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Bipolar Disorder Book List

These are among the books we regard as most helpful to family and friends of people with bipolar disorder who are trying to understand the disorder, the behaviors that arise from it, and the often difficult path to finding effective treatment. The list is divided into four sections: The Short List, Colateral Damage, From the Front Lines, Understanding and Coping and Children and Adolescents.

The reviews are not those of professional critics. The unsigned or uninitialed reviews are the opinions of the parent of an adult child diagonosed with Bipoar Disorder at the age of 20. Other reviews are provided by the BPSO webmaster, by interested members of the BPSO mailing list, or are summaries of list discussions about a particular book.

Authors and publishers wishing to submit books for review, or who wish to refer promotional materials for our consideration, should contact reviewer@bpso.org


The Short List
Books most often discussed and recommended on the BPSO mailing list.

I Am Not Sick, I Don't Need Help! Helping the Seriously Mentally Ill Accept Treatment - Xavier Amador with Anna-Lisa Johanson

Paperback, Vida Press, 2000, 240 pages. ISBN: 0967718902. A BPSO Review here!

Xavier Amador has a mentally ill brother, the catalyst for what fueled his research into "denial." Anna-Lisa Johanson also has a personal interest: her mother was the notorious mentally ill person who was stalking David Letterman, and ended her own life by throwing herself in front of train. This book is for people dealing with the frustration of mentally ill people who just obstinately seems to "refuse" to understand themselves as ill, explains the "why" that might be so, and gives some excellent advice on how to combate it. Mostly written for families and loved ones of "swinging door" hospital patients, it nevertheless, I think, could be very useful for dealing with any loved one with a mental illness. There's also included (at no extra charge!) a summary, state by state, of U.S. commitment law standards for civil commitment, a.k.a., assisted treatment. If you're commited (pun intended) to helping your "in denial" loved one, I highly recommend this book. Buy it. Read it. Twice.

In Sickness and In Health - Jen A. Campbell
eBook, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012, 140 pages. ISBN: 147925553X. Read the Blurb.

Living Without Depression and Manic Depression: A Workbook for Maintaining Mood Stability - Mary Ellen Copeland
Paperback, New Harbinger, 1994 ISBN: 1879237741. Read the Blurb. Book Web Site. A BPSO Review here!

What Goes up... Surviving the Manic Episode of a Loved One - Judy Eron

Paperback, Barricade Books, 2005, 212 pages. ISBN: 1569802858. Book Web Site. External reviews: Austin Travis County MHMRC, NAMI Wyoming

Judy Eron in her introduction to "What Goes Up: Surviving the Manic Episode of Loved One," begins the chronicle of her husband Jim's mania by elucidating the "strange set of circumstances" she, herself, experienced during the time Jim was sick. "It's a strange set of circumstances when a wife wakes up every morning wishing her husband would get depressed or arrested." she says. "It's a strange set of circumstances when a wife wakes up every morning hoping her husband has an automobile accident which puts him in the hospital for an extended period." she writes. "It's a strange set of circumstances when a wife wakes up every morning praying that her husband will be caught running naked in the streets." With these first, powerful words, one is instantly captured and drawn into Judy's struggle in dealing with her husband's manic episode. Jim, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder years prior, had been stable on medication for well over 9 years. Meeting and marrying Judy after the diagnosis and beginning medication -- both were professional people, he a psychologist and she a social worker -- the couple seemed to be building an idyllic relationship Then, on a cross-country trip, Jim "forgets" to bring his medication, and, in three weeks without it, decides he feels much better not taking it. This is the prelude to what Judy describes as The Bad Year. Jim heads into a full-blown mania, and becomes what has come to be known by one group of Significant Others as a "runner," desperately seeking to change his inner turmoil by changing his external circumstance. Though a chronicle of a mania, and subsequent "crash," this slim volume is not strictly about bipolar disorder. It's also about deep love and loyalty; courage and confusion in the midst of committment; and respect, regret and much reflection. A compelling story, valuable, not for any "do's" or "don'ts" which are contained therein, but for its significant power to imbue the feeling in persons dealing with a loved one suffering with a bipolar mania that, finally, someone truly understands and has written about, the collateral effects being visited on "me."

Loving Someone With Bipolar Disorder - Julie A. Fast, John D. Preston
Paperback, New Harbinger Publications, 2004, 208 pages. ISBN: 1572243422. A BPSO Review here!

Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder - Julie A. Fast, John Preston, Psy.D.
Warner Wellness, 2006, 320 pages. ISBN: 978-0446697613. Book Web Site.

