Books About Bipolar Disorder

Books about Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, or manic depression, is a mental health condition experienced by around seven million US adults annually, close to 3% of the adult population. Extreme mood swings between depression and mania (euphoria) characterize the disorder. It can confuse the individual and their families and sometimes take up to ten years to diagnose accurately.

Manic episodes manifest as high energy, elation, and intense enthusiasm. Depressive episodes can sink those with bipolar into periods of low energy and feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and despair. Both extremes can be exceedingly disruptive, negatively impacting functioning, coping, and relationships. 

Famous examples of people with bipolar include singers Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Mariah Cary, and Demi Lovato, actors Mel Gibson and Carrie Fisher, comedian Russel Brand, and author Ernest Hemingway. While these creatives demonstrate unique and outstanding talent, their journeys were or are often troubled.

Classifying Bipolar Disorder

Psychiatrists classify Bipolar as type I or type II. Both present with depressive episodes and periods of euthymia (a normal, calm mood or mental state) – when people with bipolar are symptom-free. 

Bipolar I is diagnosed based on extended bouts of severe mania, potentially including psychoses. These episodes may also have required emergency care or hospitalization. While sharing many traits, bipolar II presents with hypomania, a milder form of mania often found enjoyable when less debilitating.

Bipolar disorder is chronic with no known cure or specific identified cause. A combination of genetics, environmental, and biological factors seems to contribute. As a result, the complex and cyclic nature of the condition and educated assumptions around its roots make bipolar challenging to treat. Medically supervised therapies are essential, as they can significantly help control mood and symptoms and improve quality of life.

Treating Bipolar Disorder

Managing the disorder usually relies on a personalized combination of drugs such as mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and antidepressants, and psychotherapy such as individual, family, and peer-group talk therapy. Doctor-approved supplements used in addition to pharmaceuticals may also help relieve bipolar depression while boosting overall wellness to support treatment.

A valuable part of a holistic treatment plan also includes psychoeducation, which helps people with bipolar better understand their condition and symptoms. Knowledge and insight can help individuals recognize and identify mood change symptoms, helping them anticipate and address symptoms sooner and more successfully.

Psychoeducation for Bipolar Disorder

Physician-led bipolar psychoeducation is essential for optimized condition management and treatment. The approach provides the information and tools to live more productive and fulfilling lives. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), psychoeducation is associated with decreased risk of recurrence, depressive, manic or mixed episodes, and inpatient care. 

Psychoeducation is a form of cognitive-behavioral and dynamic psychotherapy. It includes information, skill training, and supportive and comprehensive models, each focusing on different elements of the therapy. 

The cognitive-behavioral and dynamic psychotherapy approach encompasses numerous aspects around the condition and managing it, including understanding bipolar, identifying triggers, managing medication, learning coping strategies, developing a support system, preventing relapse, managing lifestyle, and planning and setting goals.

Typically, a combination of media such as text content in magazines, pamphlets, books, audio-visual content, and online or interactive content provides education. It can be delivered face to face individually, within the family, in peer groups, or as self-study. 

Psychoeducation is usually an ongoing and flexible process adapted as needs change. Beyond informing and equipping the person with the necessary tools and techniques, more control over their condition boosts confidence and optimism. 

Along with formal psychoeducation for bipolar disorder, therapists, families, and those with the condition can access a wealth of information in books. Published works are available in print and electronically; for those unable or unmotivated to read books, more concise workbooks are also available. 

Why Read Books About Bipolar Disorder?

Reading about bipolar can help individuals, their families, friends, and colleagues learn more about the causes and symptoms of the disorder and ways to support themselves or those with bipolar. At the same time, with a wide choice of audio or visual bipolar information sharing, why read when you can watch or listen? 

In contrast to listening to medical professionals, seminars, and podcasts, reading about bipolar means you can read the content as fast or slow as needed. Also, having a mental illness such as bipolar can create difficulty and a battle to read, either through lack of motivation or ability to focus. 

However, counterintuitively, encouraging reading (and writing) can be a potent self-therapy for managing symptoms. These symptoms can include anxiety, low mood, and sadness. Reading is also ideal if you prefer or need to stay at home or in bed.

Reading may help by distracting people with bipolar from intrusive or distressing thoughts. It may also help reduce isolation through connection to and “social rapport” with the writer and lifting mood if the content is positive, encouraging, and motivating. 

It can also add awareness about conditions and the self, helping people with bipolar to develop a big-picture outlook and mindset. For those wanting to learn more about a loved one’s condition and challenges, reading about it, especially through engaging memoirs, can increase understanding and empathy.

Bibliotherapy for Bipolar Disorder

“Bibliotherapy” using directed reading has been part of the medical and psychotherapy repertoire and vocabulary since the mid-1960s. It achieves cognitive change, increases thought clarity, and manages individual and group challenges. According to the National Center of Biotechnology Information (NCBI), conservative book therapy can produce positive effects, regardless of the illness involved. 

Creative bibliotherapy uses fictional stories mirroring the patient’s situation to help them frame and address their own scenarios, such as substance abuse, grief, illness, or trauma. Prescriptive bibliotherapy relies on non-fictional or bibliographical content to educate, guide, and inspire anyone benefiting from insight and direction, including those with mental illness. 

Choosing Books About Bipolar Disorder 

Look for manageable books, including shorter works of around 200 pages, guidebooks, and workbooks. Alternatively, books can be tackled in bite-sized chapters.

