What to Buy Therapy Subscriptions & Telemedicine 13 Helpful Books About Bipolar Disorder The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: What You and Your Family Need to Know by David J. Miklowitz is geared toward helping the whole family survive and thrive By Michelle Pugle Michelle Pugle Facebook Instagram Website Michelle Pugle is a mental health writer and health news reporter featured in multiple digital publications. She also writes lived experience essays about anorexia, addiction and sobriety, and living well with fibromyalgia and CPTSD. She is the author of Ana, Mia & Me: An Eating Disorder Recovery Memoir, Space to Grow, Poems, and Disordered: You Are Not Crazy. Michelle holds a Master of Arts degree in Feminist Research, a double BA in Sociology and English, a diploma in Holistic Herbal Therapy, and training certifications in mental health first aid by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, Usui reiki, and suicide prevention. Her work translates the latest research into actionable tips that support people in making informed choices about their health. health's editorial guidelines and Tammy Worth Tammy Worth Tammy Worth is a freelance healthcare reporter with over 20 years of experience. Her work appears across several publications including The Economist, Bloomberg, Health, Leader’s Edge, WebMD, and KCPT, Kansas City’s public television station. health's editorial guidelines Updated on February 6, 2023 Medically reviewed by Jonathan B. Jassey, DO Medically reviewed by Jonathan B. Jassey, DO Jonathan B. Jassey, DO, is a private pediatrician at Bellmore Merrick Medical. Dr. Jassey also specializes in treating ADHD, anxiety, depression, OCD, autism and other mental health issues. learn more Fact checked by Richard Scherr Fact checked by Richard Scherr Rich Scherr is an updates strategist and fact checker for Dotdash Meredith brands, including Health and Verywell. He is a seasoned financial and technology journalist who served as editor-in-chief of the Potomac Tech Wire for nearly two decades, and is a regular contributor to the sports pages of The Baltimore Sun. He has also been a news editor for America Online and has contributed to the Associated Press and The Washington Post. health's fact checking process Share Tweet Pin Email In This Article View All In This Article How We Selected What to Know When to Speak to a Doctor Your Questions, Answered Who We Are We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more. Courtesy of Amazon / Photo Illustration by David Hattan for Health An estimated 4.4% of adults in the United States will experience bipolar disorder in their lifetime. While there are four types of bipolar disorders, experts agree they all have a serious impact on a person’s mood, energy, activity levels, and concentration. Specifically, bipolar disorder involves episodes of mania or less severe mania, known as hypomania. Understandably, these symptoms are not always easy to diagnose as bipolar, and they can make daily everyday tasks more challenging. “Books on bipolar disorder can help individuals who struggle with bipolar disorder or even with some symptoms of the disorder but who may not meet a full clinical diagnosis learn to cope with fluctuating emotions and learn to recognize when they may be entering a depressive or manic phase,” says Heidi Kar, PhD, MHS, principal advisor for mental health, trauma, and violence at the Education Development Center. During episodes of depression or mania, people with bipolar disorder may not feel motivated to read books about their condition. There are also shorter books and workbooks that may be better suited to people with bipolar disorder who experience concentration difficulties. Loved ones can show their support and work toward better acceptance and understanding by reading books about bipolar disorder, too. To help you begin, we’ve narrowed down the most helpful books about bipolar disorder. Our Recommendations Best Overall: The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: What You and Your Family Need to Know Third Edition Best Self-Help Guidebooks: The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook Best for Bipolar 1: Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament Best Memoir: An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness Best for Family and Friends: Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and Helping Your Partner (The New Harbinger Loving Someone Series) Best for Bipolar 2: Prozac Monologues: A Voice From the Edge Best for Humor: Wishful Drinking Best For Unspecified: Madness: