Best Books about Schizophrenia as Curated by former Columbia Psychiatry Library Chief
Bienvenidos! My name is William Jiang, MLS and I was the Chief of the Patient Library at
Former Columbia Psychiatry/ NYSPI Library Chief, William Jiang, MLS
Columbia Psychiatry / New York State Psychiatric Institute for almost a decade from 2004-2011. According to the Surgeon General, approximately one in one hundred people in the United States struggles with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is arguably the most devastating mental illness of them all. Contrary to popular belief, schizophrenia is not multiple personality disorder. It is, rather, a break from reality. Many homeless people suffer from schizophrenia, and many with schizophrenia have auditory hallucinations, visual hallucinations and delusions, or paranoia. The following were the best books about schizophrenia of the Columbia Psychiatry Patient Library during my tenure and of today.
Best Books about Schizophrenia: Autobiography
- A Schizophrenic Will: a Story of Madness, a Story of Hope by William Jiang, MLS "A talented ambitious young student is afflicted by the most dread mental illness in the prime of his life. This first person account describes this all too common occurrence but what is unique is how he reacts to this adversity and his courageous and successful journey to recovery. Will Jiang's impressive and moving story is reminiscent of other similar first person accounts of personal struggle and triumph over mental illness including Elyn Saks' The Center Cannot Hold and Temple Grandin's Thinking In Pictures: and Other Reports from My Life with Autism. Will's story will be similarly informative and inspirational to everyone who has the good fortune to read it." — Jeffrey Lieberman, M.D. President, American Psychiatric Association
- The Center Cannot Hold by Elyn Saks "Elyn R. Saks is an esteemed professor, lawyer, and psychiatrist and is the Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law, Psychology, Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California Law School, yet she has suffered from schizophrenia for most of her life, and still has ongoing major episodes of the illness. THE CENTER CANNOT HOLD is the eloquent, moving story of Elyn's life, from the first time that she heard voices speaking to her as a young teenager, to attempted suicides in college, through learning to live on her own as an adult in an often terrifying world. Saks discusses frankly the paranoia, the inability to tell imaginary fears from real ones, the voices in her head telling her to kill herself (and to harm others); as well the incredibly difficult obstacles she overcame to become a highly respected professional. This beautifully written memoir is destined to become a classic in its genre."
- The Day The Voices Stopped: A Memoir of Madness and Hope by Ken Steele "For thirty-two years Ken Steele lived with the devastating symptoms of schizophrenia, tortured by inner voices commanding him to kill himself, ravaged by the delusions of paranoia, barely surviving on the ragged edges of society. In this inspiring story, Steele tells the story of his hard-won recovery from schizophrenia and how activism and advocacy helped him regain his sanity and go on to give hope and support to so many others like him."
- Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So: A Memoir by Mark Vonnegut MD "More than thirty years after the publication of his acclaimed memoir The Eden Express, Mark Vonnegut continues his story in this searingly funny, iconoclastic account of coping with mental illness, finding his calling, and learning that willpower isn't nearly enough.Here is Mark's life childhood as the son of a struggling writer, as well as the world after Mark was released from a mental hospital. At the late age of twenty-eight and after nineteen rejections, he is finally accepted to Harvard Medical School, where he gains purpose, a life, and some control over his condition. There are the manic episodes, during which he felt burdened with saving the world, juxtaposed against the real-world responsibilities of running a pediatric practice. Ultimately a tribute to the small, daily, and positive parts of a life interrupted by bipolar disorder, Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So is a wise, unsentimental, and inspiring book that will resonate with generations of readers."
- A Mind That Found Itself An Autobiography by Clifford Whittingham Beers "In the groundbreaking book, Clifford Beers tells what it was like to be institutionalized at a time when mental illness received little attention or respect. "A Mind that Found Itself" is Beers' own story, as one of five children who all suffered psychological distress and were all confined to mental institutions at one time or another. Beers, who wrote the book after his own confinement, gained the support of the medical profession and was a leader in the mental hygiene movement. "A Mind that Found Itself" has been an inspiration to many mental health professionals in their choice of a profession. It also did much to help the rest of the world see mental health issues as a serious disease. "A Mind that Found Itself" is an excellent read for anyone seeking to better understand, or treat, mental illness."
Best Books about Schizophrenia: Biography
- A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar "In this powerful and dramatic biography Sylvia Nasar vividly re-creates the life of a mathematical genius whose career was cut short by schizophrenia and who, after three decades of devastating mental illness, miraculously recovered and was honored with a Nobel Prize. A Beautiful Mind traces the meteoric rise of John Forbes Nash, Jr., a prodigy and legend by the age of thirty, who dazzled the mathematical world by solving a series of deep problems deemed "impossible" by other mathematicians."
