The 10 best nonfiction books on mental health and ADHD

I asked Twitter for the best nonfiction books about ADHD. Here's what they said.

First of all, I love the ADHD Twitter community.

Social media definitely has its highs and lows, but I've found Twitter ADHDers to be a supportive bunch. The people I've met are diverse (neurologically or otherwise) which has opened me up to lots of virtual supportive communities.

No joke — there are a lot of us on Twitter. It’s like the official ADHDer hub.

The reasons for this could easily fill another blog post, but it’s thought that the instant gratification we get from using Twitter is akin to small dopamine pick-me-ups. So, when it came time for me to compile a list of the best nonfiction books for mental health conditions, it's no wonder Twitter was my first port of call.

Top books recommended by Twitter on ADHD

Unsurprisingly, the community didn't disappoint — I received lots of brilliant suggestions! Check them out below!

💡 Pro Tip from a Twitter ADHDer: If you struggle reading nonfiction, try using dyslexic font and white text on a Black background? — @deborahh

1. Driven to Distraction: recognizing & coping with attention deficit disorder

"Driven to distraction" book cover, by Dr.s Edward M. Hallowell & John Ratey. Twitter review by @nadiaosmn: "It includes useful guidance on virtually all elements of ADHD, from college and exercise to marriage and self-esteem. The chapters are short and accessible, and they've even included a summarized TL;DR (Too long; didn't read) for the whole book at the beginning for convenience."

"It includes useful guidance on virtually all elements of ADHD, from college and exercise to marriage and self-esteem. The chapters are short and accessible, and they've even included a summarized TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) for the whole book at the beginning for convenience.""It includes useful guidance on virtually all elements of ADHD, from college and exercise to marriage and self-esteem. The chapters are short and accessible, and they've even included a summarized TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) for the whole book at the beginning for convenience."

My take: By a landslide, this was the most mentioned book. This book is more focused on children with ADHD. Nevertheless, many people mentioned how helpful it was in helping them understand more about ADHD.

Genre: Self-Help, Advice, Parenting

Ways to read: Paperback, Digital, Audiobook

Get it on Amazon 

2. Delivered from Distraction: getting the most out of life with attention deficit disorder

Number 2: Delivered from Distraction. Written by Dr. Edward Hallowell and Dr. John Ratey. Quote from @sophieoutloud on Twitter: "That one is hands down the most helpful resource I found when I was [diagnosed] that helped me understand what ADHD actually looks like."

My take: Another one by Hallowell, but this time more so focused on adults and helping them live with ADHD. As well as being a comprehensive guide, it goes through a wide variety of treatment options, alternative therapies and medications.

Genre: Self-Help, Advice, Guide

Ways to read: Paperback, Digital, Audiobook

Get it on Audible

3. Laziness Does Not Exist

Number 3: Laziness Does Not Exist. Written by Dr. Devon Price. Quote from @dylanmaustin on Twitter: "I've read so many books on productivity, mental health, time management, habit, & work-life balance over the years. Devon's book is legitimately the best of all of them ... As a queer person with ADHD, I've never felt more seen in the 'productivity' conversation. It's one thing to have LGBTQ+ representation in a book, and another for it to be written by someone (and almost exclusively about people) in the queer and trans community. I intend to re-read this at least a few times."

My take: Written by social psychologist Dr. Devon Price, Laziness Does Not Exist is a conversational book that critiques the "laziness" attributed to those with ADHD and productivity culture in our late-stage capitalist world. They examine the Puritan origin of the "laziness lie" and give tangible advice on navigating societal pressures to do more consistently.

Genre: Self-Help, Advice, Guide

Ways to read: Paperback, digital and audiobook

Get it on Audible 

4. Understanding ADHD in Girls and Women

Number 4: Understanding ADHD in Girls and Women. Written by Joanne Steer, Andrea Bilbow OBE, and contributors. Quote form @racheliza19_ on Twitter: "My counselor recommended this and it's been really useful so far! (currently on the assessment journey).

