Best Psychology Books, Book Reviews - Self Help Books with Substance

16th October 2023

Best Psychology Books:

Back from the Brink: True Stories and Practical Help for Overcoming Depression and Bipolar Disorder

Exercise for Mood and Anxiety: Proven Strategies for Overcoming Depression and Enhancing Well-Being

The Instinct to Heal: Curing Depression, Anxiety and Stress Without Drugs and Without Talk Therapy

Overcoming Compulsive Hoarding: Why You Save and How You Can Stop

The Cyclothymia Workbook: Learn How to Manage Your Mood Swings and Lead a Balanced Life

Med Free Bipolar: Thrive Naturally with the Med Free Method (The Bipolar Disorder Ultimate Survival Guide to Fast Natural Cures Book 1)

Overcoming ADHD Without Medication
A Parent and Educator's Guidebook, by the AYCNP

By the AYCNP, this 124 page book and ebook, providing facts, details, problems and solutions for ADHD. Created for parents and educators. It gives professionals deeper insight into causes and solutions for ADHD. Evidence based, much documentation and solution oriented.

Midwest Book Review - 5 Stars *****
An excellent read that should very much be considered by concerned parents.

"Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder almost comes at an epidemic level. "Overcoming ADHD without Medication" is a guide for parents who want to pursue treating this condition for their children without resorting to drugs such as Ritalin, which carry some side effects. With a lot of thought and understanding of concern, "Overcoming ADHD without Medication" is an excellent read that should very much be considered by concerned parents."

Bipolar Children - 4 stars
edited by Sharna Olfman

What is behind the exponential rise in the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children over the past 10 years? Is medication the best form of treatment for children diagnosed with bipolar disorder? Is bipolar disorder a symptom of a breakdown in values of society, and is it a biological disease that should be medically treated? Is the medical-model approach to bipolar disorder the most accurate explanation for the symptoms normally attributed to the disorder.

Are there any repercussions from the extensive use of medication in the treatment of bipolar disorder in children? Is treatment with anticonvulsants and atypical antipsychotics advisable in preteen or children?

Sharna Olfman has again edited a thought-provoking series of articles from well known psychiatrists, child psychiatrists, psychologists and child-care experts in her book Bipolar Children. (2007) - Highly recommended for parents. Read more...

No Child Left Different - 4 stars
by Sharna Olfman, Ph.D.

No Child Left Different discusses child development, childhood disorders such as bipolar disorder and ADHD, medications, media’s role, other topics.

A monumental, anchoring work with two chapters written by Sharna Olfman, a Clinical Psychologist and Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Humanities at Point Park University, Pittsburgh. She teaches child development and directs the annual Childhood and Society Symposium.

With the increasing diagnosis of such disorders as ADHD and bipolar disorder in children, has come a marked increase in the use of powerful psychotropic drugs being prescribed for preschoolers up until the teenage years. Are such diagnosis valid, or are there other explanations and reasons for children’s psychological problems?

Sharna Olfman develops this theme, with two opening chapters and nine other qualified writers who elaborate on various aspects of children’s mental health, medication, and other serious issues on the subject. Anyone in the field of mental health, special education or parents who are struggling with these issues with their own children, should read this book.

It points out not only the problems, but also gives ideas that can help to direct parents and children so as to avoid the pitfalls of the current mental health system, as well as to make practical adjustments in life in orders to overcome the severity of symptoms, or other adjustments. Such topics as the nature of children’s mental health, the community....Highly recommended!!....
Read More....

365 TV-Free Activities You Can Do With Your Child: Plus 50 All-New Bonus Activities - 3 1/2 stars, by Steven J. Bennett, Ruth Bennett

This book was first spotted in a first grade classroom. It has great ideas to keep children creative, engaged, and busy in positive activities. This is a wonderful idea book for parents, to help them keep their children creatively engaged without the need to flip on the TV. Children who learn to do without television become more creative, positive, and self-reliant. Their self-esteem is higher and they even benefit academically.

Any ideas to help parents to keep the television turned off in the home is welcome.

Remotely Controlled: How Television is Damaging Our Lives - 4 stars
by Aric Sigman, PhD

Excerpts from Remotely Controlled

Television is a fact of life for most of us, like it or not, like cell phones or emails, a way of life, and an ubiquitous part of our day-to-day existence that we often take for granted. How did we ever live without it? Children are shocked to learn there was a time when there was no television. What did people do with themselves?

