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Recommended Books on Bipolar

Looking for a book to help you or a loved one better understand bipolar disorder (also called manic depression)? We recommend the following:

Madness: A Bipolar Life


By the author of the groundbreaking memoir Wasted about her struggle with eating disorders written nearly a decade ago, Marya Hornbacher is back. This time with a look at her struggle with bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression) in her new book, Madness: A Bipolar Life. It is a lively biographical tale following the author’s life from age 4 to the present, and all of the stories that she believes related to her bipolar disorder. Ms. Hornbacher’s writing style is raw and in-the-moment, and she doesn’t mince words with very detailed descriptions of her thinking, feelings and behaviors — some of which may be too much for readers easily triggered.

Read our full review here

Manic: A Memoir


While living a Jackie Collins-like lifestyle as a Beverley Hills entertainment lawyer to the stars, she endures ECT without anaesthetic (and bit half her tongue off), a brutal night in jail, two suicide attempts with dramatic rescues, a severe eating disorder, and a glamorous romance ended with the cruel statement, “I would marry you in a minute, if it wasn’t for the manic depression.” There’s much more, too. The first chapter comes on strong, reeling with an overabundance of intense action. Surely some is embellishment?

Read our full review here

Bipolar Disorder for Dummies, 3rd Ed.

Bipolar for Dummies, 3rd Ed.

Some people may find it off-putting to buy a “Dummies” book on a health or mental health concern. “How can they talk about such a serious condition in this sort of do-it-yourself book?”

But that’s exactly the point — and the beauty — of the latest edition of Bipolar Disorder for Dummies by board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Candida Fink and Joe Kraynak, MA. It’s a book primarily meant for those diagnosed with bipolar disorder for the first time. The third edition has been revised to include new medications and the new symptom criteria used to diagnose this condition, among other changes and updates.

Read our full review here

New Hope For People With Bipolar Disorder

New hope for people with bipolar disorder

Sometimes a book with multiple authors can be a train wreck. This is not one of those books, as each author brings a unique and valuable perspective to helping people understand bipolar disorder, a disorder that as it gains more press attention, also gains a lot more misconceptions. Together the three authors write a comprehensive, everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about bipolar disorder book. The book starts out with many vignettes of famous people who’ve had to grapple with bipolar disorder and depression, some of whom are interviewed for the book. And it gets better from there…

Read our full review here

An Unquiet Mind

An unquiet mind

In Touched with Fire, Kay Redfield Jamison, a psychiatrist, turned a mirror on the creativity so often associated with mental illness. In this book she turns that mirror on herself. With breathtaking honesty she tells of her own manic depression, the bitter costs of her illness, and its paradoxical benefits: “There is a particular kind of pain, elation, loneliness and terror involved in this kind of madness…. It will never end, for madness carves its own reality.” This is one of the best scientific autobiographies ever written, a combination of clarity, truth, and insight into human character. “We are all, as Byron put it, differently organized,” Jamison writes. “We each move within the restraints of our temperament and live up only partially to its possibilities.”

However, beware that it’s not a typical story of someone suffering from bipolar disorder (manic depression). Jamison lives in an upper-class world not occupied by most of us, and so some of her struggles may be a little more difficult to relate to. But a fascinating story nonetheless.

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Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for Patients and Families

Bipolar disorder guide

In this book for persons with bipolar disorder and their families, Dr. Frank Mondimore offers a comprehensive and compassionate guide to the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and causes of this potentially devastating psychiatric illness, formerly known as “manic-depression.” He offers practical advice for getting the most out of the various treatments that are now available – from medication, psychotherapy, and electroconvulsive treatment to new approaches such as transcranial magnetic stimulation. For each, he discusses advantages, disadvantages, side effects, and other information to help patients make informed decisions about treatment options. He also describes what it is like to live with bipolar disorder and discusses how lifestyle changes can improve quality of life. Throughout, he focuses on the importance of building a support system, of planning for emergencies, and of giving one’s self permission to seek help.

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Living Without Depression and Manic Depression: A Workbook for Maintaining Mood Stability

Living without depression and manic depression workbook Those affected with depressive and manic depressive disorders can live fairly normal lives with proper treatment. But what about exercises and things a person can do to help themselves improve? This book provides self-help tips to supplement treatment programs, providing encouragement for self-advocacy and including recommendations for support and self-help therapy. From minimizing negative influences from the past to using peer counseling effectively, this workbook is packed with tips and exercises. As such, it is best recommended for someone who is interested in taking active involvement in their treatment and wants to do as much as possible to help themselves.

Learn more at

Want more book suggestions?

Check out our list of depression book reviews here.

Recommended Books on Bipolar

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder & CEO of Psych Central. He is an author, researcher and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues -- as well as the intersection of technology and human behavior -- since 1992. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member and treasurer of the Society for Participatory Medicine. He writes regularly and extensively on mental health concerns, the intersection of technology and psychology, and advocating for greater acceptance of the importance and value of mental health in today's society. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2016). Recommended Books on Bipolar. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 28, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 17 May 2016
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 17 May 2016
Published on Psych All rights reserved.