My take: Written by various expert professionals, this book offers information to support women and girls with ADHD. It also provides clinicians tips on caring for this usually underrepresented group. Many personal experience excerpts seek to provide diverse documentation of different perspectives.

Genre: Essay collection (Self-Help, Advice, Guide)

Ways to read: Paperback, Digital, Audiobook

Get it on Amazon 

5. ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life

Number 5: ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life. Written by Judith Kolberg and Kathleen G. Nadeau. Quote from @sortmyspaceuk on Twitter: "[This book is] one of the top recommendations within the professional organizing community to best serve our clients!"

My take: Decorated professional organizer Judith Kolberg and renowned ADHD clinical psychologist Dr. Kathleen Nadeau collaborate to create an offering with the best solutions for adults seeking to stay organized. It offers resources and three tiers of strategies and support.

Genre: Self-Help, Advice, Guide

Ways to read: Paperback, Digital, Audiobook

Get it on Amazon

6. Better Late Than Never: understand, survive and thrive midlife ADHD diagnosis

Number 6: Better Late Than Never. Written by Emma Mahony and Sari Solden. Quote from @justasquarepeg on twitter: "[This book] really helped me in the lead up [process] to my ADHD assessment and diagnosis."

My take: Diagnosed at the age of 52, Mahony seeks to reduce the stigma around late-adulthood diagnosis and provide support to those who have found themselves in a similar situation.

Genre: Self-Help Advice, Guide

Ways to read: Paperback, Digital

Get it on Kindle

7. Scattered Minds: the origins & healing of attention deficit disorder

Number 7: Scattered Minds - The Origin and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder. Written by Gabriel Mate. Quote from @nadiaosmn on Twitter: "[It's] is an essential read ... The author himself is an expert in childhood developmental trauma, addiction and ADHD, and having ADHD himself, his outlook is personal is very humanizing, empathetic and hopeful. It helped me contextualize and demystify the condition, understanding its inter-generational origins and biological manifestations and inspired me to implement changes to make life easier."

My take: A physician who specializes in neurology, psychiatry and psychology who was diagnosed with ADD, Gabor Maté, argues that ADD is a "reversible impairment and developmental delay" that isn't genetically based. He offers a program to support and promote this development in children and adults.

Genre: Psychology, Self-Help

Ways to read: Paperback, Digital, Audiobook

Get it on Amazon

8. The Gifts of Imperfection: let go of who you think you're supposed to be & embrace who you are

Number 8: The Gifts of Imperfection. Written by Dr. Brene Brown. Quote from @s_pace_ on twitter: "I would recommend anything by her."Number 8: The Gifts of Imperfection. Written by Dr. Brene Brown. Quote from @s_pace_ on twitter: "I would recommend anything by her."

My take: This motivational guide seeks to help people improve their self-esteem and power up their personal development journey. With lots of original research and encouragement, Dr. Brown hopes to help people embrace a more authentic life.

Genre: Self-Help, Advice, Guide

Ways to read: Paperback, Digital, Audiobook

Get it on Amazon

9. Finding True North

Number 9: Finding True North by Dr. Linda Gask.

Publisher's Synopsis: Linda's memoir of her ongoing struggle with depression and anxiety offers a fascinating and insightful perspective as both patient and doctor, from her childhood, through her student days, her career, and retirement. Her new book delves into recovery as she relocates from Yorkshire to Orkney and reflects on a life of hard work, traumatic relationships, and travel, and offers raw honesty on her experiences with antidepressants and therapy. It is ultimately a book about healing and hope.

Genre: Memoir

Ways to read: Paperback, Digital

Get it on Audible 

10. Hyper: a personal history of ADHD

Number 10: Hyper - a personal history of ADHD. Quote from @complexical on Twitter: "I'm really enjoying [this] memoir about growing up with ADHD!

My take: Hyper is a memoir that delves into Denevi's experiences growing up as a child with ADHD. He reviews the history of ADHD diagnoses and explores how "we've come to medicate more than four million children today."