Manic-Depressive Illness: Bipolar Disorders and Recurrent Depression - Frederick K. Goodwin and Kay Redfield Jamison
A medical textbook. Not easy reading, but invaluable for those interested in the state of scientific research into the causes and treatment of bipolar disorder.

Hardback, Oxford University Press, 2007, 1288 pages. ISBN: 0195135792. Read the Blurb.

A Family's Secret: Bipolar Disorder on Treetop Lane - Carol Horan
eBook, CreateSpace, 2012, 184 pages. ISBN: ASIN B008EY8VPK. Read the Blurb. Book Web Site.

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness - Kay Redfield Jamison

Paperback, Vintage, 1997, 240 pages. ISBN: 0679763309. Read the Blurb.

THE autobiography to read of bipolar disorder. Kay Jamison is also a co-author of the definitive medical text: Manic Depressive Illness. A victim of manic depressive illness herself, An Unquiet Mind is her "outing" from the closet of mental illness. Though not a psychiatrist (medical doctor), she is a teaching professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. I've heard some psychiatrists call her their "hero." A MUST read.

The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: What You and Your Family Need to Know - David J. Miklowitz
Paperback, The Guilford Press, 2002, 322 pages. ISBN: 1572305258.

Bipolar Disorder: A Family-Focused Treatment Approach - David J. Miklowitz, Michael J. Goldstein, Lyman C. Wynne
Guilford Press, 1997 ISBN: 1572302836. Read the Blurb. A BPSO Review here!

Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for Patients and Families - Francis Mark Mondimore
Paperback, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999, 312 pages. ISBN: 0801861187. Read the Blurb.

The Bipolar Child: The Definitive and Reassuring Guide to Childhood's Most Misunderstood Disorder - Demitri Papolos, M.D. and Janice Papolos
Hardback, Broadway Books, 1999, 320 pages. ISBN: 0767903161. Read the Blurb. Book Web Site.

Love Has Its Ups and Downs - Bonnie Rice

Getolife Publishing, 2009 ISBN: 978-1435748910. Book Web Site.

Written by a long-time BPSO list member, this work is highly recommended for its insight into the workings of relationships where bipolar disorder is a factor.

Depression Fallout: The Impact of Depression on Couples and What You Can Do to Preserve the Bond - Anne Sheffield
Paperback, HarperCollins, 2003 ISBN: 0060009349. A BPSO Review here!


Colateral Damage
How bipolar disorder affects a loving relationship.

Nothing to Hide: Mental Illness in the Family - Jean J. Beard, Peggy Gillespie & Gigi Kaeser
A compelling collection of family photographs and moving first-person narratives about people living with mental illness.

Hardback, New Press, 2002, 320 pages. ISBN: 1565847210. Read the Blurb.

Codependent No More! How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself - Melody Beattie

Paperback, Hazelden Information Education, 1997 ISBN: 0894864025.

A very good friend of mine swears by this book. I read it, didn't think I got a lot out of it, but immediately thereafter, noticed a change in some of my attitudes. Somehow, even though I don't consider myself very codependent by nature, some of it apparently sank in and rubbed off. I recommend it for anyone who even thinks they might be a teensy co-dependent some times.

We Heard the Angels of Madness: One Family's Struggle with Manic Depression - Diane and Lisa Berger

Paperback, Quill, 1992, 312 pages. ISBN: 0688116159. Read the Blurb. A BPSO Review here!

Written by a mother and sister about a teenage son/brother, this was the first book about bipolar disorder I read almost 9 years ago when I was trying figure out what was causing my daughter's very different and difficult to deal with behavior. I don't remember a great deal about it, and I believe what I had was a library edition, but I do know it pointed me in the right direction regarding what was "wrong" with my daughter.

The Stormchasers - Jenna Blum
Hardback, Dutton Adult, 2010, 384 pages. ISBN: 0525951555. Read the Blurb. Book Web Site.

Book Trailer on YouTube

Keeping My Head - Marrying into Mental Illness - Charlotte Chapman
Available for Kindle.

Charlotte Chapman (Amazon Digital Services), 2012 Read the Blurb.

Hurry Down Sunshine: A Father's Memoir of Love and Madness - Michael Greenberg
Hardback, Bloomsbury, 2009, 240 pages. ISBN: 0002007746. Read the Blurb. Book Web Site. External review: Guardian

Hidden Victims, Hidden Healers: An Eight-stage Healing Process for Families and Friends of the Mentally Ill - Julie Tallard Johnson
Pema Press, Doubleday, 1988,1994 ISBN: 0-9640430-0-9. Read the Blurb.