- Endgame: Bobby Fischer's Remarkable Rise and Fall – from America's Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness by Frank Brady "At first all one noticed was how gifted Fischer was. Possessing a 181 I.Q. and remarkable powers of concentration, Bobby memorized hundreds of chess books in several languages, and he was only 13 when he became the youngest chess master in U.S. history. But his strange behavior started early.... After years of poverty and a stint living on Los Angeles' Skid Row, Bobby remerged in 1992 to play Spassky in a multi-million dollar rematch—but the experience only deepened a paranoia that had formed years earlier when he came to believe that the Soviets wanted him dead for taking away "their" title. When the dust settled, Bobby was a wanted man—transformed into an international fugitive because of his decision to play in Montenegro despite U.S. sanctions. Fearing for his life, traveling with bodyguards, and wearing a long leather coat to ward off knife attacks, Bobby lived the life of a celebrity fugitive – one drawn increasingly to the bizarre. Mafiosi, Nazis, odd attempts to breed an heir who could perpetuate his chess-genius DNA—all are woven into his late-life tapestry."
Best Books about Schizophrenia: Recovery
- Guide to Natural Mental Health: Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, Schizophrenia, and Digital Addiction: Nutrition, and Complementary Therapies by William Jiang, MLS "In this useful guide, Jiang gives a short practical summary of a wide variety of mental disorders ranging from the classical bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia to the more modern affliction of digital addictions. In each category, he supplies a list of non-pharmacologic treatments, providing for each item a reference with abstract. He also offers resources such as national networks and local support groups." – Marjorie Ordene, MD
- Surviving Schizophrenia, 6th Edition: A Family Manual by E. Fuller Torrey "Updated throughout and filled with all the latest research, the bestselling Surviving Schizophrenia is back, now in its sixth edition. Since its first publication in 1983, Surviving Schizophrenia has become the standard reference book on the disease and has helped thousands of patients, their families, and mental health professionals. In clear language, this much-praised and important book describes the nature, causes, symptoms, treatment, and course of schizophrenia and also explores living with it from both the patient's and the family's point of view. This new, completely updated sixth edition includes the latest research findings on what causes the disease, as well as information about the newest drugs for treatment, and answers the questions most often asked by families, consumers, and providers."
- 100 Questions & Answers About Schizophrenia: Painful Minds 2nd Edition by Lynn E. DeLisi "Approximately one percent of the population develops schizophrenia during their life-time. This chronic, severe mental illness can be devastating for patients and their family and friends. Whether you're a newly diagnosed patient with schizophrenia, or a friend or relative of someone suffering from this mental illness, this book offers help. Completely revised and updated, 100 Questions & Answers About Schizophrenia: Painful Minds, Second Edition gives you authoritative, practical answers to your questions about treatment options, sources of support, and much more. Written by an expert on the subject, and including a foreword by parents of a person with schizophrenia, this book is an invaluable resource for anyone coping with the physical and emotional turmoil of schizophrenia."
- Fountain House: Creating Community in Mental Health Practice by Alan Doyle and Julius Lanoil "Since 1948, people suffering from mental health issues, mental health professionals, and committed volunteers have gathered at Fountain House in New York City to find relief from stigmatization and social alienation. Its "working community" approach has earned the organization vast critical recognition, enabling it to replicate its methods across the world. This volume describes the humanity, social inclusivity, personal empowerment, and perpetual innovation of the Fountain House approach. Evidence-based, cost-effective, and transferable, this model achieves crosscultural results by supporting the principles of personal choice, professional and patient collaboration, and the need to be needed, achieving substantive outcomes in employment, schooling, housing, and general wellness."
- I Am Not Sick, I Don't Need Help! How to Help Someone with Mental Illness Accept Treatment. 10th Anniversary Edition by Xavier Amador "'This book fills a tremendous void...' wrote E. Fuller Torrey, M.D., about the first edition of I AM NOT SICK, I Don't Need Help! Ten years later, it still does. Dr. Amador's research on poor insight was inspired by his attempts to help his brother Henry, who developed schizophrenia, accept treatment. Like tens of millions of others diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, Henry did not believe he was ill. In this latest edition, 6 new chapters have been added, new research on anosognosia (lack of insight) is presented and new advice, relying on lessons learned from thousands of LEAP seminar participants, is given to help readers quickly and effectively use Dr. Amador s method for helping someone accept treatment. I AM NOT SICK, I Don't Need Help! is not just a reference for mental health practitioners or law enforcement professionals. It is a must-read guide for family members whose loved ones are battling mental illness. Read and learn as have hundreds of thousands of others...to LEAP-Listen, Empathize, Agree, and Partner-and help your patients and loved ones accept the treatment they need."
William Jiang, MLS