Dr. Aric Sigman, an American psychologist presents a convincing case against the television lifestyle of four hours per day that the average American spends vegging in front of the television. Does television as a way of life contribute to obesity? Poor health? Depression? ADHD in children? ADHD in adults? According to Sigman, who provides documentation in the form of well-researched clinical studies, the answer is yes. Television does all that and more. Sigman, you can clearly see in this book, despises the television lifestyle......Read More

Mommy, I'm Scared: How TV and Movies Frighten Children and What We Can Do to Protect Them - 4 stars, by Joanne Cantor, PhD

Scary and horror movies affect a child's emotional and psychological development. Parents need to be cautious with what movies they allow their children to watch.

This is an excellent reference on the psychological effects of "scary" movies and children. From R-rated and slasher movies, to common horror movies like Jaws, to children's movies for young children such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Alice in Wonderland.... This book explains in a balanced way how movies and television can affect the psychology of a child....Read More....

The Mislabeled Child - 3 Stars
by Brock Eide and Fernette Eide

Labels have a tendency to stick and can be harmful for a child's self-image. Parents need to be very cautious about pinning a label, or allowing a well-meaning professional apply a label to their child. Psychiatric labeling can immobilize a parent into taking any serious steps in self-help to assist their child towards improvement.

The psychiatric system of labeling children is controversial and flawed, according to this husband and wife medical team. Children are being inappropriately labeled, which leads to the next step of sometimes aggressive treatment with medication.

What can be done to help children and address their needs, without this flawed system. A book of interest to all in the medical profession and for some parents as well.

Another book with a similar theme is child psychiatrist, Scott Shannon's book based on his many years of experience, Please Don't Label My Child.

Natural Prozac - 4 stars
by Joel Robertson,Ph.D.

Natural Prozac describes what you can do to naturally raise the level of the serotonin in your brain chemistry, gently and gradually, and thus step ahead in overcoming depression.

Written by psychologist from E. Lansing, MI, Joel Robertson, Ph.D. Natural Prozac gives detailed understanding into how brain chemistry effects mood, in simple, easy to understand terms. He demonstrates the connection between what we take in through our senses and the resulting brain chemistry and mood. It also shows the connection between the type of music we listen to and mood. Read More...

Potatoes Not Prozac - 3 1/2 stars
by Kathleen DesMaisons, PhD

Diet and nutrition is one aspect of mental health (and general health) that is of importance when considering depression and (most, if not all) other mental health disorders. Any book that gives good, sound guidelines on diet and nutrition is of value for those with depression. It is one of the first-line defenses that anyone with depression should consider.

For those who consume a lot of sugar in one form or another, or who are sugar sensitive, who overconsume or have addiction of or compulsive tendencies with alcohol, Potatoes not Prozac offers a good program or plan of action.

The concepts can be implemented with various levels of commitment. There are good principles for general nutrition in this book as well as a program to help you to make big changes in your diet and way of life. The changes the Potatoes not Prozac recommend lend themselves well towards good mental health.

Diet and nutrition are just one aspect among many for prevention and recovery with mental health disorders of most types. Potatoes Not Prozac - Read More

What Causes ADHD? - 3 1/2 stars
by Joel Nigg, PhD

Professor Nigg is associate professor of psychology at University of Michigan. In his book, he examines 100s of clinical studies to discover the roots of ADHD. He discusses the subject of the use of medication for the treatment of the symptoms of ADHD and the statistical increase of its use in the US in recent years.

Nigg provides support to the idea that ADHD is much more than a simple chemical imbalance but that there may be a combination of social, genetic, physical and lifestyle factors that contribute to the disorder. He also presents evidence that environmental contaminants such as lead poisoning may be responsible for some cases of ADHD. Nigg's book is scientifically oriented.... Read More....

The Myth of the ADHD Child - 3 Stars
by Thomas Armstrong, PhD

Armstrong presents an excellent history of ADHD, 25 practical suggestions on how to overcome ADHD without medication. How psychiatric labeling produces arbitrary medical treatment of children.

Armstrong considers treatment of symptoms of ADHD through practical measures.

What changes can be made in the lifestyle of the family or child? Can cutting back on TV help? Taking the TV out of the bedroom? Are there changes in diet? A more structured routine? or some other balanced changes that can help a child with the symptoms of ADHD.

Armstrong's work is well thought out and well researched, coming from years of experience. Recommended resource.

The ADD & ADHD Question and Answer Book
The Top 275 Questions Parents Ask - 4 Stars, by Susan Ashley, PhD

Dr. Ashley is a child psychologist in California who works with children in her practice. She founded a children’s center there for that purpose and has many years of experience. Her book on ADHD is also one of the better researched, supported and thorough books on the subject. It is recommended. She discusses what can be done practically for children, what can be accomplished within the school system. How the system works as far as special education goes, as well as realistically giving the benefits verses risks of medication for children with ADHD.

