Bipolar Disorder Recommended Books

Following are books that we highly recommend for people who want to learn more about Bipolar Disorder, and related issues. For more information on each book simply click on the Title link. Note, It may take a few seconds before a new web browser window opens on your computer with the book information. Your support in purchasing books through the links below would be greatly appreciated as it helps cover this web site's operating costs. Please tell friends who might benefit from this list of books to visit our web site too. For those who don't have computer access, please print out a copy of this page and give it to them - Thank you.

Introductory Books on Bipolar Disorder

Dr. E. Fuller Torrey's book "Surviving Manic Depression (Bipolar Disorder)" is an book we highly recommend for every family affected by Bipolar Disorder. Dr. Torrey is a leader in the Bipolar Disorder research field, and in writting this book he has drawn from extensive personal, clinical and research experience. To listen to a speech by Dr. Torrey: "The Mental Illness System: How it Broke and How to Fix It."

Surviving Manic Depression (Bipolar Disorder): A Manual for Families, Consumers, and Providers (1st Edition) by E. Fuller Torrey & Michael B. Knable (Authors), Publisher: Basic Books; 1st edition (January 8, 2002), ISBN: 0465086632

I am Not Sick, I Don't Need Help! - Helping the Seriously Mentally Ill Accept Treatment by Xavier Amador, Anna-Lica Johanson (Contributor), Publisher: Vida Press; (June 2000) ISBN: 0967718902 - This book helps you learn what the latest research says about why so many do not believe they are ill, why they refuse treatment, and how you can help. The book is written for families and therapists. This book is also available in Spanish (see directly below)

No Estoy Enfermo! No Necesito Ayuda! by Dr. Xavier Amador, with Anna-Lisa Johanson.

View a video presentation by Dr. Amador about his book "I am Not Sick! I Don't Need Help!"

Day-to-Day Coping Strategies for Families

After a family has learned the basics about Bipolar Disorder in the "Introductory" books above, we recommend the following books be read for ideas and suggestions on how to deal with the many unique, day-to-day challenges that you'll face when trying to help and live with a mentally ill person. "Adamec, herself the mother of a schizophrenic daughter, presents a handbook for developing daily coping and caregiving skills. Not intended to describe, diagnose, or treat any particular mental illness, this book instead advises the caregiver on how to balance the needs of the family as a whole and suggests strategies for dealing effectively with common and serious symptoms (e.g., hallucinations, poor hygiene) and situations (e.g., refusals to take medication, disagreements between the caregiver and doctors or therapists).

Surviving Mental Illness: Stress, Coping, and Adaptation by Agnes B. Hatfield, Harriet P. Lefley, John S. Strauss, Publisher: Guilford Press; (May 21, 1993) ISBN: 0898620228

Other very good books in this area:

How to Live With a Mentally Ill Person: A Handbook of Day-To-Day Strategies by Christine Adamec, D. J. Jaffe, Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; (April 1996) ASIN: 0471114197

When Someone You Love Has a Mental Illness: A Handbook for Family, Friends, and Caregivers, by Rebecca Woolis, Agnes Hatfied, Publisher: J. P. Tarcher; (September 1992) ISBN: 0874776953

Overcoming Depression, 3rd edition by Demitri Papolos, Publisher: Quill; 3rd edition (February 1997), ISBN: 0060927828

Bipolar Disorder & Related Medications (Antipsychotics)

The following book is a good guide to psychiatric drugs that has been popular with patients and families since the first edition was published in 1990. It includes not only a summary of each drug used for all the major psychiatric disorders, but also chapters on issues such as "Sex and psychiatric drugs", "Psychiatric drugs and pregnancy", etc.

The Essential Guide to Psychiatric Drugs : Includes The Most Recent Information On: Antidepressants, Tranquilizers and Antianxiety Drugs, Antipsychotics, Drugs annd Pregnancy, Drugs and the Elderly, Drugs and AIDS, Side-effects and Withdrawal Symptoms, and Much, Much More by Jack M., M.D. Gorman, Publisher: St. Martin's Press; (December 1998), ISBN: 0312954581

Peter Weiden's book on anti-psychotic medications provides a good overview of most of the medications that you'll likely run into when you have a family member with Bipolar Disorder. It is written for family members so it is a book that anyone can read and get value from. The key drawback of the book is generally perceived to be its uncritical enthusiasm for the newer drugs and the implicit assumption that all people with Bipolar Disorder should be switched to newer medications. As has become increasingly clear, the more recently-introduced drugs also have many problems and side-effects.

