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The 10 Best Books About Schizophrenia Ever Written

If you or a loved one are suffering from this debilitating disease, you may want to check out books about schizophrenia to get a better understanding of the rare disorder.

By Greg BogartPublished 6 years ago 4 min read

Dealing with mental illness is no easy task—particularly when it comes to schizophrenia, one of the most complicated disorders on the long list of diagnosable mental afflictions.

Schizophrenia is a difficult thing to diagnose, but more so, properly treat. Getting the right cocktail of medication to treat the disorder presents yet another difficult obstacle in itself. While one can never truly "cure" schizophrenia, there are plenty of ways to cope with the disorder. One such way is properly acquainting yourself with the nuances typically associated with the disease. This can, undoubtedly, be done through intense reading, as there are a plethora of books about schizophrenia that can be helpful in tackling the issue head on. Hopefully after learning about the disease in some detail, those afflicted with the disorder can sleep a little easier at night.

Surviving Schizophrenia is perhaps the most comprehensive guide to the disorder. It reads like a textbook (probably because it IS a textbook) and its linear, easy-to-read format is perfect for those looking for a no-nonsense way to educate themselves on the subject. This book doesn't contain much fluff, so if you're looking to get right into the nitty gritty, this is probably your best option. On the other hand, if you're looking for a lighter, anecdotal read to gift your family and friends, this might not be the way to go.

The Gene has plenty of credentials to its name: It's been a number one New York Times Bestseller, A New York Times Notable Book, and aWashington Post and Seattle Times Best Book of the Year. Its Pulitzer prize-winning author, Siddhartha Mukherjee, tackles the disorder in a historical, yet super-engaging context. This isn't your run-of-the mill mental health care read—trust me on that one.

Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill offers a somewhat jarring take on schizophrenia and the varying stigmas attached to the disorder. More so, the book serves as a cautionary tale of sorts, warning about the dangers of modern medicine and antipsychotic drugs. The book does a great job of cross-comparing different eras of treatment, all while giving the reader better insight to the disease in a generalized sense.

The Voices Within is a title that alludes to one of the most common traits associated with schizophrenia—hearing voices in your head. However, this book urges you to not read too much into the lasting stigmas surrounding the disorder. In fact, this book actually paints those voices in a good light, and tries to shift away that old-school thought process. The book, at its very core, is intended to alleviate some of the negative connotations lingering around people diagnosed with schizophrenia, while shedding a new light on psychiatric disorders as a whole.

Will Hall's Outside Mental Health: Voices and Visions of Madness is a fascinating book that helps its readers garner further insight into the human side of mental illness. In short, it helps humanize those suffering from mental illness in a compassionate manner.

The book features subjects ranging from patients and scientists to journalists and doctors, and ultimately begs the question: "What does it mean to be called crazy in a crazy world?" Living with a schizophrenic certainly isn't easy, but it's easily more doable after reading Hall's masterpiece of a book.

Kate Millett's own first hand experiences with manic depression are highlighted throughout her book, The Looney-Bin Trip. The book covers Millett's first-ever trip to "the looney-bin" where she encounters some of the shocking truths within the health care and mental health communities. While this book doesn't deal with strictly schizophrenia, it does present the reader with some of the general obstacles people with diagnosed mental disorders have to face on a daily basis.

The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness by Elyn R. Saks, is a gripping memoir that covers Saks' own battles with her longstanding bout with mental illness. At its very core, this book serves as inspiration for those dealing with the mental health stigma, as Saks has gone on to be a professor, author, lawyer, and psychiatrist despite being diagnosed with schizophrenia from a young age.

The Quiet Room was co-written by Lori Schiller and Amanda Bennett, yet it depicts the trials and tribulations of only one of the outstanding authors, Schiller, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia after a seemingly-care free start to her life. The memoir gets into some pretty heavy stuff, including Schiller's first attempt at suicide and her ensuing bout with homelessness. Against all odds, Schiller survived, and was able to provide us all with this wonderful memoir in the process.

Joann Greenberg's I Never Promised You a Rose Garden was a groundbreaking book upon its initial release in 1964, and it's undoubtedly withstood the test of time as one of the most impactful books about schizophrenia to date. Greenberg's semi-autobiographical piece of literature gives readers a chance to look at some of the innate battles Greenberg faced as a 16-year-old schizophrenic, en route to her own elongated stay at a mental facility. It is perhaps one of the more memorable—not to mention poignant—books to cover the topic.

Jonathan Metzl's The Protest Psychosis explores schizophrenia in a far different light than many others covering the mental illness. This book uncovers some of the hidden truths about schizophrenia diagnosing during the civil rights era, and how the disorder was deeply entrenched in political propaganda efforts. This particular book is a fantastic read for those interested in both the history of the disorder and its under-discussed impact on black culture. It is, without a doubt, one of the more politically-charged books about schizophrenia to ever grace the shelves of bookstores everywhere.


About the Creator

Greg Bogart

I don’t know what to put here lol. I love writing and I love content creation, and I finally found the right spot to do it!!

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    Greg BogartWritten by Greg Bogart

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