ireland—wet and cold. Father sat up there drinking tea, while mother Angela often could not rise from bed, so depressed was she. Or mother sat by the fire, waiting for father to return; when he did, frequently drunk on their little money, he would line up the boys and extract promises that they would die for Ireland. Dying was what everyone seemed to do best: the little sister, the twins, the girl with whom Frank first had sex, the old man Frank read to, too many boys from school, too many neighbors, too many relatives. McCourt spares us no details: the stench of the one toilet shared by an entire street, the insults of the charity officers, the maurauding rats, the street fights, the infected eyes, the fleas in the mattress...Yet he found a way to love in that miserable Limerick, and it is love one remembers as the dominant flavor in this Irish stew.

Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen - (Also a Movie)

In the late 1960s, the author spent nearly two years on the ward for teenage girls at McLean Hospital, a renowned psychiatric facility. Her memoir encompasses horror and razor-edged perceptions, while providing vivid portraits of her fellow patients and their keepers. "Searing . . . captures an exquisite range of self-awareness between madness and insight."--Boston Globe.

Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel

Painful, poignant, and ultimately triumphant, Prozac Nation is Elizabeth Wurtzel's catharsis — a cry of rage at the chronic depression which has dominated most of her young life.

How to Heal Depression by Harold H. Bloomfield, M.D. and Peter McWilliams

How To Heal Depression is the most helpful book I could find when I dealt with months of darkness. It is filled with many bite-sized pieces, some humorous, some historical, some enlightening. It is gentle, light hearted, and above all encouraging. The authors are up to date on the causes, the theories, the treatments, but never present them in a thick arcane manner. It is easy to understand. Above all, How To Heal Depression, gives the sufferer hope. The authors begin by insuring that the reader knows that he/she is not to blame for the state of depression. It continues by giving many practical suggestions of how to be good to yourself. I tried lots of books. This was the first one that actually conveyed to me that there was hope. There is a logical order to the book, but it does not need to be read straight from start to finish. Pieces of it can be read or re-read at odd times. There is a personal revelation from one of the authors near the end that comes as a happy surprise. That alone is worth the price of the book. Read this one. If you suffer from depression, you owe it to yourself.

Helping Your Depressed Child A Reassuring Guide to the Causes & Treatments of Childhood & Adolescent Depression by Lawrence L. Kerns, M.D.

This work is intended to help parents "in recognizing the warning signs of clinical depression. Possible causes of depression and its potential effects--including academic failure, delinquency, eating disorders, and self-destructive behavior--are considered, . . . and strategies are suggested for working with depressed youths to open communication and build self-esteem."

It's Nobody's Fault - New Hope and Help for Difficult Children and Their Parents by Harold S. Koplewicz, M.D.

If your child has a psychological problem, you know the tremendous toll it can take on him or her - failure in school, low self-esteem, unhappiness - and on the whole family. You're not alone. In fact, some 7.5 million children and adolescents have a diagnosable mental disorder, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, or other conditions. As Dr. Koplewicz explains, neither parents nor children cause these problems. No one does. If your child has one of these "no-fault" brain disorders, it is simply the result of "DNA Roulette"; your child's brain is wired differently because of his or her genetic makeup. Although you didn't cause your child's problem, you are responsible for getting him or her the right help - and this book will show you how. It's Nobody's Fault takes you step-by-step through the process of pinpointing the nature of your child's problem, from getting the right evaluation through the latest information on diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. Dr. Koplewicz discusses in depth thirteen of the most common mental disorders in children and gives parents a concrete plan of action to work effectively not just with mental health professionals but also with the other adults in their children's lives - teachers, principals, other parents - to really make a difference. Most important, Dr. Koplewicz offers a groundbreaking discussion of the most misunderstood issue in the treatment of mental disorders: the use of medication. Too many parents have avoided the most effective treatments for their children because they fear the social stigma and mistakenly believe the rampant misinformation surrounding medication. Dr. Koplewicz dispels the myths, describes the latest medications that have achieved dramatic results in treating many of these conditions, and helps parents understand their proper role as part of the treatment.

The Suicide of My Son - A Story of Childhood Depression by Trudy Carlson

What causes a young person to commit suicide? Carlson's story of her son's death surveys symptoms, warning signs, and the effects of a family battling childhood depression. This is more than a personal story of suicide and change: it provides parents struggling with difficult children with guidelines for prevention and recovery.

Children & Adolescents with Mental Illness - A Parent's Guide Edited by Evelyn McElroy, Ph.D.

This book is intended to "address a family's needs when a child develops a mental illness. There are chapters on symptoms and diagnosis, therapy and hospitalization, education, long-term planning, and teen suicide. . . . Parental observations accompany each chapter." (Libr J) Appendixes include a guide to medications, a directory of state organizations, and a listing of other resources.