Breakthroughs in Antipsychotic Medications: A Guide for Consumers, Families, and Clinicians. by Peter J. Weiden (Editor), Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company; (May 1999) ISBN: 0393703037

Consumer's Guide to Psychiatric Drugs, by John D. Preston, John H. O'Neal, Mary C. Talaga, Publisher: New Harbinger Pubns; (2000) ASIN: 157224111X

Better Than Prozac: Creating the Next Generation of Psychiatric Drugs by Samuel H. Barondes. Publisher: Oxford University Press; (May 1, 2003). ISBN: 0195151305

Book Review, excerpted from Columbia College Today, Sept. 2003 issue:

Barondes shares his firsthand experiences working with patients suffering from mental disorders and with the process of drug development. He also traces the history of psychiatric drugs and explains the role that accidents played in the discovery of their surprising therapeutic properties… By considering the history of psychiatric drugs and their current application, Barondes points out the limitations and negative side effects of today's drugs and shows how new research, especially in the field of genetics, will allow for a new generation of superior drugs. Better Than Prozac accomplishes the tough task of presenting a complex, scientific topic in an easy-to-read book that is as historical in its scope as it is medical.

View a presentation by author Samuel Barondes on his book "Better than Prozac."

Bipolar Disorder and Legal Issues

The Northumberland Nightmare: When Justice Ignores Mental Illness - by Jr. Paul L. Wegkamp, Paperback: 289 pages , Publisher: Infinity Publishing; (January 28, 2004)
ISBN: 0741418479

For more information on this book see the web site:

This is a true account of the horror the family went through, from the whirlwind moment of dealing with the unexpected diagnoses of Bipolar Disorder of their son Chad who was in college. The arrest and mistreatment, stigma and ignorance, withheld medical treatment and refusal of bond to the extent of outright blackmail each time the father attempted to file a complaint of his sons treatment from the local law enforcement. Paul Wegkamp's choice to include Nightmare in the title of his book speaks volumes. A nightmare indeed! Sadly, one many of us know of all to well and for those of us who have been lucky enough not to know, this book is a good "wakeup call" of the injustice so many suffering with mental illness endure.

In the appendix of the book many helpful resources are listed including two pages on "Resources and Alternatives for Judges and Lawyers."

For more information on the effects of the legal system on patients, listen to a radio report: "Jailing the Mentally Ill"

Financial Planning with a Mentally ill Child

The following book may be out of print - but used copies are frequently available on the Amazon site, as well as elsewhere. You might also try your local libraries to see if they have a copy.

Planning for the Future: Providing a Meaningful Life for a Child With a Disability After Your Death by L. Mark Russell (Editor), Publisher: Amer Pub Co; Revised edition, ASIN: 0963578006

Housing and Accomodation for the Mentally Ill

Highland Road; is written by a respected New York Times reporter who spent two years hanging around a group home for mentally ill, on Long Island, NY. E.Fuller Torrey suggests that "Perhaps the book's greatest contribution is to illustrate that individuals with Bipolar Disorder need more support, and people who believe in them. A good group home, such as Winerip is describing, provides those things and is an optimal living situation for many people with this diagnosis."

9 Highland Road: Sane Living for the Mentally Il by Michael Winerip, Publisher: Vintage Books; Reprint edition (June 1995) ISBN: 0679761608

For more information on housing for people with brain diseases, listen to the NPR Report: Housing for the Mentally Ill.


Books for Brothers and Sisters, and Sons and Daughters of People with Bipolar Disorder

The Skipping Stone is a highly-recommended book that is a summary of 100 interviews done with family members of individuals with a serious mental illness documenting the effect on the siblings, spouses, grandparents, and children of affected individuals. Victoria Secunda's book is also on the impact of Bipolar Disorder on siblings is extremely valuable for parents and family members to help understand the affect of one person's mental illness on children and others in the family. We recommend "When Madness Comes Home" for both parents and the adult children that have come from homes where one sibling or parent has had Bipolar Disorder. The other books are some good personal accounts of growing up with siblings or parents with Bipolar Disorder and include many lessons that others in similar situations can learn from.

The Skipping Stone: The Rippling Effect of Mental Illness in the Family by Mona Wasow, Publisher: Science & Behavior Books; (July 1995) ASIN: 083140082X, (This book is out of print but may be available in used book stores and in your local library).

