Bipolar Books

A great part of the healing process is reading many of the terrific books about bipolar disorder. Here are a few of our favorites with a brief description of what they discuss. Our goal is to provide you brief descriptions so you will be able to best understand which books might help you. You are able to find these books and many others at

Brilliant Madness: Living With Manic Depressive Illness by Patty Duke

In this groundbreaking guide for those who are manic depressive or who live with or love someone who is, actress Duke ( Call Me Anna ), a spokeswoman for the National Institute of Mental Health, tells the harrowing story of her illness and her long road to recovery. After a lifetime of emotional turbulence, including three divorces and years of unsuccessful therapies, Duke found her own “wonder drug”: lithium. Interspersed throughout her personal account are chapters that give the latest information about manic-depressive illness, its many forms and the various treatments for it, as documented by Hochman ( Adult Children of Divorce ). Also included is advice on what families can do to cope and a list of resources for the mentally ill, including organizations that care for them. A chapter examines the connection between creativity and manic depression, drawing examples from music, politics and business. An informative, readable volume.

Touched With Fire: Manic Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament by Kaye Redfield Jamison

The march of science in explaining human nature continues. In Touched With Fire, Jamison marshals a tremendous amount of evidence for the proposition that most artistic geniuses were (and are) manic depressives. This is a book of interest to scientists, psychologists, and artists struggling with the age-old question of whether psychological suffering is an essential component of artistic creativity. Anyone reading this book closely will be forced to conclude that it is. Very Highly Recommended.

The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: What You And Your Family Need to Know by David J. Miklowitz, PHD

“This book is crammed full of useful information for bipolar patients, their family members, therapists, friends, lovers, employers and anyone else interested in bipolar disorders….This book is so well written and so full of useful advice as to how to plan and organize a life, that it could be profitably studied by anyone, whether or not he or she has bipolar disorder or knows someone who does.”–Metapsychology Online Book Reviews 

Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder by Julie A. Fast and John Preston

The authors offer those with Bipolar Disorder a four-step plan towards managing the illness and creating stability.

Break The Bipolar Cycle by Elizabeth Brandolo

If you’re dealing with bipolar disorder, you already know that it’s more than a cycle of “ups” and “downs.” You may also have difficulty with depression and irritability, as well as problems with weight gain, memory, and fatigue. Dealing with these day-to-day problems can sometimes seem like too much to bear. Drawing on the latest research in bipolar disorder, stress, and health, this step-by-step guide offers a complete selection of livable, workable solutions to manage bipolar disorder and helps you:

Identify your symptoms

Explore your treatment options

Stabilize your moods

Sharpen your mind

Achieve your goals

This isn’t a one-size-fits-all guide. It’s a uniquely personal approach to your bipolar disorder that covers the full spectrum of the disease and its symptoms. You’ll be able to find successful ways to regulate your moods, relieve your stress, improve your thought processes, and break the bipolar cycle–for a happier, healthier life.

Burn A Bipolar Memoir by Shane Feldman

This memoir isn’t only the first book documenting the manic thought process and recovery in real-time, but it is also filled with a college-aged person’s brilliant social commentary and satire.

Sugar And Salt: My Life With Bipolar Disorder

Sugar & Salt: My Life with Bipolar Disorder is the story of an ordinary person who lived with and ultimately overcame bipolar disorder (manic-depression.). She was not diagnosed until she was 37. She describes what it is like to be raised in a family overshadowed by the illness, and to try to fit in in school and to function at work with the undiagnosed disorder. The failure of a marriage and relationships are detailed, and she struggles to understand why her life is so different and so difficult, until she has a sudden revelation that something is wrong with her and that she needs help. Then comes the long fight to get treatment as she tries medication after medication after being misdiagnosed as psychotic. For five years she seeks knowledge and understanding of the disorder that makes her suffer. In a dramatic turn, Jane realizes she must enter a mental hospital to get the treatment she needs. She describes life in a locked ward, and how her doctor finally finds the medication her disorder responds to. She feels she has been given the key that lets her out of the hell the mood disorder has kept her in all her life, and for the first time, she feels “normal.” After the hospital, Jane has to face the world again and start a new life. She is able to work for years without her employers discovering her secret. However, after ten years, she develops an allergy to the medication that has served her so well and must start the process over again. During this process, she loses her dream job and falls back into depression. A story of ultimate triumph over bipolar disorder; find out how she did it and how you, too, can manage the disorder through medication and therapy.

Detour: My Bipolar Road Trip in 4-D by Lizzie Simon

By all appearances, Lizzie Simon was perfect. She had an Ivy League education, lots of friends, a loving family, and a dazzling career as a theater producer by the age of twenty-three. But that wasn’t enough: Lizzie still felt alone in the world, and largely misunderstood. Having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder as a teenager, she longed to meet others like herself; she wanted to hear the experiences of those who managed to move past their manic-depression and lead normal lives. So Lizzie hits the road, hoping to find “a herd of her own.” Along the way she finds romance and madness, survivors and sufferers, and, somewhere between the lanes, herself. Part road trip, part love story, Detour is a fast-paced, enduring memoir that demystifies mental illness while it embraces the universally human struggle to become whole.

