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Top Recommended Non-Fiction Books About Mental Illness: Understand and Break the Stigma 

Top Recommended Non-Fiction Books About Mental Illness: Understand and Break the Stigma

Mental illness affects millions of people worldwide, however they are often complex and misunderstood. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in 5 adults experience a mental health condition every year, while one in 20 lives with a serious mental illness such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and other neurodiverse conditions. While therapy and medication are the most common treatments, reading non-fiction books about mental illness have become valuable tools to learn about these conditions and how to manage them. 

Non-fiction books about mental illness cover a wide range of topics, from personal memoirs to scientific studies, and offer a unique perspective on the challenges faced by those living with mental illness. Mental illness can have a profound impact on an individual’s way of thinking, feeling, or their mood. It can also affect their ability to relate to others and function on a daily basis. 

So if you’re looking to diversify your reading list, we have compiled a list of the top recommended non-fiction books about mental illness. Each book offers a unique perspective and valuable information for readers. Whether you are living with a mental illness or seeking to understand it better, these books can provide you a deeper insight regarding a particular condition, support, and hope. 

Understanding Mental Illness

Mental illness is a growing problem affecting millions of people in our society today. This health issue may include symptoms affecting a person’s thoughts, perceptions, mood, or behavior. Many people experience difficulty concentrating, low motivation, and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. This can impact a person’s life by making it difficult to cope with work, relationships, and everyday tasks. 

Mental illnesses can last for a short time or it can last their entire life. More severe illnesses can be life-long and cause serious disability. While mental illnesses are complex, most people are able to manage them through medication, counseling or both. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has created the “World mental health report: transforming mental health for all,” which calls on all countries to accelerate implementation of the action plan. This allows countries to work together to achieve meaningful progress towards better mental health for the population. 

Types of Mental Illness

Types of Mental Illness

More than half of people with mental illnesses do not receive the proper help or diagnosis for their disorders. They often avoid or delay seeking treatment due to the stigma, prejudice, and discrimination against people struggling with certain disorders. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), there are several types of mental illnesses. Some of the main groups of mental health disorders include: 

Each type of mental illness has a different set of symptoms. If you think you are experiencing any of these mental illnesses, the first step to getting treated and returning to good mental health is seeing your doctor. If you’re concerned, don’t hesitate to book an appointment today.

Stigma, Prejudice and Discrimination on Mental Illness 

Stigma is when someone views a person in a negative way because they have a unique characteristic or personality trait that is considered a disadvantage. This often comes from a lack of understanding and fear, which can lead to inaccurate or misleading media representations.

Studies on stigma show that while the public may accept the medical or genetic nature of a mental health disorder, many people have created a negative stereotype or a negative outlook towards those who are struggling. 

Stigma can lead to discrimination, which may be obvious and direct. It can also be unintentional or subtle. Researchers have identified 3 different types of stigma: 

  1. Public Stigma: Involves negative or discriminatory attitudes towards those with mental illness. 
  2. Self-Stigma: Refers to the negative attitudes such as internalized shame that people with mental illnesses have about their condition. 
  3. Institutional Stigma: This is systemic and may involve policies of government and private organizations that intentionally or unintentionally limit opportunities for people suffering from mental illnesses. 

Some of the harmful effects of stigma can include: 

  • Hesitancy to seek help or treatment.
  • A lack of understanding and compassion by family, friends, co-workers, and others.
  • Fewer opportunities for work, school, or social activities.
  • Bullying or harassment.
  • Hopelessness and helplessness towards improving the situation. 

While the judgements of people always stem from a lack of understanding rather than information based on facts, the help from books can help educate others and allow them to recognize the reality of mental illness. 