Understanding Mental Illness: For Teens Who Care About Someone With Mental Illness - Julie Tallard Johnson
Reading level: Ages 9-12.

Paperback, Lerner Publications, 1990 ISBN: 0822595745. Read the Blurb. 51cMy7Yd+2L._SL500_AA300_.jpg

To Walk on Eggshells - Jean Johnston
Written by Suzy Johnston's mother, this is a priceless & refreshingly sensible account on caring for mental illness.

Paperback, Cairn, 2005, 84 pages. ISBN: 0954809211.

The Burden of Sympathy: How Families Cope With Mental Illness - Dr. David Karp
Oxford University Press, 2000 ISBN: 0195123158. Read the Blurb.

No cover image

The Rainbow Angels - Madeleine Kelly
A rare book on how to explain bipolar disorder to non-bipolar children.

Paperback, Two Trees Media, 1999, 4 pages. Book Web Site.

Should You Leave? - Peter D. Kramer
Paperback, Penguin, 1999, 296 pages. ISBN: 0140272798. A BPSO Review here!

I just want my Daughter back: Coming to terms with Bipolar 1 - B.C. Levinson
Paperback, CreateSpace, 2009, 252 pages. ISBN: 144213979X. Read the Blurb.

Daughter of the Queen of Sheeba - Jacki Lyden

Paperback, Penguin, 1998, 257 pages. ISBN: 014027684X.

National Public Radio reporter Jacki Lyden's autobiography is, of course, the story of Jacki's life. However, as the title suggests, her mother having bipolar disorder from the time she was a tot had a great impact on her life. (Interesting side note that the title of the book on the jacket has the first word "of" below cutting into an underlining, and the second word "of" above the underling.) Because Sharon Wohlmuth said exactly what I feel about the book in her review, I'm passing along a quote: "She shares the detritus of her mother's madness with the clarity of a journalist and the compassion of a loving and devoted daughter." It's also a book with an uplifting ending, but I'm not revealing that here.

Friends and Family Bipolar Survival Guide - Debra and Mark Meehl
Paperback, Meehl Foundation Press, 2005, 228 pages. ISBN: 0-976704900. Read the Blurb. Book Web Site.

Advocating for Someone with a Mental Illness - Sonya Nesch
- Full of information about dealing with doctors, meds, judges, jails, etc., with sample letters.

White Trillium Press, 2004? Book Web Site.

Imagining Robert: My Brother, Madness and Survival - Jay Neugeboren

Paperback, Rutgers University Press, 2003, 313 pages. ISBN: 0813532965. Read the Blurb.

Life of a mentally ill Robert from a brother's perspective, this book details the trials of dealing with mental illness in the family from a personal point of view. The author was actually left to deal with his brother pretty much on his own when the parents up and moved to Florida, leaving Robert in the State mental health system in New York while his brother, Jay, became a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. I attended a book reading of "Imagining Robert" in 1996, and, most recently, Jay was a guest lecturer at the college where I work and presented, in collaboration with a producer whose name escapes me now, a film documentary of the book, featuring... Robert! Robert has been variously diagnosed as schizophrenic, bipolar, and bipolar with schizo-affective, but the diagnosis doesn't really make much difference in this story; it's a moving, personal account of mental illness.

Bipolar Disorder - The Ultimate Guide - Sarah Owen and Amanda Saunders

Paperback, Oneworld Publications, 2008, 288 pages. ISBN: 1851686045. A BPSO Review here!

An excellent, well-written general treatment of the illness, in question-and-answer format. The authors are near relatives of persons with the bipolar diagnosis, and the coverage of the illness is often informed by their personal experience as carers and loved ones. I recommend this as a good introducory book on the disorder and all its implications. It will be particularly helpful to those living the U.K. because of it's suggestions on how to get the most out of the health care system there.

In Her Wake: A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Mystery of Her Mother's Suicide - Nancy Rappaport
Hardback, Basic Books, 2009, 320 pages. ISBN: 978-0465014507. Read the Blurb. Book Web Site.

The Normal One: Life with a Difficult or Damaged Sibling - Jeanne Safer, Ph.D.
Paperback, Delta, 2003, 224 pages. ISBN: 0-385-33756-6. Book Web Site. A BPSO Review here!