The Dark Side of Innocence: Growing Up Bipolar by Terri Cheney

It wasn’t until 1994, when Cheney was 34 years old, that she learned the correct name for what she called the Black Beast, the destructive force that ruled her life. Following her diagnosis of bipolar disorder, Cheney wrote a widely acclaimed account (Manic: A Memoir) of her struggle to make a life for herself while coping with the disease. What she had not anticipated were the thousands of e-mails from parents of bipolar children asking, “What was your childhood like?” This narrative eloquently and intelligently answers this question. Beginning with the jarring account of her first suicide attempt at seven, Cheney then recounts her chaotic adolescence and troubled family life in California, through her departure for college at Vassar. Intelligent and popular, Cheney struggled daily to keep her life on track and her inner life hidden, in a family which kept plenty of secrets: “I was so different inside from the way I looked, I was practically two separate people.” Citing the necessity of early intervention to understanding and controlling the disease, Cheney urges parents to listen, learn, read, and discover all they can about their child’s problem. Her story is a sound first step toward understanding your child’s pain and finding solutions.

The Bipolar Workbook: Tools for Controlling Your Mood Swings by Monica Ramirez Basco PhD

Mood swings may be a part of your life, but the struggle to control them doesn’t have to dominate it. Together with the right course of medication, The Bipolar Workbook can put you back in control. Dr. Monica Ramirez Basco has assembled a versatile toolkit of proven self-help strategies designed to help you recognize the early warning signs of relapse, resist the seductive pull of manic episodes, and escape the paralysis of depression. Whether you’re new to the diagnosis (and not quite sure it fits) or want to enhance your current treatment, this simple program puts you in charge. Easy-to-follow guidelines and worksheets help you identify problem areas and minimize their impact, including ways to:

*Reduce the recurrence and severity of your symptoms.

*Slow things down and get the sleep you need when mania strikes.

*Keep motivated and avoid procrastination when you’re depressed.

*Fine-tune medical treatments to maximize your gains.

*Rein in emotional reactions.

*Stay focused and achieve your goals.

Since every individual’s experience with bipolar disorder is unique, Dr. Basco encourages you to customize a plan that suits your needs. So take charge and make a better life.

When Someone You Love is Bipolar by Cynthia G. Last

“Some of the most common emails we receive are from significant others of those who have bipolar disorder. These are from husbands and wives, lovers and friends, parents and children who just want to help, be there for the person they love. But they don”t know how. For these people, I highly recommend When Someone You Love Is Bipolar….Dr. Last is a practicing clinical psychologist, which means she has frontline experience with those who have bipolar disorder and their loved ones. Also, she has bipolar II disorder herself. The foreword of the book is written by her husband. I found it touching to read the compromises he”s made to help their marriage and how they”ve tacked this together. Dr. Last”s work is organized and easy to read….The call-outs, bold headings, and detailed index make the book an excellent quick-reference resource….Another great facet…is the extensive inventory of tools….Regardless of your loved ones participation, you will find this book to be a valuable resource.”–

The Bipolar Advantage by Tom Wooton

The Bipolar Advantage is about recognizing all of the aspects of the bipolar condition. Wootton readily admits that “Advantage” is not the typical interpretation of bipolar. Based on his Bipolar in Order Seminar that he has developed over the past two years, it focuses on the positive approach to the bipolar condition. It is about coming to an acceptance of yourself while striving to become a better person. Learning to use Introspection to become aware of who you REALLY are and learning to change your habits in order to accentuate the positive aspects of the bipolar condition while minimizing the negative. Turning bipolar into an advantage is accomplished by creating a vision of who you want to be and putting together a plan to follow that will get you there; as is done by every successful business in the world. As a successful professional and someone who was misdiagnosed for years, Wootton has personally experienced the good and the bad of this condition. Leading a DBSA group and teaching the Bipolar in Order seminar has put Wootton in touch with the personal stories of many bipolar people and their families. This positive approach with tools and skills for improving life will be of help to everyone, both those with bipolar and those who love and support them.

Welcome To The Jungle: Everything You Wanted To Know About Bipolar but Were Too Freaked Out To Ask by Hilary Smith

Going bravely where no other bipolar book has gone before, here Hilary Smith offers devastatingly on-target, honest–and riotously funny–insights into living with bipolar and answers some of the hardest questions facing her fellow bipolaristas:  Can anything ever be the same again?  Am I still me if I take mind-altering meds? Can other people tell I have bipolar?  Can I get this thing removed?

Bipolar is one of the most commonly diagnosed psychiatric conditions among teens and twenty-somethings–yet there are very few books out there written specifically for teens and twenty-somethings experiencing mental illness for the first time.

Welcome to the Jungle (Conari Press, May 2010) fills that gap with its upfront, empowering approach to the challenges of being diagnosed with bipolar. Both humorous and immensely honest, it offers a true “in the trenches” perspective readers will trust.

Bipolar Disorder, Causes, Symptoms, Signs, Diagnosis and Treatments by National Institute of Mental Health

A detailed booklet that describes Bipolar Disorder symptoms, causes, and treatments, with information on getting help and coping. This booklet is also for family, friends and others who want to better understand this disease.

Living With Someone Who’s Living With Bipolar Disorder: A Practical Guide for Family, Friends and Coworkers by Chelsea Lowe and Bruce M. Cohen MD PhD

An essential resource for anyone who has a close relationship with a person who is bipolar.

This book provides a much-needed resource for family and friends of the more than 5 million American adults suffering from bipolar disorder. From psychotic behavior that requires medication to milder mood swings with disturbing ups and down, this book offers a warm and often humorous user-friend guide for coping with bipolar loved ones, colleagues, and friends.

You are able to find these books and many others at


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