Product
The Truth About Mental Illness: Choices for Healing
Obsessed: A Memoir of My Life with OCD
Anxiety, Depression, and Jesus: Finding Hope in All Things
Product Name
The Truth About Mental Illness: Choices for Healing
Obsessed: A Memoir of My Life with OCD
Anxiety, Depression, and Jesus: Finding Hope in All Things
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Product
The Truth About Mental Illness: Choices for Healing
Product Name
The Truth About Mental Illness: Choices for Healing
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Product
Obsessed: A Memoir of My Life with OCD
Product Name
Obsessed: A Memoir of My Life with OCD
Rating
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Product
Anxiety, Depression, and Jesus: Finding Hope in All Things
Product Name
Anxiety, Depression, and Jesus: Finding Hope in All Things
Rating
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Check on Amazon
Product
This Is Your Brain on Food: An Indispensable Guide to the Surprising Foods that Fight Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, OCD, ADHD, and More
No One Cares About Crazy People
Unfuck Your Brain: Getting Over Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Freak-Outs, and Triggers with science (5-Minute Therapy)
Product Name
This Is Your Brain on Food: An Indispensable Guide to the Surprising Foods that Fight Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, OCD, ADHD, and More
No One Cares About Crazy People
Unfuck Your Brain: Getting Over Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Freak-Outs, and Triggers with science (5-Minute Therapy)
Rating
-
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-
Product
This Is Your Brain on Food: An Indispensable Guide to the Surprising Foods that Fight Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, OCD, ADHD, and More
Product Name
This Is Your Brain on Food: An Indispensable Guide to the Surprising Foods that Fight Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, OCD, ADHD, and More
Rating
-
Check on Amazon
Product
No One Cares About Crazy People
Product Name
No One Cares About Crazy People
Rating
-
Check on Amazon
Product
Unfuck Your Brain: Getting Over Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Freak-Outs, and Triggers with science (5-Minute Therapy)
Product Name
Unfuck Your Brain: Getting Over Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Freak-Outs, and Triggers with science (5-Minute Therapy)
Rating
-
Check on Amazon
Product
Stop Overthinking: 23 Techniques to Relieve Stress, Stop Negative Spirals, Declutter Your Mind, and Focus on the Present (The Path to Calm)
The Pale-Faced Lie: A True Story
It Didn't Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle
Product Name
Stop Overthinking: 23 Techniques to Relieve Stress, Stop Negative Spirals, Declutter Your Mind, and Focus on the Present (The Path to Calm)
The Pale-Faced Lie: A True Story
It Didn't Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle
Rating
-
-
Product
Stop Overthinking: 23 Techniques to Relieve Stress, Stop Negative Spirals, Declutter Your Mind, and Focus on the Present (The Path to Calm)
Product Name
Stop Overthinking: 23 Techniques to Relieve Stress, Stop Negative Spirals, Declutter Your Mind, and Focus on the Present (The Path to Calm)
Rating
-
Check on Amazon
Product
The Pale-Faced Lie: A True Story
Product Name
The Pale-Faced Lie: A True Story
Rating
-
Check on Amazon
Product
It Didn't Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle
Product Name
It Didn't Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle
Rating
Check on Amazon

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, reading books about mental illness can provide valuable insight, understanding and support. While more people are open to talking about mental health, it has slowly helped dissolve the stigma attached to it. If you want to better understand how mental health and psychiatric treatment has evolved, then keep reading as we have gathered the top favorite non-fiction books about mental illnesses. 

The Truth About Mental Illness: Choices for Healing

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The Truth About Mental Illness: Choices for Healing
  • Whitfied, Charles L., M.D. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 457 Pages - 04/24/2024 (Publication Date) - Hci (Publisher)

With mental illness becoming one of the major issues in society today, you may be wondering about its causes and effects. If so, then you can consider reading “The Truth About Mental Illness: Choices for Healing,” a comprehensive guide to the world of mental health. 

ProsCons
Provides in-depth information about mental illness, including the root causes and how to treat it.

Written in a clear and concise manner, making it easy to read and understand.

Provides alternatives to medication, including psychotherapy and other natural remedies.
Lengthy book, which may be overwhelming for some readers.

The information provided may be too basic for those who already have a good understanding of mental illness.

Some readers may find the book to be too clinical in tone

In this book, the author Charles Whitfield discusses the root cause of mental illnesses and how to treat it. It is written in a clear and concise manner, making it easy to understand, especially for those who are not familiar with the subject. The author offers alternatives to medication, including psychotherapy and other natural remedies. This is particularly helpful for those who are looking for non-pharmaceutical solutions to mental health issues. 

However, some readers may find “The Truth About Mental Illness: Choices for Healing” to be quite lengthy and too clinical in tone, which may be overwhelming. Additionally, the information provided may be too basic for those who have a good understanding regarding mental illnesses. 

