The best OCD books

11 authors have picked their favorite books about OCD and why they recommend each book.

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Take Control of OCD

By Bonnie Zucker,

Book cover of Take Control of OCD: A Kid's Guide to Conquering Anxiety and Managing OCD

While specific to OCD (versus anxiety more broadly), this is a gem of a book that needed to be included in a best-of listing. Like a really good CBT therapy session, the book walks tween and teen readers through the specifics of OCD including what it is, why it happens, and what to do about it. Exposure and Response Prevention (ER/P), the gold standard in the treatment of OCD, is given ample space here, with clear examples to help readers (with the support of an adult) figure out how to chip away at OCD. Plenty of therapists use this book as a guide, for good reason.

Take Control of OCD

By Bonnie Zucker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Take Control of OCD as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Take Control of OCD: A Kid's Guide to Conquering Anxiety and Managing OCD is a must-have guide for kids and teens ages 10-16 with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder to help them take control and use their strengths to find success in school and in life. This fully updated second edition:

Uses a cognitive-behavioral therapy and exposure/response prevention method to stress gradual exposure to obsessive thinking patterns. Provides a step-by-step ladder-based process to help readers conquer their fears and demolish their worries. Helps kids change their obsessive thoughts, tolerate uncertainty, and develop positive self-talk and stress management. Also helps kids advocate for their…

Who am I?

I am a Clinical Psychologist and the parent of a once-anxious child who grew up before I developed the expertise I now have, which means I did just about everything wrong. The silver lining, I guess, is that I see anxiety not only from a therapist’s perspective but also through the eyes of a child who is suffering and a parent who has no idea how to help. All of the books I have written, and all that I have recommended, speak respectfully to children and the adults reading with them about real struggles and real solutions. I feel privileged to be able to do this work.


I wrote...

Outsmarting Worry: An Older Kid's Guide to Managing Anxiety

By Dawn Huebner,

Book cover of Outsmarting Worry: An Older Kid's Guide to Managing Anxiety

What is my book about?

Worry has a way of growing, shifting from not-a-big-deal to a VERY BIG DEAL in the blink of an eye. This big-deal Worry is tricky, luring children into behaviors that keep the anxiety cycle going. Children often find it hard to fight back against Worry, but not anymore.

Outsmarting Worry teaches 9 to 13-year-olds and the adults who care about them a specific set of skills that makes it easier to face – and overcome – worries and fears. Smart, practical, proven techniques are presented in language immediately accessible to children with an emphasis on shifting from knowing to doing, from worried to happy and free.

Hangover Square

By Patrick Hamilton,

Book cover of Hangover Square

George Bone is a sensitive drunk with a touch of psychosis and a modest private income. Leading a rackety life in pre-war Earls Court, he’s in love with a sponger, a failed actress who wants to exploit him for his connections, and he bears her humiliations without complaint. But sometimes, something clicks in his brain and he imagines killing her and her seedy sidekick and going home to Maidenhead and peace. Boarding houses and bottle parties, blow-outs in the West End and Brighton: Hamilton captures a miserable, boozy, coarse and uptight world, and provides an ending to match.

Hangover Square

By Patrick Hamilton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hangover Square as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Set in late 1930s London, Hangover Square is the brilliant and disquieting tale of George Harvey Bone, a perpetual drunk. He suffers from 'dark' moods, which click on and off without warning, as if someone has tripped a switch in his head. On his supposedly better days, George whiles away his time nursing a pint or six and obsessing about the attractive but cruel small-time actress Netta. Disgusted by his own helpless devotion and his increasingly erratic behaviour, George is driven to the edge - culminating in Hangover Square's spectacular and haunting climax.
Read by Julian Rhind-Tutt, esteemed actor who…

Who am I?

Until the millennium, I was a features journalist with an abiding fascination in Sixties counter-culture. Being a friend of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, I heard Syd’s story first-hand. After having my own breakdown and psychiatric treatment, I decided to apply my experience and interests in writing an account of Syd’s short but sweet creative life. With Gilmour’s tacit blessing, his contemporaries – including Floyd co-founder Roger Waters – gave me access. And through interviewing them, I came to my own understanding of Barrett: by turns a crazy diamond and a dark globe.


I wrote...

Madcap

By Tim Willis,

Book cover of Madcap

What is my book about?

