Book Recs for Depressed Individual


Hi, all. A friend of a friend is currently in jail and extremely depressed. I’ve been asked to recommend some books (any and all subjects) to lift his spirits. Any thoughts?

All suggestions welcomed!

Thank you.
Maybe some fiction? I am not sure whether this person wants get help books or something to occupy their mind.
I have always found Stephen King a good author in that he draws you into his little world.

:) Melissa
Paragonah, UT
If you want something funny check out Bill Fitzhugh's Organ Grinders or Tim Dorsey's Orange Crush. They are two of the most hilarious books I've ever read.
Q. What are some books about depression?

This is an shorter version from a list of books compiled from the
personal recommendations of the members/readers/participants of the
Walkers-in-Darkness mailing list, the
newsgroup, and the Mood Disorders Support Network on AOL.

The full list is available at the Walkers ftp site (see Internet
Resources) and at the MIT *.answers site,;

If you have any additions, updates, corrections, etc. for this list,
please send email to "[email protected]" (Dan Ash).

~A Brilliant Madness: Living with Manic Depressive Illness.~ Patty
"Anna" Duke and Gloria Hochman. Bantam Books 1992 Comments: Patty
Duke's very personal account of her account of her struggle with

~The Broken Brain: The Biological Revolution in Psychiatry.~ Nancy
Andreasen, MD, Ph.D.. Harper. Perennial. 1984

~Care of the Soul.~ Thomas Moore. Harper. Perennial. 1992

~The Consumers Guide to Psychotherapy.~ Jack Engler, Ph.D. and Daniel
Goleman, Ph.D. Fireside-Simon & Schuster. 1992

~Cognitive Therapy & The Emotional Disorders.~ Aaron T. Beck, MD
Penguin. Meridian. 1976

~Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness.~ William Styron. Vintage. 1990.

~The Depression Handbook.~ Workbook. Mary Ellen Copeland

~Depression and it's Treatment.~ John H. Greist, MD.. and James W.
Jefferson, MD.. Warner Books. 1992

~The Essential Guide to Psychiatric Drugs.~ Jack Gorman. St. Martin's
Press. 1992

~Everything You Wanted to Know About Prozac.~ Jeffrey M. Jonas, MD and
Ron Schaumburg. Bantam. 1991

~Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy.~ David Burns, MD. Signet. 1980
Self-help cognitive therapy techniques for depression, anxiety, etc.

~The Feeling Good Handbook.~ David D. Burns, MD. Plume. 1989

~Good Mood: The New Psychology of Overcoming Depression.~ Julian L.
Simon. Open Court Press. 1993.

~The Good News About Depression.~ Mark S. Gold. Bantam. 1986

~Listening To Prozac.~ Peter D. Kramer, M.D. Viking. 1993 A
psychiatrist explores some of the implications of anti- depressants,
and especially of Prozac's unusual effects on the personality. Kramer
also discusses the recent research on depression, as well as several
other issues which seem linked to depression.

~How to Heal Depression.~ Harold H. Bloomfield, MD and Peter
McWilliams. Prelude Press. 1994

~Manic-Depressive Illness.~ Fredrick K. Goodwin, MD, & Kay Redfield
Jamison, Ph.D.. Oxford. 1990

~Munchausen's Pigtail.~ Psychotherapy and 'Reality': Essays & Lectures.
Paul Walzlawick, Ph.D.. Norton

~On The Edge Of Darkness.~ Kathy Cronkite. Doubleday. 1994

~Overcoming Depression.~ Demitri F. and Janice Papolos. Harper.
Perennial. 1992. Good basic text on the various aspects of depression
and manic depression. Considered by some to be a "classic" in the

~A Primer of Drug Action: A Concise, Non technical Guide to the"
"Actions,Uses and Side Effects of Psychoactive Drugs.~ Robert M.
Julien. W.H. Freeman. 1992. 6 ed.

~Prozac: Questions and Answers for Patients, Families and Physicians.~
Dr. Robert Fieve, MD... Avon. 1993

~Questions and Answers about Depression and its Treatment.~ Dr. Ivan
Goldberg. The Charles Press in Philadelphia. 1993. A 112-page FAQ on
depression that has appeared in book form. Dr. Goldberg has also
contributed to the FAQ for a.s.d. and frequently posts to

~A Reason to Live.~ Melody Beattie (General Editor).. Tyndale House
Publishers, Inc.. 1992. This is a book that explores reasons to live
and reasons not to commit suicide. It also contains suggestions for
life-affirming actions people can take to help themselves get through
those times when they're struggling to find a reason to live.

~From Sad to Glad.~ Nathan S. Kline, MD. Ballantine Books.. 1991 20th
printing. Out of date pharmacologically "but excellent otherwise."
Kline says: "Psychiatry has labored too long under the delusion that
every emotional malfunction requires an endless talking out of
everything the patient ever experienced."