A Bipolar Life Best for Creative Non-Fiction: Manic: A Memoir Best for Young Adults: Detour: My Bipolar Road Trip in 4-D Best for Parents: Positive Parenting for Bipolar Kids: How to Identify, Treat, Manage, and Rise to the Challenge Best Motivational: The Up and Down Life: The Truth About Bipolar Disorder--the Good, the Bad, and the Funny Best for Codependency: Am I Codependent? Best Overall: The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: What You and Your Family Need to Know Third Edition by David J. Miklowitz Amazon Buy on Amazon Why We Like It: It provides comprehensive and specific steps for the whole family on coping with and overcoming bipolar-related challenges. It’s Worth Noting: This book is on the longer side at nearly 450 pages. "The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: What You and Your Family Need to Know" by David J. Miklowitz, PhD, a professor of psychiatry in the division of child and adolescent psychiatry at the UCLA Semel Institute, focuses on helping people with bipolar disorder. In the third edition of his book, published in 2019, Miklowitz describes how to avoid misdiagnosis, come to terms with a bipolar diagnosis, recognize mood shifts and other symptoms, and get help. "He has provided patients and families with just the right psychoeducational tool," noted Frederick K. Goodwin, MD, the late director of the Center on Neuroscience, Medical Progress, and Society at George Washington University, in a review. You’ll learn ways to cope with sudden mood changes and relationship conflicts, avoid misdiagnosis, and design your lifestyle to reduce the impact of bipolar disorder. Price at time of publication: $17+Product Details: Type: Paperback, ebook, or hardcoverLength: 444 pages Best Self-Help Guidebooks: The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook by Matthew McKay, Jeffrey C. Wood, and Jeffrey Brantley Amazon Buy on Amazon Why We Like It: It’s a workbook, so you’ll have an easier time reading (or skipping) to the end. It’s Worth Noting: This is one of the more expensive options on the list. In "The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook," published in 2007, you’ll learn the basics of dialectical behavior therapy skills or DBT. You can use this book on your own at home or under the guidance of a mental health professional. Psychologist Gregory L. Jantz, PhD, author of "Healing Depression for Life," says most people with bipolar disorder won't finish reading books, so workbooks like this one may be a better option. Workbooks that stand alone without an accompanying book are best, he adds. “These types of books can help keep someone with bipolar disorder more engaged as it’s more interactive,” he says. Price at time of publication: $23Product Details: Type: Paperback workbookLength: 232 pages Best for Bipolar 1: Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, by Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD Amazon Buy on Amazon Why We Like It: It’s an exploratory view of how mental illness may present as genius or creativity in writers like Virginia Woolf and artists like Lord Byron. It’s Worth Noting: The way we talk about and understand bipolar disorder (formerly manic-depression) has changed considerably since this book was first written. In "Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament," originally published in 1993, Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins Medicine, looks at how the "artistic temperament" may be bipolar disorder. While not all artists and writers are bipolar, the disorder can sometimes act as both an inspiration and an impediment for those who are. And the characteristics of people who are sometimes deemed genius are often symptoms of mental illness. Price at time of publication: $16+Product Details: Type: Paperback, ebook, or hardcoverLength: 386 pages Best Memoir: An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD Amazon Buy on Amazon Why We Like It: It goes behind the scenes into the reality of living with bipolar disorder across decades. It’s Worth Noting: This is quite a raw depiction of a serious illness and may be particularly difficult for some readers who are new to bipolar. After publishing "Touched with Fire," Jamison started writing from a more personal perspective: her own. Now, her bestselling book, "An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness," details Jamison's 30-year struggle with bipolar disorder. It was published in 1995 after she got tenure. After being published, the book appeared on The New York Times best-seller list for five months and is available