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Obsessed: A Memoir of My Life with OCD

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Obsessed: A Memoir of My Life with OCD
  • Britz, Allison (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages - 09/25/2018 (Publication Date) - Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a disorder in which people have recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas, or sensations. Living with this complex mental illness can be a struggle and is often misunderstood. So if you’re looking for a raw and honest account of living with OCD, then consider adding “Obsessed: A Memoir of My Life with OCD” into your list of reads. 

ProsCons
Offers a personal and insightful view of living with OCD.

Provides a better understanding of mental illness.

Written in an engaging and emotional way, fostering a connection with the author’s experiences. 
Some readers may find the content triggering. 

The book may not be suitable for younger readers.

The writing style of the author may not be appealing for everyone. 

In “Obsessed: A Memoir of My Life with OCD,” Allison Britz shares her personal experience of living with OCD, from the onset of her symptoms to her eventual diagnosis and treatment. Through her story, readers gain a deeper understanding and compassion towards this mental illness. The book was written in an emotional and engaging way, making it easy to connect with the experiences of the author. As she writes the reality of living with the disorder, readers can appreciate her honesty and vulnerability. 

However, some readers may find the content triggering as the author describes in detail the intrusive thoughts and compulsions she experiences. Additionally, this book may not be suitable for young readers due to the mature content. 

Amazon Review: 

Anxiety, Depression, and Jesus: Finding Hope in All Things

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Anxiety, Depression, and Jesus: Finding Hope in All Things
  • Hoover, Aaron (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 132 Pages - 10/31/2023 (Publication Date) - Westbow Press (Publisher)

Embark on a transformative journey by reading “Anxiety, Depression, and Jesus: Finding Hope in All Things” – a book that offers a fresh and unique lens on the complexities of mental health and the unwavering hope found in spirituality and faith. 

ProsCons
The author shares his personal experience with depression and anxiety, making the book relatable and authentic.

The book emphasizes the role of faith in mental health, which can be helpful for those looking for spiritual guidance.

It is a quick 132 page read.
The book may not be suitable for those who are not of the Christian faith. 

Some readers may find the book’s approach to mental illness overly simplistic.  

There are limited reviews available due to the book being relatively new. 

In this book, Aaron Hoover shares his personal journey with depression and anxiety and how his faith in Jesus helped him overcome these challenges. He also shares tips and healthy habits to best manage the two most common mental health conditions in the world while emphasizing the importance of seeking help and finding hope. Additionally, he provides insights on how to navigate these challenges within a faith community. 

Readers can find “Anxiety, Depression, and Jesus: Finding Hope in All Things” easy to read and understand as it was written in a conversational tone, however this book may not be suitable for those who are not of the Christian faith, as it heavily emphasizes the role of religion in mental health. Other readers may perceive the approach to mental health as too simplistic. Overall, this book can be a helpful resource for those seeking a perspective that intertwines mental health and faith. 

Amazon Review: 

This Is Your Brain on Food: An Indispensable Guide to the Surprising Foods that Fight Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, OCD, ADHD, and More

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Are you eating right and getting all the nutrients your body needs? If not, then you may need some guidance! “This Is Your Brain on Food” is a must-read book if you’re looking for ways to improve your mental health through diet.

ProsCons
A comprehensive guide to how different foods can affect the brain and nervous system.

Offers practical tips and advice that can be added into your daily routine. 

Written in an easy and engaging style, making complex concepts easy to understand.  
Some readers may find the book overly technical or scientific.

Primarily focuses on the American diet, which may be irrelevant for readers in other countries.  

The author’s emphasis on certain foods and supplements are based on his opinion, which may not be supported by all experts in the field. 

Not everyone is considered a “good eater.” Typically this means having unhealthy eating habits, being picky, or struggling with an eating disorder. This can prevent people from getting the proper nutrients their body needs. In order to understand the connection between nutrition and how it can affect one’s mental health, then this “This is Your Brain on Food” is worth a read.  

Uma Naidoo is a neuroscientist and nutritionist who provides a detailed overview of how different foods can impact your brain and the nervous system. While the book is filled with tips and advice on how to make changes to your diet, some of his recommendations may not be supported by experts. Plus, the author only focuses on the American diet, which not all readers can relate to. The book is also overly technical and scientific, which some readers may not find appealing. 

