Paradigm Change: British Docs Turn to Prescribing Books for Depression

Science & Medicine

booksIf you’re a reader, you know how a book can transport you to another world or make you think about things in ways you hadn’t before. But depending on the content, books can be far more than a form of escapism—they can truly change your life. Bibiliotherapy, or the use of books as a form of treatment, is becoming more widely embraced in Britain and is being used by doctors who hope their patients will find relief from depression in the pages of popular volumes.

According to a Boston Globe article, the program was launched by Britain’s National Health Service and allows primary care doctors to prescribe self-help books to patients suffering from mild to moderate depression, depression that may otherwise be treated with potentially-damaging anti-depressant drugs.

Titles like “The Feeling Good Handbooks,” “Mind Over Mood” and “Overcoming Depression” seem to be the most popular according to Doctors say they see positive results from many of their patients, and their own observations aren’t the only proof of effectiveness.

More than one study has linked self-help books to aiding in the treatment of depression. One reportedly found it to be as effective as individual or group therapy. Another similarly found books to be effective in short-term treatment of anxiety disorders.

Books that teach you to out-think your moods are positive in that they have no negative side-effects. Big Pharma solutions, on the other hand, do. As a matter of fact, prescription solutions have been known to make things worse.

In addition to the self-help titles these doctors are prescribing, it would be useful for their patients to also look at materials related to nutrition. What we eat has a huge impact on how we feel—both physically and emotionally.

Changing your diet or reading a books is far easier than paying for drugs that may or may not help, that also may very well leave you feeling worse than before.