The most recommended OCD books

Who picked these books? Meet our 24 experts.

24 authors created a book list connected to OCD, and here are their favorite OCD books.
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Book cover of Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts: A CBT-Based Guide to Getting Over Frightening, Obsessive, or Disturbing Thoughts

Mark E. Crawford Author Of The Obsessive Compulsive Trap: Real Help for a Real Struggle

From my list on obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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. 

Mark's book list on obsessive-compulsive disorder

Mark E. Crawford Why did Mark love this book?

I frequently recommend this book to people who suffer from intrusive thoughts. Most people who suffer from intrusive thoughts try to “not think” them, which ultimately makes them stronger and more frequent. This book helps people understand the nature of intrusive thoughts and offers very practical and empirically demonstrated effective strategies for dealing with them. 

By Sally M. Winston, Martin N. Seif,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

You are not your thoughts! In this powerful book, two anxiety experts offer proven-effective cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) skills to help you get unstuck from disturbing thoughts, overcome the shame these thoughts can bring, and reduce your anxiety.

If you suffer from unwanted, intrusive, frightening, or even disturbing thoughts, you might worry about what these thoughts mean about you. Thoughts can seem like messages-are they trying to tell you something? But the truth is that they are just thoughts, and they don't necessarily mean anything. Sane and good people have them. If you are someone who is plagued by thoughts…


Book cover of The Butterfly Clues

Sedonia Guillone Author Of The Boy on the Lawn: Young Adult Suspense

From my list on YA thrillers with fearless brilliant teen sleuths.

Who am I?

My passion for the mystery genre began when I read Nancy Drew back in second grade. I chain read the series. I think it’s a natural impulse to want to understand mysteries and the one thing we can solve is a mystery on paper since so many things don’t lend themselves easily to explanations. The first incarnation of my writing career was as an M/M romance author and one of my romantic suspense novels, Acts of Passion, featured Dr. Michael DiSanto, a genius, quirky, and handsome profiler with a fascinating past. I grew to love that character so much that his backstory was born in The Boy on the Lawn.

Sedonia's book list on YA thrillers with fearless brilliant teen sleuths

Sedonia Guillone Why did Sedonia love this book?

I love mysteries with a sensitive protagonist who sees what no one else sees and cares enough to get at the truth when everyone else has dismissed it. Penelope Marin is dealing with grief by collecting trinkets. When she recognizes a trinket in a market stall that had belonged to a murdered young woman, she becomes obsessed with finding out the truth of what happened to her, even though it means putting herself into dangerous situations. Penelope (“Lo”) is brave and determined and doesn’t let anyone else’s disbelief stop her from caring about a murdered woman whom no one else cares about and has written off as unsolved. This is the kind of story that always has me riveted.

By Kate Ellison,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Butterfly Clues as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Penelope (Lo) Marin has always loved to collect beautiful things. Her dad's consulting job means she's grown up moving from one rundown city to the next, and she's learned to cope by collecting (sometimes even stealing) quirky trinkets and souvenirs in each new place - possessions that allow her to feel at least some semblance of home.

But in the year since her brother Oren's death, Lo's hoarding has blossomed into a full-blown, potentially dangerous obsession. She discovers a beautiful, antique butterfly pendant during a routine scour at a weekend flea market, and recognises it as having been stolen from…


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

Mark E. Crawford Author Of The Obsessive Compulsive Trap: Real Help for a Real Struggle

From my list on obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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. 

Mark's book list on obsessive-compulsive disorder

Mark E. Crawford Why did Mark love this book?

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. 

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.


Book cover of The Self-Compassion Workbook for OCD: Lean Into Your Fear, Manage Difficult Emotions, and Focus on Recovery

Drew Linsalata Author Of Seven Percent Slower - A Simple Trick For Moving Past Anxiety And Stress

From my list on understanding and overcoming anxiety.

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.

Drew's book list on understanding and overcoming anxiety

Drew Linsalata Why did Drew love this book?

I love this book because Kim Quinlan takes a somewhat nebulous concept and explains it in very practical and engaging terms. People struggling to overcome OCD often wind up beating themselves up and treating themselves very un-kindly, making a difficult situation even more difficult. Kimberley strikes many chords in this book in the way she explains why being kind and compassionate to yourself is so important when working to overcome OCD. She doesn’t stop there. She offers many excellent, practical ways that one can explore and practice self-compassion. A must-read for anyone dealing with OCD.

By Kimberley Quinlan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Self-Compassion Workbook for OCD as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A compassionate guide to help you manage OCD symptoms, overcome feelings of shame and stigma, and revitalize your life!

If you're one of millions who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), you're all-too-familiar with feelings of anxiety, panic, shame, and uncertainty. In addition, the stigma associated with OCD can make you feel unworthy of receiving the compassion and kindness you need and deserve. You may even experience unwanted intrusive thoughts that result in harsh self-judgment-which can actually hinder your recovery and lead to additional mental health problems. So, how can you break this destructive cycle and start feeling better?

The Self-Compassion…


Book cover of Into the Darkest Corner

Louise Stone Author Of S is for Stranger

From my list on to send shivers down your spine.

Who am I?

I love psychological thrillers because I have firsthand dealt with OCD and gaslighting. Therefore, I find the human mind fascinating, and how the line between sanity and insanity is changeable. I think as humans we want to feel safe and hence, we box things into categories but all these thrillers I have recommended force you to look outside of the boxes and they can be chillingly thought-provoking. I am obsessed with writing that gives the reader such graphic insight into a character’s thoughts and actions. If you want unputdownable books, these are the ones for you!