Beautiful, charismatic, prodigiously talented, Syd Barrett virtually invented the British psychedelic scene. In 1966, he founded Pink Floyd. He wrote, played the lead, and sang on their first album. By 1968, he was suffering from severe mental illness. Two chaotic, haunting, solo albums followed before Barrett withdrew to a suburban existence in his native Cambridge. For 35 years, he gave no interviews (save for a short conversation with Willis). But in his half-life, Barrett became a cult: the dead rock star who hadn’t died. In the first edition of this book (2002), Willis traced a hopeful history of rock’s lost genius, helped by family and old friends. For the second edition, following Barrett’s death in 2006, Willis revisited his subject’s terraced home – and his own impressions.

Buried in Treasures

By David Tolin, Randy O. Frost, Gail Steketee

Book cover of Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding

As a child of an extreme hoarder, this book helped me realize the extent of and truly understand my father’s disorder. The authors do an amazing job of explaining a very difficult and painful mental disorder and offering real treatments that work. If you or someone you love is afflicted with hoarding disorder, this book is a must-read.

Buried in Treasures

By David Tolin, Randy O. Frost, Gail Steketee

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Buried in Treasures as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

While most people find it relatively easy to manage their possessions, some find it extremely difficult. If you have a problem resisting the urge to acquire and you find your home cluttered and filled to capacity with items many people would find useless and unnecessary, you may suffer from a condition known as hoarding disorder.

Hoarding is a behavioral problem consisting of clutter, difficulty discarding items, and excessive buying or acquiring. Hoarding is often associated with significant reduction in quality of life, and in extreme cases, it can pose serious health risks. If you or a loved one has hoarding…

Who am I?

I have always referred to myself as “obsessive-compulsive delightful,” but who knew I could turn that lifelong trait into a booming business? While working as a personal assistant, I discovered I had the ability to see through any mess and clearly envision a clutter-free space. Coupled with keen time-management and organizational skills, I soon found more and more people were asking me for help. Before I knew it, my company, dClutterfly was born. Twelve years and thousands of decluttered homes later, I knew it was time to take what I had learned working with my clients and write a book to help others dealing with clutter. Making Space, Clutter Free is a bestseller and continues to help people change their relationship to their stuff.


I wrote...

Making Space, Clutter Free: The Last Book on Decluttering You'll Ever Need

By Tracy McCubbin,

Book cover of Making Space, Clutter Free: The Last Book on Decluttering You'll Ever Need

What is my book about?

"This isn't another Kondo-clone, because she dives into the heart of why decluttering is so difficult."– Booklist, Starred Review

Discover the freedom of a beautiful home, personal purpose, and joyful inner confidence with the last home organization book you'll ever need. Learn how to declutter your home with expert Tracy McCubbin, who gets to the root of the problem and offers revolutionary help to anyone who has repeatedly tried to break their clutter's mysterious hold and achieve a clutter-free, minimalist home. Her powerful answer lies in the 7 Emotional Clutter Blocks, unconscious obstacles that stand between thousands of her clients and financial freedom, healthy relationships, and positive outlooks.

The OCD Workbook

By Bruce M. Hyman, Cherlene Pedrick,

Book cover of The OCD Workbook: Your Guide to Breaking Free from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

The OCD Workbook is a classic in my field. It is probably the best practical workbook to help people understand the various ways that OCD can affect someone, and offers practical and effective tools for overcoming your symptoms. It is probably the resource I most frequently recommend when helping someone with OCD. 

The OCD Workbook

By Bruce M. Hyman, Cherlene Pedrick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The OCD Workbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), chances are that your persistent obsessive thoughts and time-consuming compulsions keep you from enjoying life to the fullest. But when you are in the habit of avoiding the things you fear, the idea of facing them head-on can feel frightening and overwhelming. This book can help.

The OCD Workbook has helped thousands of people with OCD break the bonds of troubling OCD symptoms and regain the hope of a productive life. Endorsed and used in hospitals and clinics the world over, this valuable resource is now fully revised and updated with the latest evidence-based…


Who am I?

I’ve been a practicing clinical psychologist for over thirty years. I’ve seen many patients who have suffered from OCD – some to the point of being debilitated by their symptoms. Few things are as gratifying as helping someone overcome OCD and live a normal life. While the disorder can be confusing, once people understand what OCD is and how to treat it, they can literally change their lives for the better. This is why I went into this field to begin with, and after thirty years, I still feel privileged and grateful when I can help someone escape the prison of OCD symptoms. 


I wrote...

The Obsessive Compulsive Trap: Real Help for a Real Struggle

By Mark E. Crawford,

Book cover of The Obsessive Compulsive Trap: Real Help for a Real Struggle

What is my book about?

OCD can be debilitating for those who suffer from this disorder. Many people suffer in silence because symptoms can be confusing and embarrassing. Most people have a stereotype of what OCD looks like, but this disorder can masquerade in many forms. The good news is that OCD is a well-researched biological disorder with very effective treatments that can help people overcome intrusive thoughts and the need to engage in compulsive behaviors.