It can also help to explore content that compares bipolar to other similar disorders with overlapping symptoms, such as borderline personality disorder (BPD) and substance abuse. Knowing more about these conditions can help provide clarity on your own experience. 

To make sourcing appropriate works easier, Health. Com has compiled a Medical Expert Board-reviewed list according to bipolar type. 

Recommendations include suggestions for various audiences, including therapists, self-help, the Youth, partners, parents, and families.

The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: What You and Your Family Need to Know Third Edition

Deemed best overall is The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: What You and Your Family Need to Know Third Edition. This revised third edition by Dr. David J. Miklowitz shares reliable strategies for supporting a loved one or managing the condition. The book details specific coping steps and downloadable practical tools to boost coping, resolve conflicts, and get the most out of treatments.

The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: What You and Your Family Need to Know
  • Miklowitz, David J. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 444 Pages - 02/21/2019 (Publication Date) - The Guilford Press (Publisher)

The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook

Those diagnosed with bipolar may find increased self-awareness and insight in The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook from Matthew McKay, Ph.D., Jeffrey C. Wood, PsyD, and Jeffrey Brantley, MD. The therapist-approved workbook offers practical DBT exercises, including learning and strengthening interpersonal effectiveness, DBT, mindfulness, emotion regulation, and more. 

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

Voted best for exploring bipolar I is Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament. This enduring favorite from Kay Redfield Jamison, author of the best-selling An Unquiet Mind, remains highly relevant. It is the definitive work on the surprising links between bipolar depression and creativity. 

Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament
  • New
  • Mint Condition
  • Dispatch same day for order received before 12 noon

Prozac Monologues: A Voice From the Edge by Willa Goodfellow

Prozac Monologues: A Voice From the Edge by Willa Goodfellow is ideal for bipolar II. Willa recounts her experience of antidepressant-induced hypomania, causing her to want to stab her doctor. Her informative and entertaining book within a book narrates her vacation nightmare of misdiagnosis, erroneous treatment, and recovery process. 

Prozac Monologues: A Voice from the Edge
  • Goodfellow, Willa (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 216 Pages - 08/25/2020 (Publication Date) - She Writes Press (Publisher)

Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and Helping Your Partner

Recommended as best for family and friends is Julie A. Fast and John D. Preston’s Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and Helping Your Partner. This enlightening yet practical work offers relevant and updated information, targeted strategies, and step-by-step advice for helping manage mood swings and impulsive behavior.  

Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and Helping Your Partner (The New Harbinger Loving Someone Series)
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Julie A. Fast (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Positive Parenting for Bipolar Kids: How to Identify, Treat, Manage, and Rise to the Challenge

For parents of children diagnosed with bipolar, suggests Positive Parenting for Bipolar Kids: How to Identify, Treat, Manage, and Rise to the Challenge. This invaluable resource from Mary Ann McDonnell, Janet Wozniak, and Judy Fort Brenneman offers “the definitive resource on how to identify, treat, and thrive with a bipolar child.”  

Positive Parenting for Bipolar Kids: How to Identify, Treat, Manage, and Rise to the Challenge
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • McDonnell, Mary Ann (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Detour: My Bipolar Road Trip in 4-D

Young adults with bipolar disorder may enjoy and benefit from Lizzie Simon’s Detour: My Bipolar Road Trip in 4-D. A Columbia University graduate, Lizzie was diagnosed with bipolar as an adolescent, reflecting her experience of looking like someone who has it all yet without vital connections to others. In her book, she takes young adults on her relatable travel journey to find a “herd of her own.”

Detour: My Bipolar Road Trip in 4-D
  • Simon, Lizzie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 06/18/2003 (Publication Date) - Atria Books (Publisher) selected books based on interviews, reviews, and recommendations from professionals, including psychiatrists, medical doctors, expert authors, and psychologists. Consultant experts include Heidi Kar, PhD, MHS, Gregory L. Jantz, PhD, Francis Mondimore, MD, and Sanam Hafeez, PsyD. 

In her memoir, bipolar author and clinical psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison reflected that “Time will pass; these moods will pass; and I will eventually be myself again.” Reading can help pass the time while easing some of the discomfort. However, when you can’t face reading or can’t focus for long enough, online content can also offer information and support.

Online Bipolar Disorder Resources 

Reputable and trusted organizations and websites where people with bipolar and their families can access the latest thought-leadership, insight, and help include the following:

For specific assistance, individuals can approach the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA). Beyond providing relevant content, opinions, and advice, many sites also offer tools to source appropriate medical professionals in your location or offer virtual therapy. 

Reading about your condition need not always be book-based. Professional and patient blogs and online bipolar communities can provide an invaluable source of comfort, support, and hope. You can try bpHope, Psych Education, or The Mighty

A Gentle Word of Caution

Books about bipolar and its management are informative, helpful, and often inspirational and encouraging. Still, only a qualified medical professional can diagnose and classify bipolar. If your or your loved one’s symptoms are disruptive or severe, please consult a doctor about identifying, understanding, and treating your condition. 

Leverage the Benefit of Books About Bipolar Disorder

One of the things so bad about bipolar disorder is that if you don’t have prior awareness, you don’t have any idea what hit you.” (Unknown). Instead, with books and other informative content about the illness, people with bipolar disorder and their families can be better prepared, equipped, and confident in anticipating and managing the condition. 

Disclaimer: Last update on 2024-07-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

This content is provided solely for educational reasons and should not be seen as medical guidance. It’s important to consult with a healthcare expert prior to making any changes to your health regimen, including dietary adjustments or the use of supplements.

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