Amazon Review: 

No One Cares About Crazy People

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No One Cares About Crazy People
  • Powers, Ron (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 05/01/2018 (Publication Date) - Hachette Books (Publisher)

Navigating a mental illness can be a challenge, however not everyone openly discusses its effects on the family of the individual who is suffering. The book “No One Cares About Crazy People” can become an eye opener for readers on how people cope with their loved ones who are struggling from debilitating disorders. 

ProsCons
Well-researched, offering a detailed overview of the history and current state of mental health treatment.

The author shares his personal experience of coping with his sons’ schizophrenia, which is both moving and informative.

Provides insight into the challenges faced by individuals with mental illness and their families.
The book can be emotionally difficult to read due to the author’s personal story and the harsh realities of mental illness.

A lengthy book, which may not be appealing to some readers.

The author’s political views may be off-putting for some readers.

“No One Cares About Crazy People” is an insightful and informative book that provides a deep dive into the world of mental illness. The author’s personal story is both heart-wrenching and inspiring, and provides a unique perspective on the challenges faced by those with mental illness and their families. While the book is lengthy and emotionally difficult to read at times, it is well worth the time for those who are interested in learning more about mental health care.

Amazon Review: 

Unf*ck Your Brain: Getting Over Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Freak-Outs, and Triggers with science (5-Minute Therapy)

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Unfuck Your Brain: Getting Over Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Freak-Outs, and Triggers with science (5-Minute Therapy)
  • Harper, Dr (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 191 Pages - 11/07/2017 (Publication Date) - Microcosm Pub (Publisher)

Dive into the best strategies on how to conquer your mental health problems by adding “Unf*ck Your Brain: Getting Over Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Freak-Outs, and Triggers with science (5-Minute Therapy)” onto your reading list! 

ProsCons
Written in a humorous and engaging way that keeps readers interested. 

The author uses scientific research to explain how the brain works to better understand mental illnesses. 

Provides practical tips and exercises to help readers manage their mental health.
Some readers may find the language and humor too strong or offensive.

A relatively short book, which may lack in-depth information for some readers.

Primarily focuses on trauma and may not be as helpful for those dealing with other mental health issues.

In “Unf*ck Your Brain,” Faith G. Harper uses her experience as a therapist to explain how the brain works and how it can be rewired to manage mental illness. Its conversational and humorous tone makes it easy and approachable to read. The book covers the underlying causes of a wide range of mental illnesses including anxiety, depression, anger and triggers. 

However, some readers may find the language and humor too strong and offensive. The book is also relatively short, which may not provide enough in-depth information about mental health. Additionally, the book primarily focuses on trauma and it may not be as helpful for others who are dealing with other disorders.

Amazon Review: 

Stop Overthinking: 23 Techniques to Relieve Stress, Stop Negative Spirals, Declutter Your Mind, and Focus on the Present (The Path to Calm)

Stop Overthinking: 23 Techniques to Relieve Stress, Stop Negative Spirals, Declutter Your Mind, and Focus on the Present (The Path to Calm)
  • Trenton, Nick (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 200 Pages - 03/01/2021 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

“Stop Overthinking: 23 Techniques to Relieve Stress, Stop Negative Spirals, Declutter Your Mind, and Focus on the Present” is a book worth reading as it can guide you to overcome overthinking and anxiety. 

ProsCons
Provides practical solutions to help you overcome overthinking and anxiety.

The techniques are easy to understand and implement in your daily life.

Well-written and engaging, making it an enjoyable read. 
Not suitable for people who prefer a more clinical approach.

Some of the techniques may not work for everyone.

A relatively short book, which may limit in-depth information.

“Stop Overthinking: 23 Techniques to Relieve Stress, Stop Negative Spirals, Declutter Your Mind, and Focus on the Present” is a valuable book for those who are overthinkers and struggling with anxiety. The author provides practical solutions to help you overcome these issues for a more peaceful life. The book is also well-written and engaging, making it an enjoyable read for everyone. 

One downside of the book is that it may not be suitable for people who prefer a more clinical approach. Additionally, some of the techniques may not work on everyone, therefore it’s important to keep an open mind and try different methods that may work best for you. It is also a relatively short read, which may limit in-depth information about mental illnesses. 