Sad Days, Glad Days by DeWitt Hamilton (a storybook for children about adult depression)

A foreword by a medical professional introduces this sensitive bibliotherapeutic picture book about a child whose mother suffers from depression. There isn't much plot: Amanda Martha explains about the sad days, glad days, and in-between days at her house, which are determined by how her mother feels. The story's ending is upbeat--Amanda Martha is allowed to keep the cat she has so longed for--but Hamilton offers no false promises to kids whose parents suffer from the illness. Instead, she offers a strong depiction of an honest, loving mother-and-child relationship that's constantly being tested, and a picture of a child who learns that she's neither the cause of nor the solution to her mother's problem. Owens' double-page-spread illustrations, in mostly cool colors, noticeably darken on sad days; on happy days, the pictures glow with bright hues.

When Nothing Matters Anymore: A Survival Guide for Depressed Teens by Bev Cobain

A guide to understanding and coping with depression, discussing the different types, how and why the condition begins, how it may be linked to substance abuse or suicide, and how to get help.

Understanding Depression - A Complete Guide to Its Diagnosis & Treatment by Donald F. Klein, M.D. & Paul H. Wender, M.D.

Understanding Depression was written by two psychiatrists who have been researching psychiatric disorders, and treating patients for close to thirty years. Their knowledge, and the information in this book, is based on hard scientific data, which supports the fact that depression and other related mood disorders are common biological diseases which, most of the time, must be treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy to relieve and/or eliminate the symptoms. The doctors differentiate between what they call depression - the normal emotion, as in the case of the normal grief process, where most people, although "depressed', still continue to function and where feelings of normalcy eventually return and biological depression, an illness, which in many cases is a chronic disease, with specific sysmptoms and several common patterns. The authors stress that a qualified biological psychiatrist is the best person to consult in order to confirm an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
This is an excellent book. The patient profiles help the reader understand the effects this insidious disease can have on peoples lives. The authors state that "the ability to recognize depressive illness in yourself or loved ones may be a matter of life and death." That statement certainly cannot be disputed. The book goes on to discuss causes, diagnosis and treatment, and psychopharmacological drugs.

Questions & Answers About Depression & Its Treatment by Ivan K. Goldberg, M.D. Dr. Ivan Goldberg answers hundreds of the most frequently asked questions about depression and other mood disorders. A very informative book, in an easy-to-read format, that should be very helpful to a person who is uneducated about mental illness. The book contains an introduction to depression and mood disorders, a detailed section on up-to-date treatments used, and lastly, a discussion of the "special aspects" of mood disorders, which includes children, the elderly, the grief process, suicide, and various other topics. Also contains the Goldberg Mood Scales - questionnaires which may help indentify the presence of depression or a related mood disorder.

Overcoming Depression by Demitri Papolos & Janice Papolos

Put your thinking caps on for this book! It is filled with the latest information on depression and other depressive illnesses - describing several individuals' personal experiences with the illnesses, they cover diagnoses, possible causes of the disorder and various treatments, with an emphasis on getting good treatment. In an excellent chapter titled "Living with the Illnesses," the authors talk about the effects depressive illnesses have on families, with advice on hospitalization and the world of health insurance. They cover a little bit of everything in this book. It gets a bit technical at times, but the authors do their best to in trying to explain and educate by chosing words the layperson will understand. A useful book to add to your collection of books on depressive illnesses.

Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher, Ph.D.

Pipher writes from a dual perspective: that of a clinical psychologist who has been counseling girls for more than 20 years and of a mother of a teenaged daughter. Her report is frightening. Girls reaching adolescence in the 1990s must thread their way through a maze of difficult and sometimes life-threatening decisions about alcohol, sex, drugs, weight, and interests. Girls receive mixed messages from society about how to look, act, and feel, Pipher asserts, even though they are not intellectually ready to make decisions of this magnitude. As a result, depression, eating disorders, addiction, and suicide are increasing at an alarming rate. Pipher offers some practical suggestions and strategies for parents to help girls into adulthood with their sense of self intact. She also sounds a wake-up call to parents, urging them to become involved in the lives of their daughters and to change the societal pressures that push girls into crisis situations.

Ophelia Speaks by Sara Shandler

At age sixteen, Sara Shandler read Mary Pipher's Reviving Ophelia, the national bestseller that candidly explored the unique issues that challenge girls in their struggle toward womanhood. Moved by Pipher's insight yet driven to hear the unfiltered voices of today's adolescent girls, Shandler yearned to speak for herself, and to provide a forum for other Ophelias to do so as well. A poignant collection of original pieces selected from more than eighthundred contributions, Ophelia Speaks culls writings from the hearts of girls nationwide, of various races, religions, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Ranging in age from twelve to eighteen, the voices here offer a provocative and piercingly real view on issues public and private, from body image to boys, politics to parents, school to sex. Framing each chapter are Shandler's own personal reflections, offering both the comfort of a trusted friend and an honest perspective from within the whirlwind of adolescence. In these pages, you will see your best friend, your daughter, your sister — and yourself. At once filled with heartbreak and hope, in these pages Ophelia speaks.