Phobias or fears are deeply rooted in some individuals, so much that they hamper their day to day life. There are many great books with self help techniques available on this topic. These are known to help one overcome the anxiety faced each time one is confronted with an object of their dread. Here I will be enlisting the top 10 phobia and anxiety books which are readily available online and in stores.
These books might not instantly cure your phobia, but they can certainly help the brain obliterate all the bad things it has learned over the years and make your life a lot easier.
1. The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund Bourne
This is a book which has sold a million copies and helped many people recover from anxieties, obsessive compulsive disorder, phobias and other anxiety issues. The therapeutic techniques suggested herein are holistic in nature and proven to help readers overcome anxieties without use of drugs and antidepressants. The book focuses on eating the right foods, tips for stopping panic attacks, as well as relaxation techniques to use when confronted with fear. Patients with OCD, bipolar disorder, depression and obsessive compulsive disorders must read this book. Kindle also available.
2. Anxiety Disorders and Phobias: A Cognitive Perspective by Aaron Beck and Gary Emery
This is a book mainly for students of psychiatry as well as experienced practitioners. Through theoretical and practical approaches, this book simplifies many complex concepts related to anxieties and phobias. It includes topics like social anxieties, specific and social phobias, post traumatic stress disorders, depression etc. In the latter half of the book, the authors deal with details of CBT or cognitive behavior therapy. For laymen with general knowledge of psychology, this book may be a bit intense.
3. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D Burns
This is the third book on my list and it focuses not just on phobias, but on other mental issues like extreme guilt, pessimism, procrastination, as well as low self esteem. The award winning author stresses upon the fact that most of these conditions can be overcome through Cognitive Behavior Therapy- which he explains in an easy-to-understand and simplified manner. The author believes that the mind creates moods through its thoughts; so by simply focusing on changing thoughts, one can manage one’s moods.
4. When Panic Attacks: The New, Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy That Can Change Your Life by David D Burns
The same author as above, this time his focus is on healing anxiety without the use of drugs. Also, this edition focuses more on panic attacks and phobias unlike Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy which only focuses on moods in general. Some reviewers have mentioned that there is not much of a difference in the two books. However, many practitioners and doctors have themselves used this book in their practice as a guide to treating patients with anxieties and fears. On the upside, it also focuses on chronic worrying, fear of public speaking, writer’s block, procrastination, and PTSD. Read this book if you are at the ‘lowest point’ in your life.
5. Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook: Proven, Step-by-Step Techniques for Overcoming your Fear by Martin Antony
Not just dealing with phobias, this is a book for every person suffering from various social anxieties. It deals with self evaluation to help the sufferer overcome his/her fear and shyness. Get enough self confidence and overcome social awkwardness through step-by-step helpful hints and tricks. If you are a person suffering from fear of making eye contact, or is unable to ask the right questions or make friends through effective conversations, then this book is for you.
6. Freeing Your Child from Anxiety: Practical Strategies to Overcome Fears, Worries, and Phobias and Be Prepared for Life – from Toddlers to Teens by Tamar Chansky Ph.d.
It is not just adults, teens and children also suffer from anxieties and full blown panic attacks. Childhood is a time to be happy and carefree. However, some incidents leave indelible marks on young minds. Every parent must read this book to understand whether their child’s stress is normal, simple episodes without long term implications. Additionally, the book has easy, fun and effective tools to help youngsters break free from patterns of fear and worry for leading happier lives. The first half of the book has basic psychological information to help every parent. The latter half deals with common childhood anxieties like separation anxiety, panic disorders, clinginess etc. It also uses bullet points, review methodologies, images and logical representations to make implementation of these core topics easier. In short: this is a book for every parent.
7. Mastery of Your Anxiety and Panic: Workbook (Treatments That Work) by David H. Barlow and Michelle G. Craske
Do you suffer from heart palpitations, trembling, nausea, shaking, and the urge to cry or flee when faced with certain situations or objects? Then this is the book for you. First of all; Mastery of Your Anxiety and Panic helps you understand that you are not the only one dealing with such panic attacks; there are millions of phobics around the world. While this workbook is not a magic pill to cure anxiety, and certainly much effort will be needed on your part, it is vital that you use the changes given in the workbook to change your life around. You can even follow this book while undergoing other psychotherapies like CBT, hypnotherapy etc. The exercises and the education sections in the book are recommended for phobics as well as counselors treating phobias.
8. Anxiety Cures: How to Cure Anxiety, Calm the Mind, and Get to the Root of Your Worries by Nathan Arthur
This is available in Kindle edition and has been hailed as one of the best practical tools for dealing with phobias. It is recommended not only for patients but for people who have loved ones suffering from anxieties and phobias. The book can help family members understand the difference between simple fear and panic and the mental and physical effects phobias can have on the sufferer. It has great recommendations and tips to work towards being phobia free for good.
9. The Anxiety and Worry Workbook: The Cognitive Behavioral Solution by David A. Clark
Looking for an uncomplicated and fast read on understanding your anxiety disorder? Then The Anxiety and Worry Workbook is for you. The suggestions in the book are sure to help every panic attack sufferer overcome the condition through easy-to-follow self help techniques. Besides, there are many medical and non medical treatment options that are proven to give permanent anxiety relief.
10. Meditation for Beginners: Relax your Mind, Energize your Body, Relieve Stress and Achieve Deeper Awareness by Sonali Perera
More and more psychiatrists are recommending mind body techniques to help patients overcome their anxieties and phobias. Meditation is one such powerful ancient technique that can help release stress, relax the mind and also positively influence overall health and well being. The book discusses the Chakra system which is the energy center in the body. Imbalanced chakras cause illnesses, both mental and physical. By balancing and aligning the 7 chakras, one can overcome all diseases. Beginners to meditation can avail of simple techniques given in the book. People suffering from anxieties and social phobias can overcome dependence on drugs and therapy by using simple steps given in this brilliant book.
I hope these books will help you overcome your phobia and anxiety. Here is one more book that might interest you (more as entertainment than curing your fear). I bet you will love The Pop-Up Book of Phobias.