Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that can be difficult to understand and treat.
If you or someone you know is struggling with bipolar disorder, it can be helpful to read about the experiences of others who have been through it.
These 20 books offer an insight into bipolar disorder from a variety of perspectives, and can provide some much-needed tools, support, and understanding.
Written by: Kay Redfield Jamison
Creativity and mental illness have long been intertwined. Since ancient times, people with mental illness have been considered creative or inspired. In fact, the terms “manic” and “depressive” come from the world of medicine, where they were once used to describe different phases of bipolar disorder.
Despite this long history, there is still a lot of stigmatism around mental illness—particularly when it comes to creativity and reality. In this book, Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison challenges this idea, arguing that there is a powerful connection between mental illness and creativity.
Drawing on her personal experience and decades of scientific research, Jamison makes a compelling case for understanding and embracing this way of thinking.
Written by: David D. Burns, MD
Published: 2012 (1980)
Although not explicitly focusing on bipolar disorder, this guide has helped people who have dealt with so many issues that it is beneficial. Dr. Burns specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
This type of therapy is based on the theory that our thinking patterns play a significant role in how we feel emotionally. This distorted thinking leads to negative emotions, and this can become a vicious cycle.
As you can notice and combat these negative thoughts, patients have reported feeling better and more optimistic about their lives.
Written by: Melody Moezzi
Born during the height of the Islamic Revolution to Persian parents, Moezzi suddenly started physical issues that no one could understand. Because loving people surrounded her, they filled her rooms with Hyacinths to help heal her.
However, things kept getting worse, and she was finally diagnosed with Bipolar order. She doesn't shy away from the tough stuff, delving into her hospitalizations, relationships, and self-harm. Even during all of this, her family wanted her to stay quiet because of the shame of mental illness.
She provides an honest and insightful look at what it's like to live with bipolar disorder.
Written by: Marya Hornbacher
The author previously published, Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia, and how she used everything you can think of from alcohol, drugs, and self-mutilation to ease the pain. However, this was before she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which changed her life.
In this book, Marya Hornbacher tells the story of her struggle with the other issues, and then bipolar disorder, and then treatment and how she controls it.
The book offers an insightful look into the challenges and triumphs of living with bipolar disorder. She does not shy away from the ups and downs of this mental health affliction.
Written by: Julie A. Fast and John D. Preston
If you are in a relationship with someone with bipolar disorder, you may feel isolated and alone. It can be challenging to understand what is going on with your partner and how to help them.
This book provides information on the different types of bipolar disorder, symptoms, treatment options, and tips for managing the illness. Last also addresses essential topics such as communication, coping skills, and maintaining healthy relationships.
If you are looking for guidance and support in your relationship with someone who has bipolar disorder, Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder is a valuable resource.
Written by: Jamie Lowe
This is a very different book from most on this list as it focuses on the medication Lithium, which is often used to control bipolar disorder. When Lowe was just 16 years old, she started hallucinating and having other issues.
In this book, she writes about how horrible events became and how Lithium helped her control them. She focuses on data and science by interviewing professionals and patients to determine how safe the drug is.
She even goes to Bolivia to see how it is minded and investigates other possible cures to find out as much as possible. It is one of the most original books we've seen in a long time.
Written by: David J. Miklowitz
If you have bipolar disorder or know someone who does, you know how challenging it can be to survive day-to-day. In this book, Miklowitz provides readers with tools and strategies for managing the symptoms of bipolar disorder and living a productive life.
This book offers everything from diagnosis and treatment options to coping strategies for everyday life. This updated version also has information on explaining your symptoms so that you won't be diagnosed.
It also has information for kids and teens dealing with this issue, medications, and more necessary information to help control this disorder. It was first released in 2002.
Written by: Natasha Tracy
Depression and bipolar disorder can be incredibly isolating. When you're in the grips of these illnesses, it feels like you're the only one going through them. Using her autobiography as a starting point, she delves into what it is like to think as a bipolar person, what medications helped or hurt her, and how to control your urges to hurt yourself or others.
Through her personal experiences, Tracy offers valuable insights for others living with mental illness. In this book, Natasha Tracy provides an honest and humorous look at what life is like living with these conditions.
The beauty of this book is that it can be for someone dealing with the issues or people they know, as it explains so much of the problem in such a beautiful format.
Written by: Aimee Daramus, PsyD
Family and friends may not realize that people with bipolar disorder can experience periods of mania, where they feel excessively happy or energetic, and periods of depression, where they feel unfortunate and hopeless.
In this book, Aimee Daramus provides an essential guide for families dealing with a loved one with bipolar disorder. She covers topics such as what bipolar disorder is, how it is diagnosed, and what treatments are available.
Instead of just using medications or forms, she discusses family-friendly events and other tools to help everyone cope and control this disorder.
Written by: Ellen Forney
This will be a little different from the other books on this list since it is done in the graphic novel style. Whether you're dealing with bipolar disorder yourself or know someone who is, this graphic novel by Ellen Forney is a must-read.
It's eye-opening and full of excellent advice, giving insight into what it's like to live with bipolar disorder daily. The illustrations make this an interesting book since you get to "see" what bipolar disorder is and how to deal with it looks like on the page.
It is both funny and serious at the same time, and the cartoons give an excellent visual look into her mind and her world.
Written by: Demitri Papolos and Janice Papolos
If you are the parent of a bipolar child, you know that there is no more significant challenge than raising a mentally ill youngster. This book provides hope, enlightenment, and support for parents who wish to help their children through bipolar disorder.