Many reviews celebrate Denevi's honesty and sincerity. For example, he discusses being among the first generation of boys prescribed medication for ADHD in the 1980s at the age of six, and the adverse reactions he suffered. Critics also applaud the style of his work, celebrating how for many, it's refreshing to see ADHD written about in a way that is less scholarly and more open.

Genre: Memoir

Ways to read: Paperback, Digital

Get it on Amazon

Honorable mentions

The Healthy Mind Toolkit: quit sabotaging your success and become your best self

Author: Alice Boyes

My take: Dr. Boyes blends cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques and research to provide readers with easy and practical solutions to reverse self-sabotaging behaviors. This toolkit is filled with quizzes and exercises to offer individuals a personalized journey into healthier habits.

Genre: Guide, Exercise Book

Ways to read: Paperback, Digital, Audiobook

BWRT: Reboot your life with BrainWorking Recursive Therapy

Author: Terence Watts

Recommended by: PR team — Chenoa Parr at Chenoa Parr PR.

Their comments: It's a step-by-step guide based on his groundbreaking therapy BWRT, which is rooted in neuroscience and helps you tackle a range of different challenges, including anxiety, overcoming phobias and boosting self-worth. Terence created BWRT over 10 years ago, and it has helped thousands of people worldwide with all manner of mental health challenges. It's currently undergoing trials as a faster, more permanent alternative therapy for PTSD. Until now, BWRT has only been available through trained therapists, but this book provides the same toolkit to unlock and use this powerful technique themselves.

Genre: Guide

Ways to read: Paperback, Digital

ADHD: an A to Z

Author: Leanne Maskell

Author's comments: I wrote this after being diagnosed with ADHD at age 25 and learning about the 7-year waiting list for assessments on the NHS — I definitely wouldn't have made it that long! It's deliberately in an A to Z format, so it can be read at any chapter and has exercises in each to help with strategies to understand and thrive with your own brain wiring. (Note: They also work as an ADHD coach now!)

Genre: Self-Help, Advice, Guide

Ways to read: Paperback, Digital

ADHD: a hunter in a farmer's world

Author: Thom Hartmann, Michael Popkin

My take: Thought to be an ADHD staple, this book argues that ADHD isn't a disorder, but rather a different type of mental processing that isn't compatible with today's society, i.e., "hunters in a farmer's world."

Genre: Self-Help, Advice, Guide

Ways to read: Paperback, Digital, Audiobook

Self-Compassion: The proven power of being kind to yourself

Author: Kristin Neff

My take: This book offers expert advice on limiting and reducing the adverse effects of self-criticism. It seeks to help folk reach their highest potential and live a more fulfilled life. There is a time for mourning what could have been, but there is also a time for caring for the person you are today.

Genre: Self-Help, Advice, Guide

Ways to read: Paperback, Digital, Audiobook

There Is Nothing Wrong With You: going beyond self-hate

Author: Cheri Huber

My take: This book explores the origins of self-hate teaches individuals how to recognize it and how to go beyond it. It also illustrates how practicing meditation can help free people from self-hating beliefs.

Genre: Psychology, Guide, Self-Help

Ways to read: Paperback, Digital

You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!: a self-help book for adults with attention deficit disorder

Authors: Kate Kelly, Peggy Ramundo

My take: While there's a lot of literature geared towards the experiences of children with ADHD, the experiences of adults have only recently begun to receive recognition. This book adds to the discourse and offers adults practical information about their ADD/ADHD diagnosis and moral support.

Genre: Self-Help, Advice, Guide

Ways to read: Paperback, Digital, Audiobook

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Zuva Seven is a freelance writer and editor-in-chief of the online digital magazine, An Injustice!. She’s committed to educating people on general health, wellness and mental health in particular, though she also dabbles in politics and pop culture. Her work has appeared in various publications, including Refinery29, Business Insider, Stylist Magazine, Greatist and many more. When she’s not writing, you can find Zuva strength training in the gym or working towards completing her Bachelor of Arts degree in film, media and gender studies from the University of Cape Town. Follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.