When Madness Comes Home: Help and Hope for the Children, Siblings, and Partners of the Mentally Ill by Victoria Secunda, Publisher: Hyperion (Adult Trd Pap); Reprint edition (August 1998) ASIN: 078688326X

Listen to a radio interview with author Victoria Secunda

Hidden Victims - Hidden Healers: An Eight Stage Healing Process for Family and Friends of the Mentally Ill, By Julie Johnson, Publisher: P E M A Pubns Inc; 2nd edition (July 1994)
ISBN: 0964043009

Troubled Journey: Coming to Terms with the Mental Illness of a Sibling or Parent by Diane T Marsh, PhD, and Rex M. Dickens. Publisher: Putnam Pub Group; (June 1, 1997). ASIN: 0874778751

My Sister's Keeper: Learning to Cope with a Sibling's Mental Illness by Margaret Moorman, Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company; (February 2002) ISBN: 0393324044

Mad House: Growing Up in the Shadow of Mentally Ill Siblings by Clea Simon, Publisher: Penguin USA (Paper); (May 1998) ISBN: 0140274340

Chidren's Books on Mental Illness/Bipolar Disorder

The following books are books written for younger audiences (Children between ages of approximately 7 to 13 years old) who are trying to understand mental illness in their family. Other sources for these books may be the local library.

Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry by Bebe Moore Campbell. Publisher: Putnam Publishing Group; (September 1, 2003)
ISBN: 0399239723.

Book Review, excerpted from Children's Literature:

Our appealing young narrator struggles to understand her mother's unpredictable behavior. Sometimes she is smiling so Annie goes happily off to school with her friends. But then Annie may come home to find an angry face on a shouting, frightening mother. Fortunately she has a grandmother who helps her cope. From her and from her friends Annie can "find sunshine" in her mind. Without being didactic, the story presents the all-too-common mentally ill parent in a way to help a child and her friends understand. Lewis [illustrator] visualizes this emotional drama with naturalistic watercolor portraits of the players in settings that begin bright and sunny but emphasize shadows when Mommy is upset…An introductory "Author's Note" gives further details on mental illness and coping strategies. Ages 5 to 9
--Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz

Listen to a radio interview with author Bebe Moore Campbell

Catch a Falling Star, the first book in the "Iris the Dragon" series for children with brain disorders. Available from the publisher's website (Iris the Dragon).

About the book (from publisher's website):

Catch a Falling Star is a children’s illustrated book that attempts to bring the topic of mental illness to the general public through the non-threatening genre of the fairy tale...[it]has been endorsed by the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) and other renowned doctors in the field such as Simon Davison, Chief of Psychiatry at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and Dr. Peter S. Jensen, Director for the Center for the Advancement of Children’s Mental Health.

Edward the Crazy Man written and illustrated by Marie Day. Available from the publisher's website (Annick Press).

About the book (from publisher's website):

Edward the “Crazy Man” is a touching, funny, and humane tale of one boy’s efforts to help one man and change perceptions about homelessness and Bipolar Disorder...Says the Canadian Mental Health Association, "Parents and educators alike will be impressed by a new children's book that destigmatizes mental illness."

How to Be a Real Person (In Just One Day) by Sally Warner. Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; 1st ed edition (February 13, 2001). ISBN: 0375904344

Editorial Review (excerpted from Booklist):

Every morning, Kara tries to look like a "real" California sixth grader. With teeth brushed and clothes nearly matched, she just might pull it off--as long as Mr. Benito doesn't notice her shattering grades. But homework is the least of Kara's worries. For months, she's been juggling dangerous secrets. Her father is gone and her mother is drowning in mental illness. Everything depends on Kara. Warner expertly captures the crippling side effects of mental illness in this brave, troubling novel that offers no simple solutions. Some children will see only a riveting, well-crafted story; others will find a glimmer of hope and the inspiration to reach out for help. For grades 5-8.

Crazy Quilt by Jocelyn Riley, Publisher: Bantam Books; Reprint edition (April 1986) ASIN: 0553256408 (Out of Print)

Only My Mouth Is Smiling by Jocelyn Riley, Publisher: William Morrow; (March 1982) ASIN: 0688010873 (Out of Print)

More Advanced Books on Bipolar Disorder

These books cover the science, biology and genetics of brain disorders. "Nature via Nurture", while not specifically a book about Bipolar Disorder. Overall, the book is a well-written and very enjoyable book about the interplay of genes and environment in human development. Dr. Nancy Andreason's books are good in-depth college-level books covering Bipolar Disorder by a leading researcher.

Nature Via Nurture : Genes, Experience, and What Makes Us Human by Matt Ridley (Author), Publisher: HarperCollins; (April 29, 2003) ISBN: 0060006781

Watch a presentation by author Matt Ridley on his book.

