Bipolar disorder, or manic-depressive episodes, is a mental health condition that is characterized by extreme mood swings that alternate between mania or emotional highs and depression or emotional lows. The timings are unpredictable and cannot be defined by the treating doctor. Manic depression can be followed by a long lull period. The frequency and intensity of the problem also depend on various intrinsic and extrinsic factors. While some individuals have only rare episodes of manic depression, others are prone to multiple outbursts in a year during their lifetime.
It is a lifelong condition but there are many scientific tools to help you manage your life better and live more productively. Psychotherapy and medication form part of the treatment plan that can help to curb recurrences.
The following books on the subject can be important buys to understand the nuances of the illness better.
1) The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: What You and Your Family Need to Know
Author: David J. Miklowitz
Print Length: 444 pages
Publisher: The Guilford Press
The book contains proven strategies for managing bipolar illness. Learn specific steps to cope with mood episodes, reduce relapse, avoid misdiagnosis, maximize the benefits of available treatments, resolve family conflicts, and modify lifestyle to stay well. The third edition has new chapters that throw important information about the latest facts on medications and therapy, and expanded coverage of the bipolar II subtype. The book also contains a separate section that features boxes on complementary and alternative treatments.
2) An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
Author: Kay Redfield Jamison
Print Length: 224 pages
Dr. Jamison is one of the foremost authorities on bipolar disorder, more so because she was a patient herself. While she was pursuing a career in academic medicine, she found herself succumbing to the same highs and catastrophic lows that afflicted her patients. Inexplicably, she found herself in an emotional whirlpool that was characterized by violent outbursts, refusal to take medication, and ruinous spending sprees. She recalls how her case was so bad that she was driven to attempt suicide once.
Coming from an authority with first-hand experience is relatable to many. Jamison explores bipolar illness from the dual perspectives of the healer and the healed. The book is a bold memoir that outlines the author’s struggles with the illness and her eventual victory over the ever-so-powerful forces of the disorder that takes a person down in a spiral. A deeply powerful book that has both transformed and saved lives.
3) The Concise Guide To Bipolar Disorder
Author: Francis Mark Mondimore
Print Length: 240 pages
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
A diagnosis per se should not be earth-shattering. The author states with authority that irrespective of the devastating nature of the illness, it is very much controllable and treatable. However, you should be turning to the right sources for timely intervention. Correct information and advice lie at the crux of the matter — does not matter if you or anybody close to you is diagnosed with the disorder.
The book serves as an indispensable guide to anyone looking for information on the subject. Dr. Mondimore is a leading psychiatrist who draws heavily from his case studies and experience in handling clinical patients. He goes on to explain what bipolar is, and what can be done to live a balanced life with the disorder. A combination of medications, therapy, a kind and supportive network, and medical care can play a significant part in patient recovery.
The Guide is an excellent up-to-date resource for the newly diagnosed or those seeking answers to frequently asked questions regarding the disorder (mostly caregivers and loved ones). It is important to learn to live with bipolar without becoming its victim.
4) Madness: A Bipolar Life
Author: Marya Hornbacher
Print Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Mariner Books
A moving memoir, penned by the Pulitzer Prize-nominated author, Marya Hornbacher, who has herself been diagnosed with the most severe form of bipolar disease.
She goes on to elucidate that the illness can trigger a chain of debilitating problems ranging from chronic eating disorders to substance abuse, promiscuity, and self-mutilation. She recalls how the beginning of her problems could be traced to her childhood — when she was just a child of four.
The book is a vivid description of the author’s struggles with her own violently careening mood swings, and her powerful will to survive the odds and live a beautiful life despite what would appear to many — a rather bizarre life beset with difficulties and opponent forces creating a certain madness which could have all but destroyed her. The book is a brave and heart-stopping memoir that should inspire millions troubled with the illness.
5) The Bipolar Workbook: Tools For Controlling Your Mood Swings
Author: Monica Ramirez Basco, Ph.D.
Print Length: 237 pages
Publisher: The Guilford Press
The science-based tools mentioned in the book have benefited tens of thousands of readers who were diagnosed with the disorder. Let not the condition rule your life. Dr. Monica Ramirez Basco throws light upon the nature of the illness and helps you recognize the early warning signs of your mood swings through her book.
The exercises outlined in the book help you identify your own triggers, vulnerabilities, and strengths. Master the essential skills that will prevent you from slipping into manic-depressive episodes. Simultaneously, you will learn the key strategies to manage daily stressors, solve problems, and make healthy decisions. The practical workbook will handhold you through the process of implementing the techniques in real-life scenarios.