When Madness Comes Home: Help and Hope for the Children, Siblings, and Partners of the Mentally Ill - Victoria Secunda
Hardback, Hyperion, 1997, 362 pages. ISBN: 0786861711. Read the Blurb.

How You Can Survive When They're Depressed: Living and Coping With Depression Fallout - Anne Sheffield
Hardback, Harmony Books, 1998, 336 pages. ISBN: 0609804154. Read the Blurb. Book Web Site. A BPSO Review here!

I'm Not Alone: A Teen's Guide to Living with a Parent Who Has a Mental Illness - Michelle D. Sherman and DeAnne M. Sherman
Paperback, Beaver's Pond Press, 2006, 144 pages. ISBN: 1-59298-118-6. Read the Blurb. Book Web Site.

Mad House: Growing up in the Shadows of Mentally Ill Siblings - Clea Simon
Paperback, Penguin, 1998, 224 pages. ISBN: 0140274340. Read the Blurb. Book Web Site.

Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy - Sonya Sones
Paperback, Harpercollins Juvenile Books, 2001 ISBN: 0064462188. Read the Blurb. A BPSO Review here!


From the Front Lines
Biographies, memoirs and personal accounts of the illness

Bipolar. . . Me? - John Barrett
eBook, Amazon Digital Services, 2012 ISBN: ASIN: B008WJZ97U. Read the Blurb.

Running with Scissors: A Memoir - Augusten Burroughs
Paperback, Picador, 2003, 315 pages. ISBN: 031242227X. A BPSO Review here!

Closing the Chasm: Letters from a Bipolar Physician to His Son - Benjamin Diven, MD

Paperback, iUniverse.com, 2009, 172 pages. ISBN: 0595481094. Read the Blurb. Book Web Site. A BPSO Review here!

This is Dr. Benjamin Diven's account of his experience of bipolar disorder over a forty year period. Written in the form of a series of letters to an adult son, Dr. Diven provides a clear and straightforward account of his struggles with the illness, his growing insight into its operation, the difficulties involved in finding effective medication, and the impact of the illness on his life, career and family.

The Holy Book of Illusion: A Journey Through Mania - Jessica Dolin
Trafford, 2002 ISBN: 1-55369-507-0. Read the Blurb.

Less than Crazy: Living Fully with Bipolar II - Karla Dougherty
Paperback, Da Capo Press, 2008, 256 pages. ISBN: 978-1600940477. Read the Blurb.

BPSO Quote: "One book that I found really helpful from a purely educational point of view was by Karla Dougherty - Less Than Crazy, Living with Bipolar II. It's written in very plain language, easy to read and very informative without being dry and textbook-like."

A Brilliant Madness: Living with Manic Depressive Illness - Patty Duke and Gloria Hochman

Paperback, Bantam, 1997, 368 pages. ISBN: 0553560727. Read the Blurb.

This is the actor's in-depth exposition of her mental illness and the way she has dealt with it. Interestingly, she seems to be one of the exceptions to the rule that people with mental illness generally deny, at least at first, that anything could be wrong. Ms. Duke's reaction to being told of a diagnosis of manic depression was that it "finally had a name!" and could be dealt with. She was, however, in her late 30's (if I remember correctly... could be wrong) when the diagnosis came and had been through many tumultous years prior. She is, however, one of the persons with bipolar disorder who religiously takes her medication, and can't imagine her life without lithium. A pretty easy read, and a book that I think would be good for people with mental illness themselves to read.

Call Me Anna: The Autobiography of Patty Duke - Patty Duke and Kenneth Turan

Paperback, Bantam, 1988, 320 pages. ISBN: 0553272055.

Autobiography of Oscar and Emmy award winning actor Patty Duke, this one details her whole life, including her diagnosis with bipolar disorder. It's been awhile since I read it, but remember it as an easy read, and wholly comprehensible.

A Blur of Mass Motion: The Poetry and Writings of Erin Winona Flowers - Phyllis Jean Flowers
Paperback, Westview Publishing, 2003 ISBN: 0-9744322-1-0. Read the Blurb.

The Joy of Being Bipolar and Other Eyewitness Accounts - David G
eBook, Amazon Digital, 2013, 431 pages. ISBN: B00BDCEPD2. Read the Blurb.

In My Head: Living My Life with Bi-Polar - Melody Hope
Paperback, Xlibris, 2008, 168 pages. ISBN: 1436335299. Read the Blurb.