This book was written as an easy-to-understand overview of OCD in order to help people demystify and understand this disorder and to learn ways to overcome it. 

Loving Someone with OCD

By Karen J. Landsman, Kathleen M. Rupertus, Cherlene Pedrick

Book cover of Loving Someone with OCD: Help for You & Your Family

OCD affects not only the one with the disorder, but anyone in the family who loves the person with OCD. Most family members want to help their loved one who suffers from OCD, but their instincts are usually to help them “feel better,” which is often different from responding in a way that helps them “get better.” This book is a great resource to help a family member understand OCD and to learn how to support their loved one. 

Loving Someone with OCD

By Karen J. Landsman, Kathleen M. Rupertus, Cherlene Pedrick

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Loving Someone with OCD as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

People who suffer from mental illness rarely do so alone. Their families and loved ones face their own set of unique challenges - problems that deserve their own resources and sources of support. This is the first book written specifically for the loved ones of people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It helps readers examine how OCD affects their lives and offers a straightforward system for building a healthier, more constructive relationship with OCD sufferers.

Who am I?

I’ve been a practicing clinical psychologist for over thirty years. I’ve seen many patients who have suffered from OCD – some to the point of being debilitated by their symptoms. Few things are as gratifying as helping someone overcome OCD and live a normal life. While the disorder can be confusing, once people understand what OCD is and how to treat it, they can literally change their lives for the better. This is why I went into this field to begin with, and after thirty years, I still feel privileged and grateful when I can help someone escape the prison of OCD symptoms. 


I wrote...

The Obsessive Compulsive Trap: Real Help for a Real Struggle

By Mark E. Crawford,

Book cover of The Obsessive Compulsive Trap: Real Help for a Real Struggle

What is my book about?

OCD can be debilitating for those who suffer from this disorder. Many people suffer in silence because symptoms can be confusing and embarrassing. Most people have a stereotype of what OCD looks like, but this disorder can masquerade in many forms. The good news is that OCD is a well-researched biological disorder with very effective treatments that can help people overcome intrusive thoughts and the need to engage in compulsive behaviors.

This book was written as an easy-to-understand overview of OCD in order to help people demystify and understand this disorder and to learn ways to overcome it. 

Stuff

By Randy O. Frost, Gail Steketee,

Book cover of Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things

Randy Frost and Gail Steketee have done groundbreaking research on hoarding disorder, and their work has helped shift the conversation away from the traditional shame-and-blame approach to the subject. In these case studies, they dig into what drives individuals to accumulate extreme amounts of clutter. Emphasis on individuals—each of these people has a unique, often fascinating story, and Frost and Steketee treat them with compassion and understanding. Stuff helped me understand that forced cleanouts and harsh interventions don’t solve the problem, they only inflict more trauma.

Stuff

By Randy O. Frost, Gail Steketee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stuff as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Bestseller

Acclaimed psychologists Randy Frost and Gail Sketetee's groundbreaking study on the compulsion of hoarding, "Stuff invites readers to reevaluate their desire for things” (Boston Globe).

What possesses someone to save every scrap of paper that’s ever come into his home? What compulsions drive a woman like Irene, whose hoarding cost her her marriage? Or Ralph, whose imagined uses for castoff items like leaky old buckets almost lost him his house? Or Jerry and Alvin, wealthy twin bachelors who filled up matching luxury apartments with countless pieces of fine art, not even leaving themselves room to…

Who am I?

I didn’t choose clutter as a topic—it chose me. Around the time Marie Kondo became a tidying-up sensation, my mother suffered a breakdown and could no longer live in her dangerously cluttered house. I’m an only child, so it fell to me to figure what to do with it all. So much stuff! It got me wondering: How did clutter get to be such a huge problem for so many people? The books on this list helped answer that question and made me feel less alone in the struggle with stuff. I hope you find them useful too.


I wrote...

Clutter: An Untidy History

By Jennifer Howard,

Book cover of Clutter: An Untidy History

What is my book about?

Inspired by the painful process of cleaning out her mother’s house, Jennifer Howard sets her own personal struggle with clutter against a meticulously researched history of just how the developed world came to drown in material goods. In an age when Amazon can deliver anything at the click of a mouse and decluttering guru, Marie Kondo can become a reality TV star, Howard’s bracing analysis has never been more timely. Slim and compelling, Clutter is a book for anyone struggling to understand why they have so much stuffand what to do about it.

