Anxiety: self-help books, Mental Health Services

An Introduction to Coping With Anxiety
Authors Brenda Hogan & Lee Brosnan, 2007

'Accessible,easy to read.Overview of symptoms and structured suggestions for overcoming anxiety'.

Suitable for Carers
Review:
This introductory booklet is aimed at those for whom anxiety has become a problem. This is a comprehensive and concisely written book that gives not only an overview of the symptoms associated with anxiety but also displays how it makes you feel when it becomes unmanageable or lasts for long periods of time. It provides some structured suggestions as to how to overcome it. These include how to spot and challenge thoughts that make you anxious, thinking in a more balanced way, and changing how you behave in order to reduce your feelings of anxiety. The exercises are useful and the explanations are easy to understand and put into practice.

Things Might Go Terribly Horribly Wrong: A Guide to Life Liberated From Anxiety
Authors Kelly Wilson & Tony DuFrene, 2010

'Describes the 6 key areas of Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) for anxiety in a concise and approachable manner'.

Mindfulness approach
Review:
This book describes the 6 key areas of Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) for anxiety. The author gives a brief overview of anxiety disorders but advises against trying to fit into a particular category. Visualisation tools are used to help the reader relate to and make use of situations and understand the feeling of anxiety. A key message is that worrying causes us to lose contact with the present moment. The 6 areas of ACT are discussed individually but the author emphasises that they are all interlinked. These areas are: mindfulness, defusion, acceptance, values, commitment and self-as context. The use of stories, thought exercises and games throughout the book keeps the reader's attention. It is engaging, humorous and easy to follow throughout.

Overcoming Anxiety
Author Helen Kennerley, 2004

'A comprehensive and logical approach to anxiety mainly using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques'.

Review: Part one of this book explains the origins and development of fears and anxiety in relation to the normal stress response. The maintaining factors associated with distress of anxiety are described. This book also describes how these maintaining cycles can be broken. Part two gives a practical step-by-step guide to overcoming anxiety. The self-help coping strategies described include: controlled breathing and applied relaxation, thought management for worrying thoughts and graded practice to help face fears. She advises on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques for challenging thoughts. Assertiveness training and negotiation skills are also discussed using practical everyday examples. The author also discusses time management, sleep management and long term coping strategies in a practical way. Helpful relaxation scripts are given. The book is easy to follow and broken into logical sections. Examples and first hand accounts of anxiety engage the reader throughout as well as the monitoring worksheets for tracking progress.

Overcoming Anxiety Stress and Panic: A Five Areas Approach
Author Chris Williams, 2009

'Uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) worksheets. A clear and methodological approach'.

Review: The book uses a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) approach through worksheets to manage many aspects of anxiety. The reader chooses which areas are most problematic and relevant to them. The first few chapters aim to identify these by self-assessment questionnaires focusing on areas such as worry, stress, panic, phobias and obsessional thinking. It also explains anxiety and its various manifestations such as panic with illustrating examples. Part two involves practical problem solving. The author advises a consideration of the problem in relation to its effect and five key areas. These areas include people and events around you, your thinking, your feelings, altered bodily sensations and altered behaviour. He includes practical lifestyle advice such as how to get a good night’s sleep. This book has a clear format and interactive approach. It has worksheets that make it engaging. A lot of useful online resources for further reading are suggested.

The Anti-Anxiety Workbook
Authors Martin Antony & Peter Norton, 2008

'Easily comprehensible, clear approach using worksheets based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)'.

Suitable for Carers
Review:
Part one of the book explains what anxiety is and what happens when it gets out of control. The authors guide a self-assessment to take stock of anxiety in your life. It aims to help you recognise triggers as well as problematic behaviours such as avoidance and safety behaviours which can worsen anxiety in the long term. The book explains how to use the worksheets to plan your own treatment. Part two describes the core treatment which is based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). It teaches the reader to identify thoughts and assumptions that drive fears and practice techniques to challenge these. Exposure therapy is emphasised as a method to combat anxiety and aid confronting feared situations. Techniques are described to help relaxation and control of physical symptoms. Part three offers advice on how to cement changes made. The last chapter is aimed at loved ones to provide them with an appreciation of what the anxiety sufferer goes through.

The Compassionate-Mind Guide to Overcoming Anxiety: Using Compassion-Focused Therapy to Calm Worry, Panic, and Fear
Author Dennis Tirch, 2012

'Describes the 6 key areas of Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) for anxiety in a concise and approachable manner'.

Mindfulness approach
Review:
This book gives a comprehensive review of the evolution and causes of anxiety. It describes how self-compassion allows us to develop openness to our present moment experiences and respond to difficult feelings. The second part of the book explores how to soothe anxiety using Compassion Focused Therapy. Exercises in mindfulness are described as a basis for this and regular meditation is encouraged. Compassion-focused imagery exercises are then described which are the foundation of compassionate thinking. It is a detailed book with thorough explanations for readers interested in the theory behind these strategies. It engages the reader by use of worksheets, exercises and meditation practices.

An Introduction to Coping With Health Anxiety 
Authors Charles Young & Brenda Hogan, 2007

'Easy to read and practical. Overview of the problem, coping strategies and practical exercises'. 