She supports the view that many psychologists who have written on the subject have taken, that it would seem as if there is an over-reliance on medications, that there are complications and that there is much that can be done with the exception of medication in most cases. (although not giving a blanket ban on medication in every situation.) It is in the top 3 or 4 books that have been written on the subject for parents. READ MORE

Rethinking ADHD: Integrated Approaches to Helping Children at Home and at School - 4 stars by Ruth Neven Schmidt, PhD, Vicki Anderson, PhD and Tim Godber, PhD

Rethinking ADHD was written by an Australian team of therapists and researchers and explores the thought of the social dynamics behind ADHD, the overmedication of children, what is needed to help children overcome the problem of attention deficit and what has happened in the field of mental health in recent years with respects to children, especially in relation to England and Australia.

It is probably one of the most insightful books into the causes of ADHD, and the social issues that are part of the driving force of ADHD. It leans towards that view, that is the lack of social structure and family life that is causing many children to have attentional problems and that reliance or over-reliance on medication for children with ADHD is not the wisest course...
Read More on Rethinking ADHD Review

Prozac Backlash - 3 1/2 stars
by Joseph Glenmullen, M.D.

>Dr. Glenmullen's book is written by a psychiatrist who is said to have prescribed copious amounts of Prozac and other antidepressants in his practice for up to eight or more years. He started out as being very enthused about the use of Prozac and other SSRIs, but in time came to find that what started out sweet often ended sour, and led to many long-term problems with his patients. He elaborates on this thought in his book Prozac Backlash, and highlights the idea that “ lifestyle changes” are what is necessary in order to cope and overcome depression, in addition to, for some, talking things out and getting support. Some who may have had problems in childhood or other traumas may be in need of therapy.

Dr. Glenmullen presents his thought and evidence that extended use of such mood altering drugs as Prozac, over long periods of time can damage the dendrite endings of brain cells, giving pictures to illustrate what can happen. It is a wakeup call for many who are on Prozac and other SSRIs, that the temporary use of antidepressants should never become a lifestyle.

He recommends the use of Prozac and other SSRIs only as a temporary measure, 2-4 months at the most, for persons whose life might be in danger from depression or suicidal thoughts, as a preventive measure and bridge, while lifestyle issues are sorted through and a more comprehensive plan initiated. Read More....

The Antidepressant Solution - 3 1/2 stars
by Joseph Glenmullen

How to come off antidepressants safely and gradually. Coming on and off antidepressants and switching medications often, can be taxing on the mind and potentially dangerous.

Anyone trying to come off antidepressants should do so gradually over 6 months or a year.

Dr. Glenmullen's work is designed to help a person safely come off of antidepressants. He encourages the reader to share the information with his or her doctor and to work along with the doctor on the goal of coming off antidepressants.

Other authorities have similarly encouraged coming of antidepressants gradually. This is true of any psychotropic drug.

Comfortably Numb: How Psychiatry Is Medicating a Nation
by Charles Barber

Comfortably Numb is an interesting general analysis of how antidepressant use has become so prevalent. Facts and information such as that women are prescribed much more in the way of antidepressants, that one in three women that goes to the doctor receives an antidepressant prescription for one reason or another.

Also, that family doctors are the largest prescribers of antidepressants, and that more often than not, there is no follow up care, and no serious information provided on potential side effects or dangers. Instructions on taking prescription drugs such as antidepressants are often lacking.

Barber describes how the DSM-IV psychiatric manual evolved, and how the DSM-III, which changed the face of the DSM diagnoses, as well as the face of modern psychiatry, was developed by one man, Robert Spitzer of Columbia. Informative reading and research.

Contingency Management for Substance Abuse Treatment: A Guide to Implementing This Evidence-Based Practice, by Nancy Petry, PhD

Contingency Management expert Nancy Petry provides a definition of Contingency Management as follows, "the systematic reinforcement of desired behaviors and the withholding of reinforcement or punishment of undesired behaviors, is an effective strategy in the treatment of alcohol and other drug (AOD) use disorders." More simply, in CM, provision is made for rewards or granting privileges for specific positive behaviors. The idea of CM ws first formerly applied in animal research, but research in controlled settings in affecting changes in human behavior have shown evidence that it is an effective adjunct therapy, complimentary to other forms of therapy already being implemented.

Petry states in Psychiatric Times that the concept of Contingency Management (CM) is often used by parents when they provide or withhold an allowance contingent upon the child performing certain household tasks such as making their own bed or keeping their grades up. CM is implemented in the classroom by some teachers on a limited basis, a pizza party at the end of the week if the class as a whole meets certain behavioral expectations, rewards from the school at the end of the year for perfect attendance or academic achievements.