Madness: A Bipolar Life - Marya Hornbacher

Hardback, Houghton Mifflin, 2008, 299 pages. ISBN: 978-0618754458. Read the Blurb. Book Web Site. A BPSO Review here!

A gripping account of the author's experience and evolving insight into her severe, rapid-cycling type I bipolar disorder.

The Naked Bird Watcher - Suzy Johnston
Paperback, Cairn, 2004, 248 pages. ISBN: 09548092 0 3. Read the Blurb. Book Web Site.

The Snow Globe Journals: sound bites from a mental illness - Suzy Johnston
Paperback, The Cairn, 2009, 92 pages. ISBN: 095480922X. Read the Blurb. Book Web Site.

Outta My Head and In Your Face - Mara McWilliams
A personal account of the author's experience and recovery from bipolar disorder.

Paperback, Wasteland Press, 2003, 98 pages. ISBN: 0972428984.

Book Cover

I am Lisa; I am not Bipolar - Lisa Mora
Paperback, esstee media, 2006, 207 pages. ISBN: 0-9758167-3-8. Read the Blurb. Book Web Site.

How to Pour Madness into a Teacup - Abegail Morley
Paperback, Cinnamon Press, 2009, 64 pages. ISBN: 1907090002. Read the Blurb.

A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash - Sylvia Nasar

Paperback, Simon & Schuster, 2001, 464 pages. ISBN: 0743224574.

The book is better than the movie in that it is able to explore Nash's relationships more in depth. I found parts difficult to get through, however, particularly the discussions of Nash's early brilliance with game theory. I don't think the biographer really understood the concepts quite as well as she thought she did, and her elucidation of his theories came across as a little muddled. Well worth the read, though.

Sectioned: A Life Interrupted - John O'Donoghue
Hardback, John Murray, 2009, 304 pages. ISBN: 1848540124. External review: Guardian

Hopping Roller Coasters - Rachel Pappas
Xlibris, 2011, 274 pages. ISBN: B005XLK506. Read the Blurb. Book Web Site.

Skywriting: A Life Out of the Blue - Jane Pauley

Hardback, Random House, 2004, 288 pages. ISBN: 140006192X.

Notable simply because Jane Pauley, former co-host of America's "Today" show and former correspondent on "Dateline," would ordinarily be one of the last people one would suspect of having bipolar disorder. Jane is generally not perceived to be the usual tenacious, hard-hitting reporter which one ordinarily identifies with having that type of job, or holding those types of positions. Rather, she seems much more like "the girl next door." It was, therefore, a headlining news story that she had been diagnosed and spent time hospitalized, for bipolar disorder. Jane's type of bipolar, (medication induced Bipolar III), was diagnosed after she was prescribed steroids for a bout of hives. Jane's discussion of bipolar disorder is, like Jane herself, rather understated. There seems little of the drama and chaos that ordinarily accompanies and surrounds this condition in her life. Well written and good "biography" reading, and good for getting a more well-rounded picture of who may have the disorder, but lacking in imparting substantive understanding of the disorder itself.

Runaway Mind - Maggie Reese
Paperback, Xlibris, 2009, 172 pages. ISBN: 978-1441586919. Read the Blurb. Book Web Site.

The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness - Lori Schiller with Amanda Bennett

Paperback, Warner Books, 1996, 288 pages. ISBN: 0446671339. Read the Blurb.

Lori Schiller was a "has it all" kind of American girl, until in the summer before her senior year in high school she began to hear voices. Told in her words, as well as in the words of her mother, father, brother, roommate and psychiatrist, this is a powerful and moving recitation of a person's plunge into schizophrenia and eventually (very eventually... she spent years hospitalized) her emergence back to the functional "real" world. For anyone who desires to get as close as possible to understanding mental illness from the "inside out" without actually making the trip.

Manic by Midnight - Faye Joy Shannon and Mary Jo Elsasser
Paperback, PublishAmerica, 2000 ISBN: 1588518388. Read the Blurb.

Is There No Place on Earth for Me? - Susan Sheehan

Paperback, Vintage, 1983, 352 pages. ISBN: 0394713788.

The biography of a woman, "Sylvia Frumkin," diagnosed with schizophrenia. It has probably has been about seven years since I read this, and if memory serves me right my daughter actually recommended it to me from one of her psych classes. Skimming it anew, it is well written and elucidates schizophrenia from a journalist's perspective, but is more concerned with mental illness from a "social problem" point of view than from a personal one.

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

Paperback, Washington Square Press, 2003, 224 pages. ISBN: 0743446607.