in 25 languages. “I’m a great admirer of Kay Jamison’s books and highly recommend this memoir of Dr. Jamison’s battle with her illness and coming to terms with the need for treatment to patients,” says Francis Mondimore, MD, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the founding director of the Mood Disorders Clinic at the Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, and author of "The Concise Guide to Bipolar Disorder." You can even snag the audiobook for free with a free trial of Amazon’s Audible. Price at time of publication: $13+ Product Details: Type: Paperback, ebook, hardcover, or audiobookLength: 224 pages Best for Family and Friends: Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and Helping Your Partner (The New Harbinger Loving Someone Series) by Julie A. Fast and John D. Preston Amazon Buy on Amazon Why We Like It: It’s written for an individual in a loving relationship with someone with bipolar disorder. It’s Worth Noting: The book mentions an updated section on medications for bipolar disorder, but your loved one may be on an even newer type of medication than those covered in the contents. In "Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and Helping Your Partner (The New Harbinger Loving Someone Series)" by Julie A. Fast and John D. Preston, published in 2012, loved ones learn how to recognize their partner’s symptom triggers and what makes their symptoms worse. While you may not always be able to identify symptom triggers ahead of time, knowing what to watch for does help. “Learn as much as possible about the disorder, its symptoms, and how it affects those suffering from it,” recommends Sanam Hafeez, a neuropsychologist and director of Comprehend the Mind. Price at time of publication: $11+ Product Details: Type: Paperback, ebook, or audiobookLength: 256 pages Best for Bipolar 2: Prozac Monologues: A Voice From the Edge by Willa Goodfellow Amazon Buy on Amazon Why We Like It: The book brings light to the problem of medical misdiagnosis and raises awareness about what living with bipolar 2 disorder looks like. It’s Worth Noting: This is not written from a medical perspective. "Prozac Monologues: A Voice From the Edge" by Willa Goodfellow, published in 2020, is partly a memoir about misdiagnosis and partly a practical guide for living with bipolar disorder. In essays, Goodfellow details antidepressant-induced hypomania. Goodfellow further discusses her experiences receiving the wrong medications, as well as her process of recovery. The author interlaces research with her own personal narrative to create an educational and enlightening read. You can also listen to this book for free with a free trial of Amazon’s Audible. Price at time of publication: $9+ Product Details: Type: Paperback, ebook, or audiobookLength: 216 pages Best for Humor: Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher Amazon Buy on Amazon Why We Like It: It offers a break from the long textbook-type books on bipolar disorder. It’s Worth Noting: Not everyone will find the humor in this memoir “funny.” In the memoir "Wishful Drinking," published in 2009, actor Carrie Fisher documents her struggles with troubled personal relationships, substance use disorder, and bipolar disorder. Fisher based the book (which is relatively short) on her tell-all stand-up routine, in which she caustically analyzed her life. The effect of Fisher's humor and insight "is extraordinarily painful while being extremely entertaining," noted Matthew Debord in a review for the Los Angeles Times. You can listen to this book for free with a free trial of Amazon’s Audible or read the ebook for free through a subscription to Kindle Unlimited. Price at time of publication: $11+ Product Details: Type: Paperback, ebook, hardcover, or audiobookLength: 176 pages Best For Unspecified Bipolar Disorder: Madness: A Bipolar Life by Marya Hornbacher Amazon Buy on Amazon Why We Like It: It’s a self-aware reflection on growing up with bipolar disorder. It’s Worth Noting: This can be a difficult read for those who are still trying to get an accurate diagnosis or who received a later diagnosis. In her memoir, The New York Times best-seller "Madness: A Bipolar Life," Marya Hornbacher examines the difficulties of mental illness. Hornbacher recounts having bipolar disorder symptoms from the time she was a toddler. Hornbacher spent her youth and teenage years experiencing substance use disorder, disordered eating, promiscuity, and self-harm. But Hornbacher did not receive a bipolar disorder diagnosis until her mid-20s. Price at time of publication: $12+ Product Details: Type: Paperback, ebook, hardcover, or audiobookLength: 320 pages Best for Creative Non-Fiction: Manic: A Memoir by Terri Cheney Amazon Buy on Amazon Why We Like It: The book’s narrative swings reflect the mood shifts that come with living with bipolar disorder. It’s Worth Noting: It isn’t the easiest book to follow along with. In The New York Times best-seller "Manic: A Memoir," published in 2008, Terri Cheney, a lawyer and mental health advocate, recounts her journey with bipolar disorder. Cheney describes disorienting, extreme mood shifts. Although Manic: A Memoir may be a slightly difficult read—the narrative jumps, much like her moods—the memoir offers a glaring, honest account of bipolar. Cheney moves from deep lows riddled with suicidal thoughts to highs filled with promiscuous behavior. Price at time of publication: $9+ Product Details: Type: Paperback, ebook, hardcover, or audiobookLength: 272 pages Best for Young Adults: Detour: My Bipolar Road Trip in 4-D by Lizzie Simon Amazon Buy on Amazon Why We Like It: It explains that a person can look like they have it all but still be missing crucial connections to others. It’s Worth Noting: This book isn’t exactly reflective of the bipolar spectrum. By 23, writer Lizzie Simon had graduated from Columbia University with a bright career ahead of her. All of that occurred even though Simon received a bipolar disorder diagnosis as an adolescent. In her book, "Detour: My Bipolar Road Trip in 4-D," published in 2003, Simon recalls her experiences as she travels, seeking other successful people with bipolar disorder to find a herd of her own. Price at time of publication: $15+ Product Details: Type: Paperback, ebook, or hardcoverLength: 224 pages Best for Parents: Positive Parenting for Bipolar Kids: How to Identify, Treat, Manage, and Rise to the Challenge by Janet Wozniak, MD and Mary Ann McDonnell, RN Amazon Buy on Amazon Why We Like It: It gives practical advice for parents from medical professionals. It’s Worth Noting: Bipolar symptoms can vary widely, and it may not always be possible to identify them based on a book’s description. In 2008, Janet Wozniak, MD, and Mary Ann McDonnell, RN, with Judy Fort Brenneman, released a guide for parents of children with bipolar disorder. The guide, titled "Positive Parenting for Bipolar Kids: How to Identify, Treat, Manage, and Rise to the Challenge" (originally published as "Is Your Child Bipolar?"), helps parents identify bipolar disorder symptoms. This book also helps parents communicate with teachers, doctors, and other caregivers and get the right diagnosis and treatment. "This unique approach demystifies the disorder, eases the apprehension that parents feel, and equips them to better work with the professionals who treat and educate their children," wrote Demitri F. Papolos, MD, and Janice Papolos, authors of "The Bipolar Child," in a review. Price at time of publication: $8+ Product Details: Type: Paperback, hardcover, and ebookLength: 384 pages Best Motivational: The Up and Down Life: The Truth About Bipolar Disorder--the Good, the Bad, and the Funny by Paul E. Jones Amazon Buy on Amazon Why We Like It: It’s infused with a sense of humor that helps readers continue along their journey in a positive way. It’s Worth Noting: This is one person’s account of how to thrive with bipolar disorder and may not be reflective of other people’s experiences. Paul E. Jones, a stand-up comedian and motivational speaker, received a bipolar disorder diagnosis in 2003. In his book, "The Up and Down Life: The Truth About Bipolar Disorder--the Good, the Bad, and the Funny," Jones uses humor to help people understand how to cope and succeed. Jones and his co-author, Andrea Thompson, uncover some of the common challenges people with bipolar disorders face and what to do. Also, Jones and Thompson offer clinical information and resources. Price at time of publication: $11+ Product Details: Type: Paperback or ebookLength: 256 pages Best for Codependency: Am I Codependent? by Dr. Gregory L. Jantz, Dr. Tim Clinton, and Ann McMurray Amazon Buy on Amazon Why We Like It: It offers a DIY approach to recognizing codependent relationship challenges that may occur in relationships with people who have bipolar disorder. It’s Worth Noting: This book is about codependency in general, not about codependency as it relates to caring about someone with bipolar disorder. Sometimes, family and friends need to seek help for codependency. Dr. Jantz explains that sometimes loved ones get trapped on the roller coaster of ups and downs and become codependent with