The most important books on depressive disorders

Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn’t Teach You and Medication Can’t Give You
by, Richard O’Connor PhD
The author is quick the point out (and he is correct) that this book will not improve or cure depression by itself. You need professional help for that. Instead, the purpose of this book (which it magnificently addresses) is to describe what the depressed person and the depressed person’s family and friends need to be doing to provide the maximum likelihood of overcoming depression. 

Bipolar Survival Guide
by, David Markowitz, MD
Simply put, this book has changed my life. After years of being in denial about my illness, or perhaps more correctly-in confusion about my illness, I picked this book up this summer and could not put it down. David Miklowitz warms up to the reader like a small town country doctor, who comes into your living room, holds your hand, looks right into your eyes-and tells you exactly what’s wrong with you. He doesn’t frighten you with jargon or condescending academic mumbo-jumbo or scientific psychobabble. His tone is friendly, calming, and his concepts accessible, even when he explains the biochemical basis for bipolar disorder. I particularly like how he peppers every chapter with small capsules of what other bipolars have gone through in their own words. The book is a must for every bipolar’s library-newly diagnosed, veterans, those still in denial. Relatives, loved ones, friends, and professionals working in the field with bipolar disorder patients will find it an excellent resource as well. 

Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for Patients and Families
by, Francis Mark Mondimore MD
This really was a very informative, practical, easy flowing guide for understanding and coping with Bipolar. Dr. Mondimore describes the lifestyle habits and treatments that will help you prevent relapse, allowing anybody with bipolar disorder to lead a happy, normal life. This was excellent for any family member with somebody who does have this disorder. It really is explained to why they do what it is we do. He covers Moods, medications, alcoholism and drug abuse. Treatment, where to go for help. Getting better and staying well. Also the role the family has and this really was by far the most comprehensive book I have read yet on this matter.

Stop Walking on Eggshells; Coping When Someone You Care about Has Borderline Personality Disorder
by, Paul T. Mason, Randi Kreger, Larry J. Siever
It has been nearly two years since I found “Stop Walking on Eggshells”. My mother’s doctor told us that her borderline personality disorder was responsible for most of her current symptoms. I searched the internet for information about this disorder and found this wonderful book. My mother has suffered all her life and those of us close to her suffered with her. Once I understood the disorder it was easier to understand her behavior. 

This Isn’t What I Expected : Overcoming Postpartum Depression.<
by, Karen Kleiman, MSW, and Valerie Davis Raskin, MD
This book literally saved me. Everyone kept telling me that it was just hormones (and they do play a big part in ppd) and that it would pass in time. But, after finally coming to the realization that is wasn’t just the blues this book helped me begin to work through my depression. I can’t say enough about how good this book is at describing ways to work through the problems you experience during ppd. Get this book – it will help and turn to someone you trust to help you get through this difficult period of mommyhood. It does pass – I can promise you that. It has a wonderful chapter for the husbands also. Short, but very helpful.

Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder
by, Julie A. Fast and John D. Preston, PsyD
This book is so accurate. So many things that were said in the book are verbatim what has been said in our house. Not only was this book informative for my husband, but it also provided valuable information on bipolar disorder for me as well. I highly recommend this book for anyone affected by bipolar disorder. 

Essential Psychopharmacology: Neuroscientific Basis and Practical Applications
by, Stephen M. Stahl PhD
I found the book to be very helpful and extremely informative. Dr. Stahl’s writing style is concise and interesting.He doesn’t try to blow us”non-med students” out of the water with big words.

Treatment-Resistant Mood Disorders: Diagnosis and Treatment
Jay D. Amsterdam MD, Mady Hornig MD, Andrew A. Nierenberg MD (Editors)
Contributors offer a critical assessment of all aspects of treatment- resistant mood disorders, addressing causes, epidemiology, comorbidity, evaluation, and treatment. The volume begins with chapters addressing the clinical problem of treatment-resistant mood disorders, followed by discussion of the biological basis, including the psychoneuroendocrine aspects, the role of estrogen for women, sleep abnormalities, structural and functional brain imaging, and immunologic factors. Next, various treatment approaches are covered, including SSRIs, drug combination strategies, thyroid augmentation, and cognitive therapy, and psychosocial interventions, among others.

I Hate You-Don’t Leave Me : Understanding the Borderline Personality
by, Jerold J. Kriesman MD, Hal Straus
This book put things in perspective for me in a way I could understand. I am philosophically opposed to “self-help” books, but in this case, I used the book as a tool to help me heal from my failed relationship. My copy of this book is dogeared, underlined, there are my comments scribbled in the margins, and notes to myself are on the endflaps. Recently, I dug out the book and reread it. I still found it an enormous and enlightening help.

Manic-Depressive Illness
by, Frederick K. Goodwin MD, Kay Redfield Jamison PhD
This is an invaluable resource for anyone with Bipolar Disorder (Manic-Depressive Illness) or anyone who loves them. Though targeted at medical professionals, most of the information presented is well within the grasp of an intelligent and motivated layperson. 

An Unquiet Mind
by, Kay Redfield Jamison PhD
Dr. Jamison is widely regarded as one of the leading experts on what used to be called “manic depression”, but is now called “bipolar disorder”. Though she is a Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, she is not a medical doctor, so far as I can tell–not that that matters. What makes her especially effective as a writer on the illness is that she herself suffers from it.

I have had friends and family members who suffer from this disorder. And I think I know many people who are undiagnosed, or misdiagnosed. This book will help families who might have loved ones, diagnosed or not, to get help, and most importantly, to get the right kind of help. 

New Hope for People With Bipolar Disorder
by, Jan Fawcett MD, Bernard Golden PhD, Nancy Rosenfeld
A collaboration of three writers, New Hope for People With Bipolar Disorder speaks to a broad audience. Coming from three perspectives, the book sometimes speaks *to* the bipolar sufferer and sometimes speaks *for* the afflicted individual or family. While providing advice to the manic-depressive, to people in intimate relationships with manic-depressives (parents and spouses) and to friends, acquaintances and colleagues of manic-depressives, the book also makes appeals to the medical profession and other service providers, to the insurance industry and to the general public.

How You Can Survive When They’re Depressed: Living and Coping With Depression Fallout
by, Anne Sheffield PhD
People who love a depressed person spend an enormous amount of energy trying to bridge a chasm to bring help to their loved one. Meanwhile they suffer isolation, rejection, critisism, self-doubt, frustration, and terrible worry and stress. Worse, every book they read urges them to put all their needs aside, to lower their standards to rock bottom, to be continually more understanding of their loved-ones limitations. Often they’re not even mentioned at all.

Anne Sheffield’s book is a fantastic support and relief for these caregivers. She acknowleges the toll this illness takes on family members, and she offers them compassion and a sense of community. By respecting their frustration, she helps open the door to a more constructive sort of understanding of depressive illness and how it affects the family.

What to Say When You Talk to Your Self
by, Shad HelmstetterPhD
This book teaches us that we literally become what we think and tell ourselves. Other books have touched on this concept in the past, but this book teaches us quick and easy methods to stop unwanted thinking/behaviour patterns – to “erase and replace” our negative thoughts with ones which will build our success. Prior to reading this book approximately 10 years ago – this technique required many hours of written assignments and counselling. Individuals now have a simple and effective tool to make permanent positive change in their lives by learning the right things to say to themselves. It reduces the need for prolonged psychotherapy through professionals because it allows to become our own therapist. This book goes beyond positive thinking, it is more than wishful thinking with no concrete instructions on how to achieve happiness.