Amazon Review: 

The Pale-Faced Lie: A True Story

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The Pale-Faced Lie: A True Story
  • Crow, David (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 564 Pages - 03/02/2020 (Publication Date) - Sandra Jonas Publishing (Publisher)

“The Pale-Faced Lie: A True Story” is a gripping non-fiction book about mental illness that you will simply not be able to put down! So consider adding it into your reading list to fully understand the complexities of mental health. 

ProsCons
A compelling and inspiring true story that will keep you interested from start to finish.

Provides a powerful insight into the impact of mental illness and abuse on a family, showcasing the resilience of the human spirit. 

The writing is engaging and well-crafted, with vivid descriptions that bring the story to life.
Some readers may find the story to be dark and disturbing, as it deals with themes of abuse and trauma.

The book is lengthy and may take some time to read.

Not a self-help book, which lacks practical advice or coping strategies for those seeking guidance,

Author David Crow shares his challenging experiences growing up in a dysfunctional family in 1960s Arizona. Despite his hardships, including poverty, racism, and abuse, he manages to find hope and inspiration through his love of music and his determination to succeed. It also provides a deep insight into the impact of mental illness, abuse on a family, and the resilience of the human spirit. 

While “The Pale-Faced Lie: A True Story” is both harrowing and unlifting, some users may find it dark and disturbing. It’s important to note that this is not a self-help book, therefore readers should consider seeking other options if they need advice or coping strategies for their mental illness. Additionally, its 500 page read may be considered too lengthy for some. 

Amazon Review: 

It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle

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It Didn't Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle
11,028 Reviews
It Didn't Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle
  • Wolynn, Mark (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 04/25/2017 (Publication Date) - Penguin Life (Publisher)

To help you better understand how inherited trauma can shape a person and how to end the cycle, then be sure to consider reading “It Didn’t Start with You.”

ProsCons
Provides insight into how family trauma can be passed down through generations.

Offers practical tools and techniques to break the cycle of inherited trauma.

Written in a clear and concise manner, making it easy to understand. 
Some readers may find the book to be too technical or academic.

Primarily focuses on inherited family trauma, which may not be helpful for those suffering from other types of mental health issues. 

The book can be emotionally challenging to read. 

In “It Didn’t Start with You,” author Mark Wolynn explores the concept of inherited family trauma and its major impact. He provides practical tools to help readers break the cycle of inherited trauma and live healthier, happier lives. The book is written clearly and concise, making it easy to understand. The author also provides several examples and case studies to support his points. 

While this book has become a valuable tool for many, some readers may find it to be too technical or academic. It is also primarily focused on inherited family trauma, which may not be an ideal read for those suffering from other mental illnesses. Additionally, it can be emotionally challenging to read at times. 

Amazon Review: 

FAQs

How do non-fiction books about mental illness help in raising awareness and reducing stigma?

Non-fiction books about mental illness can play an important role in raising awareness and reducing stigma by providing readers with accurate, evidence-based information about mental health conditions. By sharing personal stories and expert insights, these books can break down stereotypes and misconceptions while encouraging more open and honest conversations about mental health.

What are the key differences between various types of mental illnesses as explained in non-fiction books?

Non-fiction books about mental illness often provide detailed explanations of the different types of mental health conditions and their symptoms. For example, books like “The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide” by David J. Miklowitz and “The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook” by Edmund J. Bourne can help readers better understand the differences between various types of mental illnesses and how to manage them. 

How do non-fiction authors categorize and describe different types of mental illnesses?

Non-fiction authors categorize and describe different types of mental illnesses based on diagnostic criteria and personal experiences. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is often used as a reference for categorizing mental illnesses. 

Some non-fiction books that describe different types of mental illnesses include “The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry” by Jon Ronson, “The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: What You and Your Family Need to Know” by David J. Miklowitz, and “The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook” by Edmund J. Bourne.

What are the common warning signs of mental illness as discussed in non-fiction literature?

Non-fiction literature often discusses the common warning signs of mental illness. These warning signs may include changes in mood, behavior, and thought patterns. 

Some non-fiction books that discuss warning signs of mental illness include “The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementias, and Memory Loss” by Nancy L. Mace and Peter V. Rabins, “The Sociopath Next Door” by Martha Stout, and “The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness” by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn.

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