The primary idea in Petry's book Contingency Management for Substance Abuse Treatment: A Guide to Implementing This Evidence-Based Practice, is with respect to use in substance abuse treatment in a clinical setting, but also has broader application in any type of controlled or clinical setting with adults or adolescents.

To be effectively used in a clinical setting, Contingency Management must be carefully managed with a...Read More....

The 6 Most Important Decisions You Will Ever Make - A Guide for Teens
by Sean Covey - 3 1/2 Stars

Sean Covey writes a book from the heart, somewhat passionate for teens. He guides teens through career choices. Gives an inspiring pep talk to attend and complete college, shows them the hows whys and wherefores of avoiding premarital sex, pornography, drugs and drinking. How to successful get through teenage years as a virgin. The information on pornography and drugs is excellent. If any parent is struggling with either of these two problems with their teens, it is good information to share with them.

This is an excellent school or public library book.

Young people in school who looked through this book almost always looked first towards the section on dating and sex...READ MORE

So Sexy So Soon - 4 Stars
by Dianne Levin, PhD

Dianne Levin was a school teacher and for the past 25 years has taught up and coming teachers as a college professor. She has much experience with children on a personal and professional level. She wrote a book So Sexy So Soon, in which she documents the tremendous influence that the media can have on children and teens in the area of sex.

She details how Bratz Dolls have supplanted Barbie Dolls, which themselves are an icon of stereotyped female beauty, and which are evolving in to more sexual forms as of today. Disney, she describes as "A Lion In Sheep's Clothing," stating that it projects an unrealistic sexuality with its Disney Princess empire and fairy tales in an effort to fully capitalize on consumerism as it relates to pre-teen girls.

The popular Disney TV station is also very much involved, with High School Musical and some other programs which are ostensibly designed with older teens in mind, but the audience of which is largely eight-year-olds... Read complete article....

The Sexualization of Childhood - 3 1/2 Stars
Edited by Sharna Olfman, PhD. 2008.

After finishing reading the last lines of the Sexualization of Childhood, it took a long-deep breath to be able to stand up, and several days of semi-comatic shock to recover. I thought I had heard it all, but guess that I hadn't. I haven't had a sheltered life by any means, but what was related in this book was shocking. What is happening behind the scenes in the United States, Eastern Europe and other countries in the way of pornography and the exploiting of children is beyond imagination.

That the Internet is being used to such a large extent for pornography in such a short time that it has been in existence is remarkable. According to the statistics quoted in this book, 30% of all searches in Internet Search Engines are for pornography.
Look here for complete book review

Refusing Care - Force Treatment and the Rights of the Mentally Ill
by Elyn Saks

This book is about the rights of the mentally ill by lawyer and Associate Dean Elyn Saks, who herself suffers with schizophrenia.

Saks feels that the psychiatric system in the United States vacillates between two extremes, completely ignoring those with mental health disorders, and over-treating them.

She feels that in most cases, patients should have the right to refuse medical care, in the form of drug therapy or other measures, if they choose to do so. Forcing medication on people....Read More

The Psychology of Baseball: Inside the Mental Game of the Major League Player - 3 1/2 stars, by Mike Stadler

Mike Stadler gives us a well researched look into the inner-mind workings of major league baseball from about every angle one could think of. He tends to dwell on the physics of baseball quite a bit, as far as the mind effects the actual pitch and hit. A 90 mile an hour fastball reaches the plate in about ½ a second. So it is quite phenomenal that a hitter can connect. More than any other sport, baseball is a mind-game, a game of waiting.

He speaks also of the somewhat violent act of throwing a ball by the pitcher, stating that about 25 pitchers have had “spontaneous fracture of the humeral shaft, through the act of throwing the ball, which more than throwing a dart, “must be done violently.” He also relates how fan bases are accumulated, how do you become a Yankees fan or a Mets fan? While we often times inherit our teams from our parents, or from the area in which we live and other factors....Read More

See also page: Sports Psychology.

Drawing Together to Manage Anger
by Marge Eaton Heegaard

Drawing and painting can be one of several effective therapies for controlling and managing anger. It is one effective tool that can be used to help. By Marge Eaton Heegard who has several books on how to use drawing to cope with feelings.

Anger issues come up with many diagnosed mental health disorders, including bipolar disorder. Therefore, coping with anger is an important step in controlling symptoms.

While most psychiatrists try to control patients' symptoms through medication, this approach is both practical and enjoyable (with no side effects).

Engaging in artwork helps you to develop self-control, and to control anger. Try it!