Louise's book list on to send shivers down your spine

Louise Stone Why did Louise love this book?

This book personally resonates with me as I suffer with OCD.

The character must overcome countless mental challenges now that she thinks she has met the man of her dreams. It is a brilliant portrayal of gaslighting, so accurate and chillingly on point. If you like books that are emotionally immersive and you can almost touch and breathe the characters, this is superb.

By Elizabeth Haynes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Into the Darkest Corner as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Catherine Bailey has been enjoying the single life long enough to know a catch when she sees one. Gorgeous, charismatic and spontaneous, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true. And her friends clearly agree, as each in turn falls under his spell. But what begins as flattering attentiveness and passionate sex turns into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon learns there is a darker side to Lee. His increasingly erratic, controlling behaviour becomes frightening, but no one believes her when she shares her fears. Increasingly isolated and driven into the darkest corner of her world, a desperate Catherine plans a…


Book cover of Hangover Square

Tim Willis Author Of Madcap

From my list on madness, drugs, and rock’n’roll.

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.

Tim's book list on madness, drugs, and rock’n’roll

Tim Willis Why did Tim love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of The Imp of the Mind: Exploring the Silent Epidemic of Obsessive Bad Thoughts

Chad LeJeune Author Of "Pure O" OCD: Letting Go of Obsessive Thoughts with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

From my list on thoughts, and our relationship with them.

Who am I?

As a clinical psychologist, I listen to thoughts all the time. I’m also having my own, constantly. We rely on our thoughts to help us navigate the world. However, our thoughts can also be a source of suffering. At times, they're not such reliable guides or helpers. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a way of thinking about thinking. ACT captured my imagination early in my clinical career. I trained with ACT’s originator, Steven Hayes, in the early 1990’s. I’ve come to believe that being more aware of our own thoughts, and our relationship to them is key to creating positive change and living a life grounded in our values.

Chad's book list on thoughts, and our relationship with them

Chad LeJeune Why did Chad love this book?

Dr. Baer was a leading clinician and researcher in the area of treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which is essentially a problematic relationship between an individual and their thoughts. 

His focus was on struggles with thoughts that we identify as “bad” or unacceptable. This book was one of the first texts to fully describe what has come to be called “Pure O” OCD.  

By Lee Baer,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of The Someday Birds

Kate Foster Author Of All the Small Wonderful Things

From my list on middle grade about neurodivergent kids.

Who am I?

I’m an autistic person and mother of an autistic child and a huge part of my book-loving life is finding characters like us. Up until the last few years that’s not been easy, but this lack of fair representation has driven me to seek out books that shine a spotlight on neurodivergent children, smashing stereotypes and harmful notions that continue to be promoted and adored via mainstream media. Recommending books that portray neurodivergent characters in a way that does more harm than good and reinforces the stigma and treatment of neurodivergent people in real life, so I use my platform to talk about the right books telling the right stories. 

Kate's book list on middle grade about neurodivergent kids

Kate Foster Why did Kate love this book?

The Someday Birds was an absolute page-turner for me.

The author draws you immediately into the main character, Charlie’s, head and keeps you there in the most delightful way with writing that is beautifully lyrical and immersive. To some, on the outside, the plot may seem quiet, but it is explosive and loud to Charlie. That is what matters and makes this book such a clever and accurate representation of an autistic brain.

It’s also a wonderfully balanced portrayal, not shying away from the everyday struggles autistic people often battle through, but also the purity and joy they can experience if allowed. 

By Sally J. Pla, Julie McLaughlin (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Someday Birds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

The Someday Birds is a debut middle grade novel perfect for fans of Counting by 7s and Fish in a Tree, filled with humor, heart, and chicken nuggets. Charlie's perfectly ordinary life has been unraveling ever since his war journalist father was injured in Afghanistan. When his father heads from California to Virginia for medical treatment, Charlie reluctantly travels cross-country with his boy-crazy sister, unruly brothers, and a mysterious new family friend. He decides that if he can spot all the birds that he and his father were hoping to see someday along the way, then everything might just turn…


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

Drew Linsalata Author Of Seven Percent Slower - A Simple Trick For Moving Past Anxiety And Stress

From my list on understanding and overcoming anxiety.

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.

Drew's book list on understanding and overcoming anxiety

Drew Linsalata Why did Drew love this book?

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!

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…


Book cover of The Worry Cure: Seven Steps to Stop Worry from Stopping You

Mark E. Crawford Author Of The Obsessive Compulsive Trap: Real Help for a Real Struggle

From my list on obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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. 

Mark's book list on obsessive-compulsive disorder

Mark E. Crawford Why did Mark love this book?

Most people who suffer from OCD also suffer from anxiety in general. Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder that we see. This book is a great resource to help you understand the nature of anxiety. It also offers practical and well-researched techniques and tools to help you manage anxiety more effectively in order to help you minimize the impact of anxiety and worry on your life. 

By Robert L. Leahy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Do you worry that you'll say the wrong thing, wear the wrong outfit, or look out of place? Or maybe that you'll make a mistake at work, disappoint your partner, or overlook a serious health problem? Or perhaps you just worry too much - constantly running what-if scenarios through your head? Of course you do - we all do. Worry is a central issue in many people's lives; 38% of people say they worry every day. In this groundbreaking book, Dr Robert Leahy offers new insight, advice and practical techniques for everyone who has ever had a sleepless night. Using…