The field of mental health or psychiatry is vast. Learning all there is to know about psychiatry, mental health, and psychology in general, will probably take an eternity. Theories circulate throughout the field endlessly and many of these theories can confuse the savviest of researchers. Finding the right book to give you greater insight will require extensive research and testing of facts. All books should be questioned, properly evaluated, and fairly weighed before believing or perpetuating information retained from reading the book. Even more, it may be helpful to research the title of the book in a simple Google search for reviews. But in the meantime, let’s review my top 10 mental health books for learning:

  1. Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children and Adults by Webb, Amend, Webb, Goerss, Belja

This is a really good book for parents, families, or caregivers seeking basic information about the misdiagnosis of ADHD, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, depression, and other common disorders. A great many of our children and adolescents are misdiagnosed with ADHD or bipolar disorder when they evidence signs of hyperactivity, explosive behavior, temper tantrums, or bullying behaviors. But it is important that we evaluate the foundation of the behavior and consider alternative explanations for the behavior before assigning a label.

  1. Perspectives on Disease & Disorders: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by Fredericks

This is a great book for individuals interested in learning about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in veterans, adults, and children. The book begins by providing an overview of PTSD and moves into more specific stories, case studies, and examples of the disorder. The book also offers information about treatment for children with PTSD and the controversy associated with the diagnosis.

  1. A Rainbow of Gangs by Vigil

Although this book is not technically a “psychology book,” it is a great book for introducing the psychology of the gang mentality. Gangs are becoming way more sophisticated in our society than they use to be and many more kids are becoming apart of them. Gangs occur in all societies and amongst all ages and cultures. California is well known for its large Chicano gangs. But you will find gangs in many of our neighborhoods and maybe even on your street.

  1. The Parent’s Guide To Psychological First Aid by Koocher and La Greca

This book is a rather interesting read. You will find everything in this book from toilet training to sleep problems and conflicts with the teacher to discussing family secrets with your child. The book is useful for both children and adolescents. The book presents as a multi-dimensional academic book that includes many chapters and pages. But the book is easy to read and will more than likely include multiple topics you will find useful to daily life.

  1. Angry Young Men by Kipnis

This book is similar to the book A Rainbow of Gangs because it focuses not only on so-called “antisocial” youths but also young men who are angry and unable to regulate their emotions. The book focuses on educating teachers, parents, and counselors to the problems “angry young men” encounter and how we may help them.

  1. The Working Women’s Guide To Managing Stress by Powell

If you are a woman who works a tough job, is constantly engaging in stressful events, or working 2 or more jobs, this book is for you. Even if you are a full-time parent, this book is for you. You will learn how to balance your daily life and incorporate tools to help you cope with stressful events.

  1. Light Up Your Child’s Mind by Renzulli, Reis, and Thompson

Do you currently know a child or have a child or grandchild who is struggling in school, with peer relationships, or academics? If so, this book might interest you. The book’s main focus is on bringing awareness to the fact that kids have special talents and strength that can be cultivated with the right approach and right attention. All kids can blossom with the right amount of ingredients.

  1. How Children Fail by John Holt

John Holt is one of my favorite authors because he exposes the inadequacies of a failed educational system. He has always spoken out about the incompetence’s of most teachers and educational systems that fail children who do not fit the typical mold. Teachers and schools have been molded to view all children a certain way and many kids with “special” talents, gifts, or skill are often overlooked or shunned. Although John Holt is deceased, his books live on. He continues to speak to the problems of the educational system and why children end up failing.

  1. American Psychosis by E Fuller Torrey

Dr. Torrey is the nation’s most famous psychiatrist and controversial spokesperson for Assisted Outpatient Treatment, a procedure in which individuals with severe or untreated mental illness are court-ordered into treatment. Dr. Torrey explains the problems throughout history of our mental health system and mental illness treatment policies that have kept us behind in our society. He makes the point that we cannot progress until we change laws that affect all of us.

  1. ADHD: The Great Misdiagnosis by Haber

This is a pretty basic overview of the ADHD debate. ADHD is indeed over-diagnosed, so we need to focus on learning disabilities, medical conditions, mental retardation or intellectual disabilities, giftedness, and other factors that could look like ADHD. Good reminder for all of us!

Each of these books are great starters for parents, families, or caregivers interested in learning more about some of the issues that plague the mental health system. Each book provides a peak into the field. Each author above is listed by his or her last name. You can find each of these books at your local library, Barnes and Noble, or Amazon.


About Author: Joslyn Fresay is a psychotherapist and family expert who works primarily with children and adolescents with behavioral and mood disorders. She writes many different articles on education for professional paper writing service and works to help problem children use their strengths at home, at school, and in society.






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