Suitable for Carers
Review:
The author has a calm and reassuring style. Recommended. This introductory booklet is aimed at those for whom health anxiety has become a serious problem. Written by experienced practitioners, it explains what health anxiety is and how it makes you feel. It will help the reader to understand their symptoms and is ideal as an immediate coping strategy and as a preliminary to fuller therapy. It covers what health anxiety is and how it develops; physical symptoms; how to spot and challenge thoughts that make you anxious; and reducing your focus on illness.

An Introduction to Coping With Panic
Author Charles Young, 2007

'Simply written, easily understood. Not information-overload yet enough to be of practical help'. 

Suitable for Carers
Review:
Written by an experienced practitioner, this introductory booklet explains what panic attacks are and how they make you feel. It will help the reader to understand their symptoms and is ideal as an immediate coping strategy and as a preliminary to fuller therapy. It talks about how panic attacks develop and what keeps them going; the link between your thoughts and your panic attacks; case studies; and breathing techniques.

When Panic Attacks
Author Aine Tubridy, 2003

'Engaging, clear, comprehensive. Educates and offers techniques'.

Review: Includes a CD. Dr. Tubridy covers panic and anxiety from every perspective and is very informative. This is a very well researched book. It is divided into two parts. The first part describes the foundation and structure of panic. It provides an in-depth definition of the different forms of panic, different myths, triggers/causes and description of specific forms of anxiety. The second part considers what causes and maintains panic. It is concerned with controlling and mastering panic. The reader will learn that they do not need to fear a panic attack. The reader is taught a set of skills which are easily understood and can be put into practice. She also encourages the reader to put themselves in a situation which would normally cause a panic reaction. This is a great learning experience for the reader. The accompanying CD is a great tool for use in anxiety.

An Introduction to Coping With Phobias
Author Brenda Hogan, 2007

'Accessible, engaging and clear, this booklet offers a concise programme for overcoming phobias'.

Suitable for Carers
Review:
Written by an experienced practitioner, this introductory booklet explains what phobias are and how they make people feel. Using a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) approach it will help the reader to understand how phobias develop and what keeps them going. It helps with goal-setting and the structuring of plans to start facing fears. It contains exercises for reducing stress and offers case examples of people who have suffered from phobias, such as fear of heights. This booklet is ideal as an immediate coping strategy and as a preliminary to fuller therapy.

Overcoming Social Anxiety And Shyness
Author Gillian Butler, 2003

'Very readable. Detailed Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) instruction. Suitable for both mild and intense anxiety'. 

Review: This well-written, very readable book, contains many real-life examples and provides detailed instructions on effective cognitive behavioural techniques for overcoming social phobia and shyness. Those who lack confidence when they are with other people, or feel embarrassment when meeting new people, are likely to benefit from reading this book. It is suitable for those with crippling, entrenched problems right through to those with mild feelings of discomfort and social shyness. The first part of the book explains the origins of social anxiety and the impact of such anxiety. The second part provides a complete practical guide to overcoming these feelings, changing thinking patterns, reducing self- consciousness and building confidence. The author explains how to deal with upsetting thoughts, overcome avoidance and manage symptoms of anxiety through relaxation, distraction and panic management. Finally, the third part provides a number of "optional extras" such as an explanation of the long-term effects of being bullied and a guide to relaxation.

I Think They Think Overcoming Social Phobia DVD
Author Ronald M. Rapee, 1998

'Overview of social anxiety and practical strategies for overcoming it. Real life examples. Touching'.

Review: The DVD begins by presenting a brief look at the experiences of people with social anxiety and an explanation of the underlying fear. Viewers are then introduced to the concept of self monitoring in order to gain a more objective understanding of their problems. Subsequent sections cover cognitive restructuring and graded exposure, with the experts providing an explanation of the techniques and their rationale, and the people with the social anxiety demonstrating how they implemented these strategies in the management of their own social anxiety. The practical demonstrations of cognitive restructuring are particularly helpful in terms of illustrating to viewers how thoughts, feelings and behaviours are recorded on forms such as those included in the self-help treatment manual. It also provides useful examples of the types of evidence which can be used to challenge unrealistic or extreme thoughts. Furthermore, the experiences of one person as he undergoes an exposure task highlights to the viewer the importance of courage, perseverance and acknowledgment of one's accomplishments in achieving success in overcoming social phobia. Medication as a treatment option is briefly discussed although viewers are informed of the limitations associated with this type of therapy. Finally, the video deals with setbacks, presenting them as a normal part of the recovery process, and hence urging the viewer not to lose hope when they are encountered. This DVD is well-structured, practical and informative. Techniques and concepts are explained in a clear, straightforward manner and consolidated by practical examples. 

The Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook
Authors Martin Antony & Richard Swinson, 2008

'Comprehensive workbook. Supportive tone. Novel exercises and helpful chapter on communication'.