Book cover of Turtles All the Way Down

Green is a master at handling character-driven plots and complex interior spaces. Turtles All the Way Down is a spectacle of that skill, centralizing a teenage girl tangled up in some spiraling intrusive thoughts. This complicates typical YA things like dating, friendships, school, and some not-so-typical YA things like a case of a missing billionaire. Green’s mix of sobriety and hope for mental health is glacial water in a sweltering pressure for an immoral smile (especially from young women).

Turtles All the Way Down

By John Green,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Turtles All the Way Down as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The critically acclaimed, instant #1 bestseller by John Green, author of The Anthropocene Reviewed and The Fault in Our Stars

"A tender story about learning to cope when the world feels out of control." -People

"A sometimes heartbreaking, always illuminating, glimpse into how it feels to live with mental illness." - NPR

John Green, the award-winning, international bestselling author of The Anthropocene Reviewed, returns with a story of shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

Aza Holmes never intended to pursue the disappearance of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there's a…

Who am I?

My imagination knows little bounds. Yes, I was that weird kid who could entertain herself in the backyard with just a couple of sticks. I have since learned that language is what we use to build and make sense of our own realities. As a young woman, it is my hope to expand the feminine imagination – how we perceive femininity and the diversity of its voice. As a writer and human in general, my interest lies in how writing can care for human experience with honesty, humor, and empathy. And bonus points if something magical or mysterious happens along the way. 


I wrote...

Nowhere Where the Honeybees Live

By Caroline Wood,

Book cover of Nowhere Where the Honeybees Live

What is my book about?

Charlie doesn't sleep. She makes shadow puppets instead, so she doesn't dream of honeybees. Her summer plans are set: delivering tomatoes, taking walks with Fynn, and avoiding the room in her house that doesn't exist. Her plans come crashing down when clues about past mysteries return, and when her older brother, Elliot, goes snooping around the biggest mystery of all - their mom's disappearance. Scared of losing him, she'll force herself to follow his pursuit, even when they're pushed beyond Banks, Oregon and plunge somewhere dark, deep, and buried. Nowhere where there's sunlight. Nowhere where the honeybees live.

Henry's Sisters

By Cathy Lamb,

Book cover of Henry's Sisters

Can I please give this book an extra star? I cried, I laughed, and wow, did I smile while reading Henry’s Sisters.

Henry is a special needs person, glue of the family, and the youngest child. The sisters are a famous photographer and professional one-night stander, Isabelle, her angry, food addicted, kindergarten teaching twin, Cecilia, and Janie, an OCD best-selling crime novelist who invents twisted ways to kill her characters. The cast is rounded out by stripper mom, and Amelia Earhart (grandma has dementia).

Rife for disaster with sharp wit and heartache, the family is busy navigating their tortuous past when Henry is diagnosed with terminal cancer. The dialogue shifts leaving the reader begging for Henry to live and applauding his choice to die. This book is how cancer affects a family.

Henry's Sisters

By Cathy Lamb,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Henry's Sisters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An emergency homecoming forces three sisters to deal with issues they’d rather ignore in this touching novel by the author of All About Evie.

Ever since the Bommarito sisters were little girls, their mother, River, has written them a letter on pink paper when she has something especially important to impart. This time, the message is urgent—River requires open-heart surgery, and Isabelle and her sisters are needed at home to run the family bakery and care for their brother and ailing grandmother.

Isabelle has worked hard to leave Trillium River, Oregon, behind as she travels the globe taking award-winning photographs.…


Who am I?

Being diagnosed with an incurable cancer and told I may only live 5-years forced me to become an expert in the misconceptions of how to behave and what to say to cancer patients. It’s all bunk! What I know: (1) Don’t tell me “Call if you need anything.” I’m the one who’s sick, you need to call me. (2) Please don’t patronize me; I live in reality, not the land of rainbows, unicorns, and miracles. (3) It’s okay not to know what to say; I’m as blown away as you are. What patients need is honesty, present and available support, and laughter – a lot of it.


I wrote...

Voices of Cancer: What We Really Want, What We Really Need

By Lynda Wolters,

Book cover of Voices of Cancer: What We Really Want, What We Really Need

What is my book about?

Exploring the unsayable thoughts, needs, and desires of people diagnosed with cancer, this book features real-life experiences and what people with cancer endure every day. The Voices of Cancer is a rich and enlightening, deeply moving book that is fraught with information on cancer.

The Voices of Cancer captures the inner worlds of people afflicted by the disease and provides insights that will inspire the right attitude of mind in both cancer patients and those close to them. A fantastic resource for both patients and non-patients, The Voices of Cancer is a book for anyone who wants to know what it is like to live with cancer and how to endure, in spite of the odds.