Lizzie Simon, diagnosed with bipolar disorder, leaves a very successful job as the producer of a radio show in New York city, and sets out cross-crounty to find her "herd": other people who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and are leading successful lives. She does find some people to interview, but the book is more about following her journey, I think, than it is about any actual people she finds. I found it pretty uneven in places, but bipolar disorder itself is, after all, an "uneven" affliction, and the greatest value of the book is that it gives insight into bipolar disorder from the perspective of one who "owns" it. It's an excellent read as well for persons with bipolar disorder themselves. (I've actually offered to PAY my daughter to read it.)

His Bright Light: the Story of Nick Traiana - Danielle Steel

Paperback, Delta, 2000, 336 pages. ISBN: 0385334672.

The popular author, Danielle Steele, details the struggles of her son, Nick Traiana, with bipolar disorder and his ultimate suicide. Written from a mother's perspective, I was singularly unimpressed with this book, as I found it difficult to understand why any mom would actually encourage and support a mentally ill child's ambition to become, of all things, a rock star. The answer was not forthcoming in the book, and although I have much sympathy for Ms. Steele and the heartbreak she experienced upon the death of her son, I don't believe this book is likely to increase one's knowledge of bipolar disorder, nor be in any way instructive in how one may cope.

Praying to the Goddess: A Memoir of Mood Swings - Mahita Vas
eBook, Monsoon Books, 2012 ISBN: B009E6QYZ6. Read the Blurb.

Mahita Vas (Singapore) struggled for years with what she now knows were manic highs and depressive lows. She credits her husband, children, friends and her daily dosage of lithium for providing an essential element of balance.

Voluntary Madness: My Year Lost and Found in the Loony Bin - Norah Vincent
Hardback, Viking, 2008, 304 pages. ISBN: 0670019712. Read the Blurb. Book Web Site. External review: Guardian.

My Life as a Mood Swinger: A cautionary tale of life with Bipolar Disorder - Clive Wild
A picture book.


Paperback, Xlibris, 2009, 72 pages. ISBN: 978-1441524768. Read the Blurb. Book Web Site. A BPSO Review here!

A short, generally upbeat book about how a man's life was affected by bipolar disorder. It is considerably enlivened by many photographs of the people and places in the author's life.


Understanding and Coping
Books that provide insight into what bipolar disorder is, how it affects people, and ways that it can be managed.

The Broken Brain - The Biological Revolution in Psychiatry - Nancy C. Andreasen

Paperback, Perennial, 1985, 288 pages. ISBN: 0060912723.

The claim on the book front is that "[The] book will be especially valuable to anyone who knows someone afflicted with a mental illness." I didn't find this necessarily true. The case studies presented were interesting and readable, but much of the book deals with ganglia, synapses, neurotransmitters, and brain structures. For a person who is highly technically oriented, this would be a good read. For one who is less than so, forget it.

Why Your Depression Isn't Getting Better: The Epidemic of Undiagnosed Bipolar Disorders - Michael R. Bartos, MD
Paperback, iUniverse.com, 2000 ISBN: 0595122094. Book Web Site.

The Bipolar Workbook: Tools for Controlling Your Mood Swings - Monica Ramirez Basco
Paperback, Guilford Publications, 2006, 252 pages. ISBN: 1-59385-162-6. Read the Blurb. Book Web Site.

The Depression Workbook: A Guide for Living With Depression and Manic Depression - Mary Ellen Copeland
Paperback, New Harbinger, 1992, 304 pages. ISBN: 1879237326. Read the Blurb. Book Web Site.

You Mean I Don't Have to Feel This Way?: New Help for Depression, Anxiety and Addiction - Colette Dowling

Paperback, Bantam, 1993, 320 pages. ISBN: 055337169X. Read the Blurb.

I originally bought this book for my daughter and ended up reading it myself. In it Dowling explores a smorgasboard of mood ailments, from PMS and eating disorders to anxiety and the major mental illnesses of bipolar and depression. She does so on a "biologic brain" model, and intersperses case studies. It's no longer "new," of course, having first been published in 1991, so it doesn't contain information about many of the newer drugs used to bring some of these afflictions under control, but was a ground-breaking book at the the time. Nevertheless, a good read on general knowledge grounds.

New Hope for People with Bipolar Disorder - Jan Fawcett, Bernard Golden, and Nancy Rosenfeld
Paperback, Three Rivers Press, 2000, 352 pages. ISBN: 0761530088.