Review: This is a comprehensive workbook that will surely work as a helpful reference for individuals who suffer with mild to moderate anxiety in social situations. It will also be helpful for individuals who suffer with feelings of shyness. The Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques are explained well so that the reader understands the rationale for the exercises and how to put them into practice. This book includes a number of self-assessments that help you learn more about yourself. Chapter 4 includes an assessment on motivation and readiness for change. This assessment is helpful as it allows the reader to assess where they are at and modify the goals accordingly.  Chapter 8 builds on the idea of exposure to social situations. A number of novel exercises are suggested. For example, knocking something over in a supermarket (being the centre of attention) or saying no when you don't want to do something (conflict with others). The book also teaches listening, assertiveness and communication skills which will help build confidence. This book is recommend as a reference for individuals who would like to reduce anxiety in social situations but also for individuals who want to challenge themselves and build confidence!

An Introduction to Coping With Stress 
Author Lee Brosnan, 2010

'Helpful for identifying stressors. Practical strategies'.

Suitable for Carers
Review:
This book explains that stress is what we experience when we feel that the demands or pressures on us are greater than our ability to cope. Too much stress can have a negative impact on us, almost without our noticing it. It can affect our family life, friendships and other relationships, our work life and our physical and emotional wellbeing. Part one of this booklet talks about how stress starts, what keeps it going and how thoughts play a role in this process. Part two looks at the practical skills that you can use to combat the symptoms of stress. This booklet encourages you to think, feel and act differently in order to regain a more balanced outlook on life and manage it more effectively.

The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook 6th Edition
Author Martha Davis et al, 2008

'Offers a broad range of techniques for relaxation and stress management. Attractive, easy-to-read'.

Review: This is a workbook designed to teach the most effective stress management and relaxation techniques and exercises. The book is currently in its sixth edition and now offers a number of new techniques for challenging problems in the area of stress management. There is a chapter on "worry control" to help people manage their mental stress and a section on coping with anger-provoking situations. A chapter on 'thought stopping' shows readers how to stop and then neutralise distressing thoughts. The book includes many real-life examples and practical exercises.

A Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Workbook
Authors Bob Stahl, Elisha Goldstein & Saki Santorelli, 2010

'Good ways to relax. Nice exercises. Promotes disengaging from thoughts. CD included'. 

Mindfulness approach
Review:
This workbook provides a comprehensive collection of mind-body exercises, mindfulness information and background on stress reduction. The exercises are so practical and can't help but provide the reader with plenty of "Aha!" moments. Mindfulness exercises seem to develop the brain's ability to deal with anxiety and stress. Each chapter gives you just enough information to understand the subject and useful exercises that can be applied directly to your practice. Chapter 1 defines mindfulness and talks about habitual thinking patterns, which can be very destructive time-wasters and lead to stress. The first formal practice involves eating a raisin mindfully and there's a 3-minute check-in to help you get a better idea of how the practice works. The meditations are approachable and for most of them you don't need to do anything special. A short meditation can be done at your desk or simply seated on the sofa (with the TV off, of course!). Later chapters do get into meditation postures, including sitting poses and lying poses. Chapter 6 on "Deepening Your Practice" includes yoga-based stretches that will help relax your muscles. The CD can be put on your Ipod or MP3 player and start you off with short meditations, working up to full body scans and meditations that last one hour. The logs inside the workbook have you keep notes regarding the feelings and changes you felt after you have finished the meditations.

An Introduction To Coping With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder 
Author Ann Wetmore, 2010

'Practical book. Clear description of the impact of traumatic stress and steps for coping'.

Suitable for Carers
Review:
This booklet is presented clearly and covers the symptom recognition for post traumatic stress along with self-management skills. It includes self-assessment, reflection and sleep-management techniques. There are also short illustrations of case studies to help reduce isolation. There is guidance on managing anger, emotional numbness, avoidance and guilt often associated with post traumatic stress. Overall, this is a practical handbook for making initial steps or carrying on advice from professionals. 

Overcoming Post Traumatic Stress
Authors Claudia Herbert & Ann Wetmore, 2003

'A practical book with clear description of the impact of traumatic stress and steps to cope with it'.

Suitable for Carers
Review:
This book applies proven techniques of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help people who have experienced traumatic stress, their families and those who work with them, to overcome the physical, mental, and emotional reactions to such stress. It is a self-help guide aimed at helping people to understand their reactions to traumatic stress. Step-by-step procedures detailed in the book help people to recognise, accept and manage their longer-term reactions to a traumatic experience such as a road traffic accident, an industrial accident or rape. It teaches strategies that will enable the reader first to come to terms with the trauma and then to let go and move on.

Overcoming Worry
Authors Mark Freeston & Kevin Meares, 2008

'This book is very detailed and takes the reader forward in small analytical steps to overcoming worry'.

Suitable for Carers
Review:
This book uses a number of techniques to explore the basis of worry and ways to address worry. It uses examples of people who worry (case studies), diagrams, charts, self-assessments and exercises which all help to maintain the reader's attention. It would be suitable for those with mild to moderate worry who wish to develop their own practical ways of dealing with their issues. However, the problem solving section only begins later in the book and is unlikely to attract those with marked worry. Could be useful for those who wish to develop their CBT skills awareness or for a family member who wishes to help a worried individual.