Best Depression Self Help Books 2018

Depression is the most common and diverse mental illness out there. There is no set reason nor a set cause. Depression affects everyone differently depending on numerous factors such as gender, age, race, religion, economic standpoint, sexuality, environment, biology, stress, and hormones. Everyone experiences their depression in a different manner. Your brain chemistry is different from your neighbors and so your depression will work its way it seems fit. Read my article here that discusses different causes and symptoms of depression.

Depression is a disease like any other physical disease in the world today. It is ongoing and devastating. It kills and doesn’t care who you are. This is why those who suffer from depression need our respect, attention, and awareness. Do not let these people fade into darkness. Allow them to know there is always hope and they are never alone. 

Nonetheless we can all take steps to overcome this mental illness naturally. Natural remedies can range from exercise to healthy dieting to supplementation to self help books. Today, I will focus on the best depression self help books and ones that I have read and personally admire. These best selling self help books will really open your eyes on what it feels like to have depression; what depression really is and how it affects those who have it. If you have depression, then these top self help books will aid you in the way you need to beat this mental illness.

They will provide you with causes of depression, diagnosis, and treatment. They will expand on important concepts such as the role of sadness, anger, loneliness, and anxiety with depression and applying the cognitive system of therapy to help beat depression. By reading one of these books, you will be able to pin point specific areas related to your depression and ultimately see what course of action you should take. Other remedies in these books that are offered are relaxation, social skill enhancement, applying self-defeating thinking, and mood control.

Ultimately, these books will allow you to regain a new, lightened perspective on your life and wellness by teaching you how to cope with depression, control your mood, build a support system, increase your self-confidence and self-esteem, avoid toxic situations, and use remedies such as exercising, cognitive therapy, dieting, and helping you to truly understand your depression.

Best Depression Self Help Books

The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression: A Step-by-Step Program

  • William J. Knaus
  • This book stresses on the importance of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) which is a widely used treatment for depression because it has worked for many people suffering from depression and more specifically, depressive thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that keep people from enjoying life.
  • The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook will allow you to evaluate your own depression and learn important skills to overcome it. This includes worksheets and exercises that will help you overcome negative beliefs about yourself and your life that keep you trapped in episodes of depression. This book will also allow you to apply behavioral mechanisms that therapists use with their own clients such as activity scheduling and discovery of ways to deal with stress, anxiety, and anger. It ultimately provides you with endless strategies and mechanisms you can use in your own life to beat your depression.

Control Your Depression

  • Peter Lewinsohn
  • This best selling self help book has helped many regain their love of life. It will give you a clear understanding of the implications of depression and what really goes on inside the brain of the depressed. What we think of? What we do? Why we think this way? And ultimately, how to overcome this? The author, Lewinsohn develops a personalized therapeutic program for you because he believes everyone experiences depression differently. Therefore, you will be able to pinpoint specific areas related to your own depression.
  • He stresses on techniques and mechanisms associated with relaxation, social skills, and applying combat against self-defeating thinking patterns. In this way, it helps the reader not only understand their depression, but also help them realize how to conquer it.

Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness

  • William Styron
  • This Pulitzer Prize winning novelist shares his journey with suicidal depression. He emphasizes his own loneliness and despair of major depression. This book may be very helpful for those who do not understand depression and how it affects people. It may be valuable for family members who are having difficulty understanding what a patient close to them is going through.
  • Styron elaborates on detachment of his own self, insomnia, physical aversion to alcohol, and self-destruction which ultimately allows us to piece together how and why his depression led him to psychiatric treatment and hospitalization.

The Bell Jar

  • Sylvia Plath
  • This is an autobiographical novel published by prize-winner poet, Slyvia Plath a month before her suicide. It tells us the story of her hospitalization for severe depression, including shock treatments. It is definitely a harder book to read but also very important to understand what depression is and what it is capable of.
  • It tells the story of a gifted young woman’s mental breakdown starting during a summer internship as a junior magazine editor in New York City in the early 1950’s. The real Plath committed suicide in 1963, leaving behind this honestly sad and perfectly written book, which can be classified as one of the best-told stories of a woman’s entry into insanity.

Cognitive Therapy and the Emotional Disorders

  • Aaron Beck
  • Beck is one of the founders of cognitive therapy and stresses the importance of such therapy to combat emotional disorders such as depression. He writes a comprehensive guide to the understanding of emotional disturbance. He highlights important concepts such as hidden messages, the role of sadness, anger and anxiety, understanding and conquering depression, listening to automatic thoughts, and ultimately applying the cognitive system of therapy to specific problems.

Against Depression

  • Peter Kramer
  • Kramer makes an interesting case, one which we should all understand and keep in the back of our minds at all times. He makes the case that depression is a physical disease and should be treated as such. He walks us through the status of depression as a devastating disease and suggests pathways towards conquering it. Against Depression, provides us with a bold understanding of this mood disorder and promises hope to the many who have it.
  • This self help depression book also provides an excellent support system for anyone struggling to define and understand their talents existing separately from their mental illness.

The Depression Workbook: A Guide for Living with Depression and Manic Depression

  • Mary Ellen Copeland
  • This best selling self help book is a workbook that provides those struggling with essential exercises to help patients take responsibility for their own well-being. Copeland allows us to understand depression by teaching us how to combat it. She emphasizes the need for coping skills such as tracking and controlling different moods, increasing self-confidence and self-esteem, using relaxation, building of a support system, avoiding situations that can induce mood swings, and using diet and exercise at its fullest to stabilize moods.
  • Included is a step by step process to help those struggling to develop their own plan for managing depression and getting better.

There you have it. The best depression self help books. I recommend all of these. They really help you to understand depression and understand the best ways to control and beat it.

Depression is not a hoax. It is real and it does kill. We could all benefit from reading these books, if you have depression or you don’t. It is a disease and needs the up most attention, awareness, and respect.

Before you go, I would like to encourage you to read my articles that will also help you with your depression.

  • Depression and Exercise (here)
  • Depression and Diet (here)
  • Depression and Best Supplements (here)
  • Depression and Best Medication (here)
  • Understanding your own Depression (here)
  • 5-HTP Benefits (here)
  • How to help a friend with Depression (here)
  • How to explain your Depression (here)
  • Anger and Depression (here)
  • Depression and Fatigue (here)

If you have any questions or concerns, please leave a comment below and I will be happy to get back to you.


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Robert Sherwood


  1. Thanks for this list – I have a good friend suffering from severe depression, he’s attempted suicide twice. Antidepressants only help a little, what he needs is a cognitive approach. I’ll share this website with him.

    • Sorry to hear that Penelope. Please share this with him. Natural remedies with a cognitive approach will be good.

  2. Thanks for the good information. Depression is a monster that can destroy lives so it is good to see that you are supplying some things that can help someone out. What I did not know that exercise would be a helping factor to depression.

    • Glad I could help Ronnie. Exercise is a huge factor when battling depression. So important!

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