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Reading is always seen as a good use of time and is recommended for anyone. But can your choice of book help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression?

Ultimately, it’s possible, but it depends on the book choice, and you will need other treatments as well. When dealing with anxiety, the more tools in your kit, the better.

Finding something as simple as a book to bring you peace of comfort at the end of the day is an easy and self-sufficient way to manage symptoms.

Diagnosis of mental disorders such as anxiety and depression is on the rise, with forty million adults in the United States (roughly 18% of the population) affected by some form of anxiety disorder every year (verywellmind.com).

Books can be a great way to gain a deeper understanding of your anxiety or depression and educate you on coping mechanisms.

According to the annual survey conducted by the APA since 2007, stress levels in America are at an all-time high (verywellmind.com). And as such, it’s vital that we continue to educate ourselves on anxiety and how to manage stress.

This article will suggest some of the best books on the market to help with anxiety and depression.

Can Reading About Depression and Anxiety Actually Help You?

There are several benefits to reading books about depression and anxiety. One is simply that they allow you to understand your condition more. The more you understand why you feel what you feel, the easier it is to break down and tackle the issues at hand.

Another benefit to reading about anxiety and depression is the act of reading itself. Many people find reading to be relaxing and almost meditative. So if you enjoy reading or take any kind of pleasure in it, it may temporarily alleviate symptoms.

Additionally, reading books about anxiety and depression is a way to hear a professional opinion without making an appointment with a therapist.

However, it’s essential to understand that reading alone will not be enough to cure you, but it’s a good starting point.

Overall, reading books about anxiety and depression will not be enough to treat anxiety and depression. You will still need to do the emotional legwork, face your pain and talk about it with a family member, friend, or therapist.

Reading and intellectualizing the problems you face will not be enough to solve them. Therapy, self-care, and even medication in some circumstances will be necessary.

books for anxiety
Image Credit: racheladawson.com

Best Books To Read To Overcome Anxiety and Depression.

1. Unwinding Anxiety

New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind By Judson Brewer.

This book is written by a neuroscientist; which is an excellent sign of trustworthiness. As a result, Unwinding Anxiety takes the top spot for books to read to help you deal with anxiety and depression.

Brewer is an internationally renowned addiction psychiatrist and neuroscientist, with over 16 million views of his TED talk “A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit.”

In addition, Brewer has trained Olympians and government ministers, and the book has received a generous dose of praise.

The book centers around mindfulness, backing up the ideas with science to help the reader understand how the brain works.

Brewer aims to help the reader unlearn damaging habits in the way we think, and allow space to create healthier stress-coping strategies.

Brewer provides a step-by-step guide to alleviating obsessive, anxious, and unhelpful thinking patterns.

Despite being written by a neuroscientist, the language is easy to read, and the information is digestible. The book is up-to-date and bases its theories on the latest research, but not the latest trends.

You can find the book at a reasonable price, between $10 and $20, depending on if it’s hardcover or paperback.

2. Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne.

This book is different in its approach, providing exercises and lifestyle changes for the reader. And as such, it’s titled a workbook, as it’s almost like brain homework.

Therapists recommend The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, as it educates the reader on their condition and gives them skills to implement to manage it.

Bourne provides breathing and relaxation strategies, exercise and nutrition tips, and mindfulness techniques.

So, if you’re ready to put in the work and start tackling your behaviors and looking inward, this might be the book for you.

  1. Essential Strategies for Social Anxiety: Practical Techniques to Face Your Fears, Overcome Self-Doubt, and Thrive By Alison McKelroy
    Our final recommendation is a short yet comprehensive guide to dealing with social anxiety. Many of us deal with social anxiety, especially since the pandemic. This book helps you work through your fears and deal with anxiety-inducing social scenarios.
    The strategies are backed by science, providing you with the tools to handle social anxiety and increase confidence.
    This book also incorporates elements of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), unlike many other books which focus solely on CBT. Readers may find this helpful in honing their knowledge and applying it to real-life scenarios.
    What To Look For When Choosing A Book About Anxiety and Depression.
    In case none of these books felt right for you, here are a few things you can look out for when choosing a book to help with anxiety and depression:
  2. Scientific evidence. Ideally, you should look for a book that bases its treatment on well-proven therapy techniques, such as CBT, ACT, CBT, and mindfulness.
  3. Helpful. The book you really need will help you put in the work to heal instead of just explaining what you have.
  4. Writers credentials. Try to look for an author with qualifications in psychology.

What Helps Most With Anxiety and Depression

Even though anxiety is very treatable, only about 40% of people who struggle with anxiety receive help (verywellmind.com). It’s crucial that you take steps to deal with the problem because you do not need to suffer; help is available.

Although reading is an excellent addition to anxiety and depression treatment, other methods will be necessary to alleviate symptoms and deal with the root causes.

Treatment for anxiety and depression is usually a combination of self-help, therapy, and medication if necessary.

  1. There are several types of psychotherapy to choose from, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, counseling, and psychodynamic therapy. You can also engage in online therapy; you can head to betterhelp.com to find the right therapist for you. Some form of therapy is highly recommended when treating mental disorders, as it addresses the root of your problems, not just your symptoms.
  2. Self-help mechanisms can be utilized to manage anxiety and depression. This can include reading books, reaching out to loved ones, eating and sleeping well, exercising, and establishing a good day-to-day routine.
  3. You can also take certain medications to alleviate symptoms and help you cope with daily life. It’s often said that a combination of antidepressants and some form of talking therapy is the best way to deal with depression long-term (forbes.com).

When to See a Doctor for Anxiety

Feeling anxious is a normal part of life, and it’s difficult to tell when you have a bigger issue to deal with. Those with anxiety disorders will experience bouts of anxiety more regularly and persistently, with feelings of intense anxiety.

Some of the most common symptoms of anxiety are (nhs.com):

● Feelings of fatigue.
● Restlessness or nervousness.
● Irritability.
● Increased heart rate.
● Difficulty concentrating.
● Trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep.
● Tense muscles.
● Sweating.

Generally speaking, you should see your doctor if:

● Your anxiety is affecting your daily life or interfering with your work or relationships
● Your fear, worry, or anxiety is feeling out of control and is causing significant distress.
● You are having trouble with substance misuse or other mental health concerns related to your anxiety.
● You suspect your anxiety could be causing is being caused by other physical health problems.
● You are experiencing suicidal thoughts or causing harm to yourself. Please seek emergency treatment if so.

Final Thoughts

If you are feeling anxious right now, try to understand that you are not alone. Countless books and therapies exist to help with anxiety and depression because it’s so common.

Although reading alone will not cure you, it can be a great start in looking inward, understanding yourself, and taking small steps to change your thought patterns. Reading can make you feel like you’re in control again and choose to help yourself.

However, we suggest reaching out to a professional to receive a diagnosis and treatment plan if you are struggling. There are dozens of treatment options available, and one will be right for you.

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