Moodswing - Ronald R. Fieve

Paperback, Bantam, 1982 ISBN: 0553266128.

The first book on mental illness which was recommended to me by my (former... only becuase I'm taking some time off) therapist, this Fieve book is interesting because it's billed as "Dr. Fieve on Depression" and "The eminent psychiatrist who pioneered the use of lithium in America Reveals a revolutionary new way to prevent depression," but is clearly a softer-peddle treatment of bipolar disorder. Maybe the cover was written up that way because more people seek help for depression, or maybe because depression is more readily accepted by the general public as "not a mental illness" (though it clearly is), but either way, though it's soft-peddle on the outside, it's filled with good insight and is also an easy read.

Bipolar Disorder for Dummies - Candida Fink, MD, and Joe Kraynak
Paperback, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2005, 340 pages. ISBN: 0-7645-8451-0. Read the Blurb.

Fast Facts: Bipolar Disorder - Guy Goodwin and Gary Sachs

Paperback, Health Press, 2010, 115 pages. ISBN: 978-1905832521. Book Web Site.

This is a very good book. It is a concise, fact-packed and comprehensive guide to bipolar disorder. I cannot think of another book that covers so much ground in so few pages. Readers seeking more information on a particular topic will find further references at the end of each chapter. Although the book covers the disorder from a medical point of view (the authors are doctors), it does not neglect the patient's perspective, and it devotes some space to the role of the family or other care-givers in treatment and recovery. The chapter on enhanced care is particularly valuable -- where the recovery process is described in terms of an iterative and cooperative process involving evaluation, insight, education and learning on the part of patient, physician and family working together. It would have been nice if some space could have been found to detail the more common behaviors that disturb family members, such as anger or fear directed at loved ones, abusiveness, impulsiveness and unreliability. Nonetheless, this is an excellent book that provides an outstanding introduction to bipolar disorder. Here is the book's promotional flyer.

Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide - Kay Redfield Jamison

Paperback, Vintage, 2000, 448 pages. ISBN: 0375701478. Read the Blurb.

Kay Jamison's latest book is devoted exclusively to suicide, and she knows the topic from a personal as well as professional stance. Quoting the St. Louis Post Dispatch: "Jamison writes with authority, clarity and clinical reserve. When she takes herself into territory where explanations are shadows and tragedy prevails, she takes hold of the pen of a poet. Powerful as her medicine is, her poetic accounting of this dark death is more affecting still." For anyone whose loved one has attempted or completed suicide.

Touched with Fire: Manic Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament - Kay Redfield Jamison

Paperback, Free Press, 1996, 384 pages. ISBN: 068483183X. Read the Blurb.

Another by Jamison, though this one, written prior to An Unquiet Mind explores the relationship between, as it says, bipolar disorder and what she calls the "artistic temperament." Though exceptionally well written, this one is pretty dry, and academically oriented, written more for a psychology class than general reading.

Bipolar and the Art of Roller-coaster Riding - Madeleine Kelly
Paperback, Two Trees Media, 2005, 182 pages. ISBN: 0731809483. Book Web Site.

Fear and Other Uninvited Guests: Tackling the Anxiety, Fear, and Shame That Keep Us from Optimal Living and Loving - Harriet Lerner, Ph.D.
Hardback, HarperCollins, 2004, 238 pages. ISBN: 0060081570. Book Web Site. A BPSO Review here!

Dancing With Bipolar Bears: Living in Joy Despite Illness - James E. McReynolds
Paperback, iUniverse.com, 2003, 148 pages. ISBN: 0595306101. Read the Blurb. Book Web Site.

Book Cover

MediFocus Guide to Bipolar Disorder - MediFocus.com, Inc.
A useful collection of abstracts on current medical research into bipolar disorder, updated regularly. Contains a guide to self-care and how to select a physician.

Paperback, Medifocus.com, Inc., Quarterly. Read the Blurb. Book Web Site.

Bipolar Disorder: Insights for Recovery - Jane Mountain, MD
Paperback, Chapter One, 2003 ISBN: 0971927057. Book Web Site.

Overcoming Depression - Demitri Papolos, M.D. and Janice Papolos
Paperback, HarperCollins, 1997, 432 pages. ISBN: 0060927828. Read the Blurb.

Why Am I Still Depressed: Recognizing and Managing the Ups and Downs of Bipolar II and Soft Bipolar Disorder - Jim Phelps, MD
Paperback, McGraw-Hill, 2006, 304 pages. ISBN: 0-07-146237-6. Read the Blurb. Book Web Site.

