Bibliotherapy is a form of guided self-help whereby the patient works through a structured book, independently from the doctor.
Patients with mild to moderate depression or subthreshold depressive symptoms, as sole or supplementary therapy.
Patients with a reading age above 12 years and who have a positive attitude towards self-help.
Depression is characterised by one or both of the following key symptoms:
- persistent sadness or low mood
- marked loss of interest and pleasure
Associated symptoms are:
- disturbed sleep (increased or decreased)
- fatigue or loss of energy
- feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
- reduced concentration or indecisiveness
- agitation or slowing of movements
- change in appetite
- suicidal thoughts or acts.
Diagnostic criteria for depression
Based on the American Psychiatric Association’s revised fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV), depression is diagnosed by the presence of five symptoms including one or more key symptoms (see above), present most days, most of the time for at least 2 weeks.
Subthreshold depressive symptoms
Fewer than five symptoms.
Few, if any, symptoms in excess of the five required for the diagnosis and only minor functional impairment.
Five or more symptoms and some difficulties with everyday activities.
Severe depression (bibliotherapy is not indicated)
Most symptoms and the symptoms markedly interfere with functioning.
Alternatively you can use the WHO’s 10th revision of the International Classification of Diseases and Related Heath Problems (ICD-10) depression diagnostic criteria, which uses the same symptoms but a threshold of four symptoms.