~Season of the Mind.~ Norman Rosenthal, MD.. This book explores
Seasonal Affective Disorder.

~Talking Back to Prozac.~ Peter Breggin. St. Martins Press. 1994

~Touched with Fire: Manic-depressive Illness and the Artistic~
~Temperament.~ Kay Jamison. A look at a number of 19th century poets,
writers, and composers who were Bipolar. This book in quoted
liberally in this FAQ under "Who are some famous people with

~Toxic Psychiatry: Why Therapy, Empathy, and Love Must Replace Drugs,~
~Electroshock, and the Biochemical Theories of the 'New Psychiatry'.~
Peter Breggin. St. Martin's Press. 1991

~We Heard the Angels of Madness: One Family's Struggle with Manic~
~Depression.~ Diane and Lisa Berger This book was written by a mother
who had a son stricken by manic-depression at 19 and documents the
rough road they walked to get him the help he needed. Very heartfelt
and well written.

~Understanding Depression.~ Donald Klein, MD, and Paul Wender, MD
(founders of the National Assn. for Depressive Illness). Oxford,
1993 Melvin Sabshin, MD, Medical Director, American Psychiatric Assn.
writes: "A very good source of information that will be
extraordinarily useful to patients and their families."

~The Way Up From Down.~ Priscilla Slagle, M.D. This book stresses a
nutritional approach heavy on the amino acid tyrosine, and a complete
vitamin supplement program.

~What You Need to Know About Psychiatric Drugs.~ Stuart C. Yudofsky,
MD; Robert E. Hales, MD; and Tom Ferguson, MD. Ballantine. 1991

~When am I Going to Be Happy?~ Penelope Russianoff, Ph.D.. Bantam.

~When the Blues Won't Go Away.~ Robert Hirschfeld, MD... 1991 Concerns
new approaches to Dysthymic Disorder and other forms of chronic
low-grade depression.

~Winter Blues: Seasonal Affective Disorder and How to Overcome It.~
Norman Rosenthal, MD... The Guilfold Press. 1993

~You Are Not Alone.~ Julia Thorne with Larry Rothstein. Harper Collins.
1993 Comments: The writings of depressives, for both depressives and
those who need to understand them. Shervert Frazier, MD, former
director of the National Institutes of Mental Health says: "A
ground breaking book that...reveals the impact of depression on the
lives of everyday people. This little book is must reading for
sufferers, those associated with depression, and mental health

~You Mean I Don't Have To Feel This Way?~ Collette Dowling. Bantam.
1993 Comments: Jeffrey M. Jonas, MD writes: "An important book that
is filled with information helpful to sufferers of mood and eating
disorders and other illnesses. It should be read not only by lay
people but also by professionals who deal with these illnesses."
> ~Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy.~ David Burns, MD.
>Signet. 1980
> Self-help cognitive therapy techniques for depression,
>anxiety, etc.

This book helped me a LOT.

Tell him he needs the book, "How to break out of prison". LOL.

No seriously. Hard not to be depressed in prison. An immediate family member of mine was there for quite a while and had plenty of time to work on his mind. Tell him to exercise too. Plenty of time for that too, lol

May I recommend "Managing your Mind". It is a great book that talks about how to deal with depression but also touches on a variety of other mental probs, such as low self esteem and anxiety. We know these often go hand in hand with depression. This is not just a book that tells you about what depression is, but it teaches you coping skills for all types of different probs, which is really the key. Teaching yourself to think differently....

Hope the time passes swiftly for your friend. :-(
My thoughts are epic books he can get lost in. So...

1) Gone With the Wind (Most consider it a love story but IMO it's a book about survival.)

2) Lonesome Dove (Larry McMurty)

3) Into Thin Air and Into the Wild by John Krakauer. (not epic really but those books you can't put down)

4) The Sparrow and Children of God by Mary Doria Russell

Also, Good Poems for Hard Times, edited by Garrison Keillor. I'm not a fan of poetry but really enjoy this book.



Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow - what a ride!’ — Peter Sage
I know some really good books. Nelson DeMille's books are very worth reading. They are full of action, excitement, psychological suspense, human nature, and a satisfying ending.

They are full of faith and humor as well. They are positive yet realistic. Get your friend any one of DeMille's books, like Word of Honor, and he will probably ask for the next one.
I would recommend any of the Mitford series by Jan Karon - At Home in Mitford, A Light in the Window, etc. - there are about 7 of them and you don't have to read them in order. It's fiction, about an Episcopal minister in a small Southern town, his wife and adopted son, his big old dog, his cantankerous secretary, the colorful townspeople, etc. - with a little bit of uplifting religious (Christian) quotes thrown in but certainly not the cram-it-down-your-throat approach. (I'm not religious at all, and I very much enjoy these books.) Whenever I read one, at the beginning I think, OH this is a little too corny, but by the end of the book I feel renewed and refreshed and grateful. It's fairly easy reading and very soothing and fun to read.

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