Shadow Syndromes: The Mild Forms of Major Mental Disorders That Sabotage Us - John J. Ratey, M.D. and Catherine Johnson, Ph.D.

Paperback, Bantam Books, 1998, 400 pages. ISBN: 0553379593.

According to the authors, major mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, attention deficit disorder, autism, and others, exist on a continuum from very mild to extreme. Though the extreme forms of these illnesses are generally easy to identify and diagnose, there are, according to the authors, lesser degrees of these disorders which may affect personality and have a major impact on lives. The thrust of this book is to identify and explain, on a biologically based model, these "shadow" syndromes. It does a good job of that. More importantly, however, it gives insight into how these illnesses both on the extreme and the lesser levels may operate, for the principals of the mechanisms of "what's going on" would be the same, regardless of the degree of the disorder.

Surfing the Blues: Understanding and Coping With Mood Disorders - Catherine Rzecki
Paperback, Harpercollins Australia, 1998, 224 pages. ISBN: 0207188661.

The Naked Lady Who Stood on Her Head: A Psychiatrist's Stories of His Most Bizarre Cases - Gary Small and Gigi Vorgan

Hardback, William Morrow, 2010, 288 pages. ISBN: 978-0061803789. Book Web Site. A BPSO Review here!

Bipolar Disorder: Rebuilding Your Life - James T. Stout
Paperback, Cypress House, 2002, 304 pages. ISBN: 1879384442. Book Web Site.

A Mood Apart: Depression, Mania, and Other Afflictions of the Self - Peter C. Whybrow, M.D.

Paperback, Perennial, 1998, 384 pages. ISBN: 006097740X. Read the Blurb.

One of the most impressive books on the topic I've read, Whybrow, through case studies, explores both mania and depression, as well as the "lesser" forms of bipolar disorder such as cyclothymia and dysthymia. There's a good deal of "technical" talk in the book as well, but Whybrow makes the technicals both readily understandable and easy to read. His prose and thorough treatment of the topic has been called graceful by more than one reviewer. Frank Bergmann, President of the National Depressive and Manic-Dpressive Association calls it "... a masterpiece... His topic is complex, his explanation scientific and yet deeply rooted in compassion, understanding, prception, and respect for his patients." I agree, wholeheartedly, with Mr. Bergmann.


Children and Adolescents
Books about and for children and adolescents who have bipolar disorder. See also the recommendations at the CABF web site.

Brandon and the Bipolar Bear - Tracy Anglada
A story for pre-adolescent children with bipolar disorder. Anglada has also written other books for children with bipolar disorder, and their friends and family. Highly recommended for parents.

Book Web Site.

New Hope for Children and Teens with Bipolar Disorder: Your Friendly, Authoritative Guide to the Latest in Traditional and Complementary Solutions - Boris Birmaher
Paperback, Three Rivers Press, 2004, 368 pages. ISBN: 0761527184. Read the Blurb. A BPSO Review here!

Eli, The Bipolar Bear - Sharon Bracken
Hardback, Child Heroes Publishing, 2009, 32 pages. ISBN: 978-0974656823. Read the Blurb. Book Web Site.

The Life of a Bipolar Child: What Every Parent and Professional Needs to Know - Trudy Carlson
Benline Press, 2000 ISBN: 096424437-3. Book Web Site.

Bipolar Kids: Helping Your Child Find Calm in the Mood Storm - Rosalie Greenberg, M.D.
Hardback, Da Capo Press, 2007, 294 pages. ISBN: 0738210803. Read the Blurb.

Is Your Child Bipolar? The Definitive Resource on How to Identify, Treat, and Thrive with a Bipolar Child. - Mary Ann McDonnell and Janet Wozniak
Hardback, Bantam, 2008, 336 pages. ISBN: 9780553805321.

Acquainted With the Night: A Parent's Quest to Understand Depression and Bipolar Disorder in His Children - Paul Raeburn
Hardback, Broadway, 2004, 320 pages. ISBN: 0767914376. Book Web Site.

If Your Child is Bipolar: The Parent-to-Parent Guide to Living with and Loving a Bipolar Child - Cindy Singer and Sheryl Gurrentz
Paperback, Perspective Publishing, 2003, 211 pages. ISBN: 1-930085-06-0. Book Web Site.

Bipolar Disorders: A Guide to Helping Children and Adolescents - Mitzi Waltz
Paperback, O'Reilly & Associates, 2000, 442 pages. ISBN: 1565926560.

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