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Just what the doctor ordered: Books will be prescribed as medicine in the UK

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(Read caption) 'The Feeling Good Handbook' by David D. Burns is one of the titles that can be prescribed under the new program.

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If you've always thought that curling up with a book at the end of a long day helped to boost your mood, it turns out that you are right. And there’s research to back you up.

Under the Books on Prescription program, UK doctors will begin prescribing books – yes, books – to patients with mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, the Reading Agency announced Thursday at the British Library. The Agency is a UK charity centered on books and reading.

“There is a growing evidence base that shows that self-help reading can help people with certain mental health conditions to get better,” Miranda McKearney, chief executive of the project and a spokesperson at the Reading Agency, said in a statement.

According to the UK’s Guardian, “there is a wealth of evidence” that supports the use of books, specifically self-help books, in treating mental health conditions. The most recent was a report published in the journal Plos One that demonstrated that people who read self-help books over the course of a year had measurably lower levels of depression.

In the UK, Books will be prescribed for patients suffering from a host of conditions, including anger, anxiety, binge eating, depression, anxiety, obsessions and compulsions, panic, phobias, low self-esteem, stress, worry, and even chronic pain, fatigue, and relationship problems.

Authorities have slated 30 titles for prescription, which are available in libraries across the land for patients to check out. The titles include “The Feeling Good Handbook,” “How to Stop Worrying,” and “Overcoming Anger and Irritability.”


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