The best mental disorder books 📚

Browse the best books on mental disorders as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

Coming Fall 2022: The ability to sort this list by genre (signup here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books).

Book cover of Lit

Lit

By Mary Karr

Why this book?

Karr is a poet, and you cannot race through Lit. Her language is to be untangled and savored. Only then can you grasp the profound dawning of a woman as she stumbles, soberly, towards God. In the last half, Karr is desperation personified, and she is encouraged by an AA fellow to pray. I was enthralled by Karr’s journey to find a Higher Power, trying on spirituality and religions with a fierce and humble willingness. (The 12-Steps are not about religion.) Karr does find an unlikely connection to Catholicism. I’m grateful for her transparency; the open window into her…

From the list:

The best books that get inside the addict’s mind

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of The Center Cannot Hold

The Center Cannot Hold

By Elyn R. Saks

Why this book?

Books on mental illness usually describe it either from the outside or the inside. Elyn Saks does both, integrating a subjective, first-person view with an objective, scholarly perspective. Saks is a legal scholar and psychoanalyst who has struggled with schizophrenia since her childhood. She combines vivid descriptions of what it feels like to be psychotic with clear-eyed discussions of the scientific, medical, and legal issues raised by schizophrenia. I haven’t read a better book on mental illness.

From the list:

The best books on mind-body

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Parenting With Depression Made Easier: how to defeat depression and mental illness with power, love and family.

Parenting With Depression Made Easier: how to defeat depression and mental illness with power, love and family.

By Evan Richards

Why this book?

This book, again, tackles mental health issues. And yes, I cried reading it. It defines depression and explains the different types of mental illness. In the second chapter, it debunks 10 myths around depression. The author encourages you to address your mental illness and gives you various methods to do so.


From the list:

The best honest, real life, emotion evoking books to fill your parenting arsenal with

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of The Last Asylum: A Memoir of Madness in Our Times

The Last Asylum: A Memoir of Madness in Our Times

By Barbara Taylor

Why this book?

Ever since the anti-psychiatry movement began in the 1960s, the asylum has gotten a pretty bad rap (think: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, a book I would have recommended had I been given a sixth choice!). Barbara Taylor’s brave memoir brings an unexpectedly positive reassessment of an institution where she spent several years of her life: Friern Mental Hospital, also known as the Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum. After experiencing severe anxiety, Taylor was admitted to Friern in 1988 where she found a meaningful community and therapeutic support network before the hospital was dismantled in the early 1990s. The…

From the list:

The best books for rethinking the line between sanity and madness

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

By Susannah Cahalan

Why this book?

I read this during my first retail job, post military. My job was nothing compared to the protagonist’s role at the New York Times, but I could relate to her sense of urgency. She needed to push herself; to always exceed expectations even if it was causing her physical/emotional pain.

People called her a drama queen or even a self-centered bitch. That was why the diagnosis of a brain illness was, in a way, a happy ending. She wasn’t a bad person; she was just sick and needed help (or at least an ounce of compassion from her superiors.)…

From the list:

The best books for minimum wage daydreamers, undercover, and undiscovered LGBTQ superheroes

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things

By Jenny Lawson

Why this book?

Jenny Lawson is a woman who took her mundane life and turned it into a world of humor, magic, and cultural insanity. In a previous life, she worked in HR (dealing with employees who sent dick pics), suffered half a dozen miscarriages, among other mental/physical hardships. She moved to Texas with the world’s greatest husband, settling into a life of writing, collecting humorous taxidermy, and crushing on Nathan Fillion. Her nonfiction life is a series of adventures that will inspire the freaks and outsiders of society to take notes and create something beautiful for future generations to examine. 

From the list:

The best books for minimum wage daydreamers, undercover, and undiscovered LGBTQ superheroes

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Or, view all 65 books about mental disorders

New book lists about mental disorders

All book lists about mental disorders

Bookshelves related to mental disorders

Browse books by…