the person experiencing bipolar disorder. “It's important to separate yourself from the dysfunction of bipolar disorder,” he says. To do this, he recommends families of patients read the short tip book he authored with Dr. Tim Clinton and Ann McMurray called "Am I Codependent?" published in 2019. The book is designed to help you break cycles of codependency. Price at time of publication: $5 Product details: Type: Paperback or ebookLength: 208 pages How We Selected We selected the best books based on expert recommendations and reviews. We interviewed psychologists, psychiatrists, medical doctors, and expert authors to compare their picks and determine the most helpful books about bipolar disorder. What to Know About Bipolar Books What to Look for in Books About Bipolar Disorder Overall, finding the right book on bipolar comes down to what you or your loved ones are most likely to read. For this reason, experts tend to suggest shorter books (around 200 pages rather than 300 to 400), workbooks, or guidebooks. Experts recommend you also look for books about bipolar disorder that include a comparison to borderline personality disorder and substance abuse disorders. “Drug abuse, borderline personality disorder, and bipolar disorder do have some overlapping symptoms and are, at times, confused for one another by individuals and/or less knowledgeable providers,” says Kar. Dr. Jantz highlights the importance of reading about bipolar in the context of other conditions. “You need clarity as there are other conditions that mirror bipolar disorder, such as borderline personality disorder (BPD).” When to Speak to a Doctor If you think you may have bipolar disorder, experts recommend connecting with a medical professional as soon as possible to discuss your symptoms. Dr. Hafeez says if someone is feeling depressed longer than they ever have and has manic periods, they should make an appointment with a psychiatrist who can evaluate their symptoms and gain an overview of what has been occurring in the patient's life. If you're struggling and your symptoms are getting worse as time goes by, you need to see a doctor explains Dr. Jantz. “We have episodes in our lives where things don't go our way, but we have resilience and can usually bounce back. If you are finding your sleep disrupted and it takes longer and longer for you to bounce back, that is a sign you need to seek treatment or re-evaluate your treatment plan,” he notes. Your Questions, Answered What are the four types of bipolar? The four types of bipolar disorder are bipolar 1 disorder, bipolar 2 disorder, cyclothymia disorder, and unspecified bipolar disorder. Bipolar 1 disorder is when someone experiences mania for at least a week or requires hospitalization due to manic symptoms. People with bipolar 1 disorder also experience depressive episodes lasting two or more weeks, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Bipolar 2 disorder is viewed as the less severe form of bipolar disorder. This doesn’t mean it’s less serious, only that symptoms of mania are less severe (i.e., hypomania). Cyclothymia or cyclothymic disorder is defined by recurrent hypomanic and depressive symptoms that are not so severe to count as clinical mania or clinical depression. Unspecified bipolar disorder is a bipolar disorder that doesn’t fit into the categories above. What are the major symptoms of bipolar? The major symptoms of bipolar are mania and depression. Mania symptoms include decreased need for sleep, increased energy or motivation, elevated mood to discomforting levels, irritability, anxiety, impulsivity or risky behavior, and racing thoughts. Depressive symptoms include sleeping difficulties (too little or too much), decreased energy and loss of interest, low mood and extreme sadness, decreased appetite, slowed thinking or movements, and feeling worthless, hopeless, and thoughts of suicide. Who We Are Tammy Worth is a freelance healthcare reporter with over 20 years of experience. Her work appears across several publications, including The Economist, Bloomberg, Health, Leader’s Edge, WebMD, and KCPT, Kansas City’s public television station. Michelle Pugle, MA, MHFA, is a journalist, author, and suicide prevention speaker featured in Healthline, Verywell Health, and Everyday Health. She is the author of "Ana, Mia & Me: An Eating Disorder Recovery Memoir," "Space to Grow: Poems," and "The Work: Best Lessons Learned in Trauma-Informed Therapy." Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Bipolar disorder. National Institute of Mental Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.