Needing to Know For Sure

By Martin N. Seif, Sally M. Winston,

Book cover of Needing to Know For Sure: A CBT-Based Guide to Overcoming Compulsive Checking and Reassurance Seeking

Overthinking and the inability to tolerate uncertainty are two huge problems for many people struggling with anxiety and anxiety disorders. The need to know and control can be so powerful that it sometimes goes off the rails, becoming a serious problem that creates anxiety, stress, and fear. Needing to Know For Sure is a no-nonsense accessible explanation of how being uncertain is a fact of life for everybody and how even the most dyed-in-the-wool overthinkers and control freaks and overcome the excessive need for assurance and control. You can learn to be “sure enough”, and it can change your life!

Needing to Know For Sure

By Martin N. Seif, Sally M. Winston,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Needing to Know For Sure as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Powerful skills based in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help you break free from the fear of uncertainty and put a stop to compulsive checking and reassurance seeking.

"How do I know I made the right decision?" "What if I'm wrong?" "I need to know for sure."

Do you have thoughts like these-thoughts that cause you to second-guess yourself, and lead to anxiety, stress, and worry? Do you find yourself repeatedly checking your email for no reason, asking others for their opinions about something again and again, or lying awake at night overgrazing and planning ahead in an attempt to…


Who am I?

I am a podcaster, author, and psychoeducator in the field of anxiety and anxiety disorders. I am also—as of 2022—a graduate student in clinical mental health counseling on the way to becoming a licensed psychotherapist. My own experience with anxiety and depression over 25+ years has fueled a passion for the theory and mechanics behind anxiety disorders and how they are treated. It would appear that my superpower is not only understanding these things, but also explaining them in a way that people can then understand for themselves. If that means I can help, then I’m happy to be doing what I do every day.


I wrote...

Seven Percent Slower - A Simple Trick For Moving Past Anxiety And Stress

By Drew Linsalata,

Book cover of Seven Percent Slower - A Simple Trick For Moving Past Anxiety And Stress

What is my book about?

Are you rushing around when anxious, stressed, or afraid? Seven Percent Slower is a friendly easy-to-read guide to understanding and breaking the speed habit that helps to fuel the anxiety and stress cycle. If you are in search of a calmer, less stressed, and less frantic life, learning to slow down can go a long way toward achieving that goal. Full of practical advice and sprinkled with humor, Seven Percent Slower is destined to become a useful addition to your anxiety recovery and life skills toolbox.

Book cover of Freeing Your Child from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Powerful, Practical Program for Parents of Children and Adolescents

If you have a child who suffers from OCD, this is the only book you really need. Dr. Chansky is one of the nation’s experts in pediatric OCD, and this book is the most informative and practical book I have read on the subject. This book with help you understand OCD (how it presents, what causes it) and how to help your child overcome this disorder. 

Freeing Your Child from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

By Tamar Chansky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Freeing Your Child from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you're a parent of one of the more than one million children in this country with obsessive-compulsive disorder, you know how confusing, even frightening, the symptoms of OCD can be. You're terrified of losing your child and angry about the havoc this disorder has wreaked in your family. More than anything, you want to be able to unlock the secrets of OCD, understand the cause of your child's bizarre symptoms, and help your child break free of these disruptive, relentless thoughts and actions.

In her landmark book, Freeing Your Child from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Dr. Tamar E. Chansky creates a…

Who am I?

I’ve been a practicing clinical psychologist for over thirty years. I’ve seen many patients who have suffered from OCD – some to the point of being debilitated by their symptoms. Few things are as gratifying as helping someone overcome OCD and live a normal life. While the disorder can be confusing, once people understand what OCD is and how to treat it, they can literally change their lives for the better. This is why I went into this field to begin with, and after thirty years, I still feel privileged and grateful when I can help someone escape the prison of OCD symptoms. 


I wrote...

The Obsessive Compulsive Trap: Real Help for a Real Struggle

By Mark E. Crawford,

Book cover of The Obsessive Compulsive Trap: Real Help for a Real Struggle

What is my book about?

OCD can be debilitating for those who suffer from this disorder. Many people suffer in silence because symptoms can be confusing and embarrassing. Most people have a stereotype of what OCD looks like, but this disorder can masquerade in many forms. The good news is that OCD is a well-researched biological disorder with very effective treatments that can help people overcome intrusive thoughts and the need to engage in compulsive behaviors.

This book was written as an easy-to-understand overview of OCD in order to help people demystify and understand this disorder and to learn ways to overcome it. 

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