Treating Addiction

Addiction can be a daunting struggle, and having access to resources that will help is an invaluable part of recovery. We compiled a list of 7 books that are must-reads for anyone who wants support and guidance when it comes to addiction. 
These cover multiple perspectives and include some academic texts too. Each author brings something valuable to the table, giving people hope and a chance at recovery.


1. The Biology of Desire by Marc Lewis - A New York Times Bestseller, The Biology of Desire explores the neurobiology behind addiction. It explains why some people are more likely to become addicted than others, what happens in a brain during withdrawal and recovery from an addiction, and offers life-changing insights into understanding one’s own addictive behaviours.

2. Facing Shame: Families in Recovery by Merle A Fossum and Marilyn J Mason

A very helpful book for families struggling with recovery and addiction and for whom face repeat treatments with little results. Behaviours such as compulsion, addiction, and/or abuse are frequent occurrences and are all linked by an underlying process of shame. Offering comparison between the shame-bound family system and the respectful family system, the authors using case studies take the reader on a journey of hearing through the stages of therapy. 

3. Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change by Jeffrey Foote - This is a compassionate, science-based approach to understanding addiction and how it can be successfully managed.

4. The Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction by Maia Szalavitz

We now live in unprecedented times where more and more people are struggling with some form of addiction, where it's prescription meds, sex gambling, porn or the internet. However the literature on shame and addiction remains stuck in 20th century-style thinking of the condition, i.e. that addiction is a brain disease or even a crime! In this book Szalavitz, strikingly challenges whether the addict truly has a broken brain or addictive personality and if it is actually a case of a learning disorder that can be treated and 'untangled'. Szalavitz also recognises that what works for one person might not for another and that actually the condition is more of a spectrum disorder similar to autism.

In this book, Szalavitz combines 25+ years of science and research with personal experience making it a revolutionary book in this space.


A big hello and thank you for reading! Passionate about literature, psychology, and life I launched Book Therapy as an alternative form of therapy using the power of literature. I train mental health professionals, librarians, teachers as well as readers on using bibliotherapy in their own work through our online Bibliotherapy, Literature and Mental Health course. We also curate reading lists/personalised book prescriptions for clients based on their individual needs. This is our signature personalised reading service.

You can also check out Book Therapy’s other free reading lists and A- Z of book prescriptions (covering both fiction and non-fiction). These suggest books based on your existing life situation (e.g. anxiety, job change, relationship heartache) as well as interests (e.g memoir, historical fiction, non-fiction, crime etc). There’s also a Children’s A — Z of Book Prescriptions. Feel free to check out the blog for more literary gems. There’s also a post on my personal story of how I entered the world of bibliotherapy and book curation.

In this role, I have had the opportunity to publish a book called The Happiness Mindset, and write various literary essays and pieces for newspapers and magazines. I have undertaken bibliotherapy workshops for The United Nations, various libraries in New York and corporate organisations in the UK and US. My book recommendations have featured in the Guardian, Marie Claire, NBC News, Asian Voice, New York Observer, Sydney Telegraph and various other publications. If you are a parent you might enjoy a podcast I’ve recorded with speech and language therapist Sunita Shah on Raising A Reader & Storyteller. And if you’d like to connect, email me at or

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