It explains what bipolar disorder is, how it manifests in children and the range of treatments available. Most importantly, it offers parents the understanding they need to cope with this challenging diagnosis and provide their children with the best possible care.
Written by two highly respected mental health professionals, this compassionate guidebook will be a valuable resource for anyone affected by bipolar disorder in childhood.
Written by: Terri Cheney
Terri Cheney knows all too well the highs and lows of bipolar disorder. In her book, she tells the story of her journey with bipolar disorder, from diagnosis to recovery. Through her stories of hope and healing, Cheney offers readers a unique glimpse into the mind of a person with bipolar disorder.
It was only as an adult that she could look back and see how horrible her childhood was and how it has affected her life. This raw, honest account shows the ups and downs of her life: From getting perfect grades to almost being kicked out of school, using sex, alcohol, or any means necessary to kill the pain, and so much more.
Her writing is powerful and insightful and will leave you feeling inspired to face your challenges with bipolar disorder head-on.
Written by: John Poehler
It's been said that love is a battlefield. John Poehler would amend that and add “The Mind is a battlefield.” For people dealing with bipolar disorder, this metaphor rings especially true. It's an exhausting and never-ending battle that takes a toll on our physical and mental health.
The great news Is that Poehler explains that by setting yourself up as a warrior, you can take it on and win. This includes standing up for yourself when dealing with doctors and other people telling you what to do. By applying his principles to your life, you will be amazed at how quickly things can change for the better.
So, start now and become the mighty master of your emotions!
Written by: Sheila Hamilton
The author noticed that her husband's behavior started to go awry at one point. Being a reporter, she decided to dig into what might be happening. As she got closer to the truth, it was too late: Her husband committed suicide just six weeks after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. His choice left behind a wife, a daughter, and grief and loss.
However, the end of this journey is only the beginning. She looks back at their relationship, from the first days until the last, and everything in between. She sees where signs were missed and how things could have been different.
This book is a powerful reminder of just how deadly this illness can be and why actions need to address it as quickly as possible.
Written by: William R. Marchand
While there is no cure for bipolar disorder, treatments can help manage the symptoms, such as therapy and medications. Those two are the most popular, but one treatment option that has been shown to be helpful for bipolar disorder is mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that helps you focus on the present moment and accept your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Research has shown that mindfulness can help improve moods in people with bipolar disorder and improve cognitive function and memory.
Mindfulness can be practiced at any time, and this can be a handy addition to your toolkit to control bipolar disorder. This is also great for people living with people with the same condition.
Written by: Francis Mark Mondimore, M.D.
This truly is a fantastic guide if you are trying to figure out what being bipolar means, what options are out there, and what is best for you and the ones you love. This book has many tried and proven ways to help reduce bipolar disorder, such as therapy and the expected medical and medications.
However, this guide goes well beyond them as it also examines Ketamine (a psychedelic medication), botanicals, and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). There is so much more than this book delves into that it is almost impossible to explain in a few paragraphs.
Trust us, no matter what you know about bipolar disorder, you'll learn something new even if you are a doctor or a psychiatrist.
Written by: Merryl Hammond, Ph.D.
This is a book unlike any other on this list. Why? Because the author seemed to have been struck by bipolar disorder at the age of 51. Instead of living an everyday life, she quickly became a patient at a hospital ward.
In it, she chronicles her journey from diagnosis to treatment and offers a rare glimpse into the mind of someone living with bipolar disorder. Hammond's writing is candid, giving readers a unique insight into the challenges and triumphs of managing bipolar disorder.
Despite the serious subject matter, Hammond's book is an uplifting and inspiring read for anyone struggling with mental illness.
Written by: Sheri Van Dijk MSW with a foreword by Zindel V. Segal, Ph.D.
If you're looking for a comprehensive guide to Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills for treating bipolar disorder, this book is an excellent resource. This book provides a clear and practical overview of how DBT can be used to address symptoms of mania and depression.
In addition to providing an overview of the theory and evidence behind DBT, the book includes exercises and worksheets to help readers practice critical skills.
Whether you're currently in therapy or exploring your treatment options, this workbook can help you take charge of your bipolar disorder and start feeling better.
Written by: Sheri Van Dijk MSW
You may notice that the same author writes this book as the book above on the list. There are so few books to help teens deal with bipolar disorder, so we thought it was that important.
We are told that we should not let our emotions run our lives. However, for many people, this is easier said than done. Teenagers are especially susceptible to letting their emotions get the best of them.
This workbook is full of activities, forms, and worksheets to help you identify issues and control them. By learning the skills outlined in van Dijk's book, teenagers can take control of their lives in the present and as they grow to be adults.
Written by: Bassey Ikpi
This book is a collection of essays by Bassey Ikpi, who was born in Nigeria and then moved to Oklahoma in the U.S. at the age of four. In these deeply personal pieces, she explores what it means to be honest with oneself and others while living with bipolar disorder. They include writings on when she slowly fell apart and was finally hospitalized.
With humor and grace, Ikpi unpacks the complex reality of mental illness and offers readers a nuanced look at the truths we all hold close to our hearts. No matter the situation, Ikpi's writing is vulnerable, raw, and always honest.
Unafraid to deal with the elephant in the room, she also openly examines how race, and gender, play out in the field of mental health. It is a powerful autobiography that everyone should read.