Psychiatry Books By Famous Psychiatrists

Updated March 16, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Mental health is a fascinating subject to many. A decent amount of the population may experience mental and emotional health concerns at some point in life, which means learning about mental wellness can be beneficial for just about anyone. Even if you never encounter these challenges yourself, being educated may help you understand how to support others who do. There is a lot of information out there to sift through, and it's hard to know what's legitimate. One way you can learn about mental health and mental illness is by reading books by well-known psychiatrists. Below, we’ll discuss a few famous psychiatrists and their written contributions to the field so that you can find resources that sound interesting to you.

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Dr. Peter R Breggin, MD

Dr. Peter Breggin may hold principles that some view as controversial, but overall, many feel his books are well worth the read. Much of his work surrounds his passion for educating patients about the realities of psychiatric medications, which he posits are often over-prescribed and overused.

Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal is a guide for patients and their families about how the body and mind may react when psychiatric medication is stopped. The book may provide useful details about how medications work, when they may be useful, and when they might cause more harm than good.

Guilt Shame and Anxiety: Overcoming Negative Emotions, another significant publication by Dr. Breggin, can show us how to overcome negative emotions. The book outlines several steps and methods for understanding and addressing feelings that may make us upset or uncomfortable. It also discusses the benefits of therapy and other treatment options for mental health disorders.

Dr. Daniel Amen

Dr. Daniel Amen has virtually become an overnight sensation. He is a member of the American Psychiatry Association and has developed what he claims is a foolproof way to diagnose and treat mental illness through brain imaging scans. His books are focused on how to help patients who have different mental health disorders.

Healing Anxiety and Depression focuses on what Dr. Amen describes as the seven different types of depression and anxiety. The book gives helpful tools and symptom management strategies to help you with depression and anxiety, all while relying on proven methods.

Dr. Amen has written many books about the brain and how it affects moods, emotions, and memory. He even has cookbooks that focus on foods that he believes will help maintain a healthy mind and combat mental illness.

Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Dr. Kubler-Ross is most famous for her book On Death and Dying, which outlines the stages that terminally ill patients may go through from diagnosis to death. Her work in this field transformed the way that many terminally ill patients are treated. The book can also serve as an excellent read for anyone who relates to the subject of terminal illness, either as a patient or a loved one of a patient.

Dr. E Fuller Torrey

Dr. Torrey is a famous research psychiatrist specializing in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. His work in the field has revolutionized the treatment of these mental illnesses. He has authored over 20 books, many of which can be very helpful for patients as well as clinicians. 

One of his most famous books is Surviving Schizophrenia: A Manual for Families, Consumers, and Providers. The book strives to explain details about schizophrenia and how it is treated. It also discusses techniques and skills that may help with symptom management. 

Surviving Manic-Depressive Illness: A Manual on Bipolar Disorder for Patients, Families, and Providers focuses on bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder can be a complex mental illness and has several types. The book offers an excellent comprehensive at bipolar disorder and its treatment.

Additional Books By Psychiatrists

While there may be something to be gained from nearly any book on mental health written by a professional, the following list of books by prominent psychiatrists come highly recommended by many doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists.

Understanding Depression By Dr. J Raymond De Paulo, Jr.

This book is similar to the last but provides an overview of bipolar disorder. It is a manual of sorts for patients and their families who need to understand bipolar disorder, treatment options, and strategies for learning to thrive.

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Against Depression By Peter Kramer

This book provides patients and their families with groundbreaking treatments for depression. Kramer writes about scientific topics in layperson language, so it's easy to understand. The book gives many patients and families hope that depression can be treated and overcome.

The Five Love Languages By Gary Chapman

Gary Chapman isn't a psychiatrist and doesn't practice in psychology or any related field, but rather writes from his experience and education in religious studies and as a pastor in some of his best psychology books. Many mental health professionals utilize and recommend his book The Five Love Languages to clients because of its commonsense approach to marriage and relationships.

Quiet Your Mind And Get To Sleep by Colleen Carney And Rachel Manber

Rachel Manber is a professor of psychiatry that specializes in sleep concerns. Her co-author Colleen Carney is a psychologist specializing in sleep disorders and irregularities as well.

This book is an excellent resource for people who live with insomnia due to depression, anxiety, or chronic pain. It outlines cognitive behavioral therapy techniques that may help you learn how to sleep, even when your body and mind seem to be fighting it.

Saving Normal By Allen Frances

Allen Frances is a psychiatrist who acted as the chairperson of the DSM-IV task force. The DSM (Diagnostical and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders) is a manual for psychiatrists to diagnose mental illness in patients, and Frances was a leading contributor to the effort. The book is about the role of psychiatry in modern times, and somewhat deters people from buying into the DSM and its tendency to label what may be everyday problems as a mental illness.

Other Works From Famous Psychiatrists

There are many books renowned psychiatrists that help us learn about mental disorders and mental health. Some of these books were written for clinicians but can be helpful to patients and their families. The most renowned psychiatrists, such as Freud and Jung, have written books that can still be found today. 

It can be important to note that many of the "famous psychiatrists" that you see on television and media are not psychiatrists at all. For example. Dr. Phil holds a degree in psychology but is not a licensed psychologist and is not a medical doctor or psychiatrist. Before checking out any book that claims to be by a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health professional, it may be worth it to research their credentials and make sure that they are a reliable resource of information on the topic.

Getting Help

If you’re interested in learning more about mental health disorders because you may be experiencing one yourself, it can help to seek professional support in addition to educating yourself. Working with a therapist can help you determine what symptoms, if any, you may be living with. It can also give you a chance to find solutions to the challenge you might face.

Resources like online therapy can be a great way to get started. Online therapy is often fast and easy to avail, and because you can choose from providers across a variety of locations, it’s possible to find someone who truly fits your needs and personality. 

Online therapy is backed by research in terms of its efficacy, too. One review of 17 studies analyzing the benefits of online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) found it to be a more cost-effective treatment option than traditional therapy. The same review also noted that online CBT could lead to significant improvements in symptoms for those living with depression. Regardless of what your mental health concerns may be, it’s likely that online therapy can be an affordable, accessible tool for addressing them.


There’s no shortage of literature available to the public about mental health and topics connected to it, but the best resources are often those written by experts and licensed professionals. Educating yourself about mental health disorders may help you recognize symptoms in yourself or others and understand how to support those living with one.

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