Psychiatric Genetics and Genomics by Peter McGuffin (Editor), Michael J Owen (Editor), Irving I Gottesman (Editor), Publisher: Oxford University Press; (December 2, 2002), ISBN: 0192631489

Brave New Brain: Conquering Mental Illness in the Era of the Genome by Nancy C. Andreasen, Publisher: Oxford University Press; (April 2001) ISBN: 0195145097 (HARDCOVER) "Excellent introductions to neuroscience, brain imaging, and genetics. Outstanding overviews of what is known about the neuroscience and genetics of the major psychiatric disorders of Bipolar Disorder, mood disorders, dementia, and anxiety disorders. The descriptions of the history and neuroscience of medication are especially good."--Nature

Brave New Brain: Conquering Mental Illness in the Era of the Genome by Nancy C. Andreasen , Publisher: Oxford University Press; (February 2004), ISBN: 0195167287, (SOFTCOVER)

Listen to a radio interview with author and researcher Dr. Nancy Andreason

The Broken Brain by Nancy C. Andreasen (Author), Publisher: Perennial; Reprint edition (November 1985) ISBN: 0060912723 (Note: this is an old book -- over 15 years old -- and should only be referenced if the more recent books listed above are not available).

Professional Books on Bipolar Disorder and Psychiatric Drugs

Psychiatric Genetics and Genomics by Peter McGuffin (Editor), Michael J Owen (Editor), Irving I Gottesman (Editor), Publisher: Oxford University Press; (December 2, 2002), ISBN: 0192631489

Handbook of Psychiatric Drugs, 2004 Edition by Lawrence J., Md Albers, Lawrence J. Albers, Christopher Reist, Rhoda K Hahn, Rhoda K. Hahn, Paperback: 109 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.25 x 6.75 x 4.00, Publisher: Current Clinical Strategies; Revised and Updated edition (April 2003), ISBN: 1929622392

Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Patients with Bipolar Disorder by American Psychiatric Association, APA, Publisher: Amer Psychiatric Pr; 1st edition (January 15, 1997) ISBN: 0890423091. Developed by experts on Bipolar Disorder and exhaustively reviewed by APA members, the American Psychiatric Association Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients With Bipolar Disorder provides therapists with a set of patient care strategies that will aid their clinical decision making. Note: This publication is usually available on-line for free at:

Serious Mental Illness and the Family: The Practitioner's Guide by Diane T. Marsh, Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (October 2, 1998) ISBN: 0471181803

Schizophrenia and Mood Disorders: The New Drug Therapies in Clinical Practice By Peter F. Buckley (Editor), John L. Waddington (Editor), Publisher: Edward Arnold; 1st edition (February 15, 2000) ISBN: 0750640960

Insight and Psychosis by Xavier F. Amador (Editor), Anthony S. David (Editor), David Amador, Publisher: Oxford University Press; (January 1998) ISBN: 0195084977

Distinguishing Psychological From Organic Disorders: Screening for Psychological Masquerade by Robert L., Md. Taylor, Publisher: Springer Pub Co; 2nd edition (July 15, 2000) ISBN: 082611329X

The Bipolar Disorders: A Biological Approach to the Bipolar Disorder Spectrum Disorders (Springer Series on Psychiatry) by Mary Coleman, Christopher Gillberg, Publisher: Springer Pub Co; (September 1996) ASIN: 0826192904

Genetics and Mental Illness: Evolving Issues for Research and Society by Laura Lee Hall (Editor), Publisher: Plenum Pr; (January 1996) ISBN: 0306451662


Bipolar Disorder in Society - Homelessness, poverty and other problems

Books that cover Bipolar Disorder and poverty and homelessness:

The Invisible Plague: The Rise of mental Illness from 1750 to the Present by E. Fuller Torrey, Judy Miller, Publisher: Rutgers University Press; 1st edition (January 10, 2002) ISBN: 0813530032

Out of the Shadows : Confronting America's Mental Illness Crisis by E. Fuller Torrey (Author), Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 2nd edition (March 1998) ISBN: 0471245321

Madness in the Streets : How Psychiatry and the Law Abandoned the Mentally Ill by Rael Jean Isaac, Virginia C. Armat, Publisher: Treatment Advocacy Center; (August 1, 2000) ISBN: 0967993903

Street Crazy : America's Mental Health Tragedy by Stephen B. Seager, Publisher: Westcom Press; (November 30, 2000) ISBN: 0966582772

Good books for High School Students doing reports on Bipolar Disorder



Disclaimer: The Bipolar Focus website provides information about bipolar disorder to interested viewers. This information is not a guide for patient treatment, nor is it meant to provide a substitute for professional advice about medical treatment of the disorder by a licensed physician or clinician. No medical advice is given, nor is any provided on or distributed from this website. Users interested in medical advice or treatment must consult a licensed practitioner. No doctor-patient relationship is created through the use of this web site.    

Copyright 1996-2006. Bipolar Focus - at - also, All Rights Reserved.