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Books About Bipolar: Summer Reading Suggestions

It’s summer, and it’s high time for reading interesting books!

Whether you read during your lunch break, at the beach, in the park, or on a road trip, be sure to investigate some of these books about bipolar disorder.

Note: Some of these books may not be considered “light reading”.  

1)Madness: A Bipolar Life by Marya Hornbacher (@MaryaHornbacher)

Hornbacher’s account of bipolar symptoms since age four is heart-wrenching, provocative, and explicit.

Twenty years after she noticed something was wrong, after having written Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia, her issues began to come full circle.

She was diagnosed with Type I Rapid Cycle Bipolar Disorder, the illness in its most severe form.

In the book, she combats mood swings with substance abuse, self-starvation, sex, and self-mutilation.

Hornbacher juxtaposes this horror with the beauty of life and marriage that can surface even in darkest times of life.

This book delivers something important: Millions of Americans today live with bipolar disorder.

These Americans, like Hornbacher, may disguise their bipolar with other destructive behaviors and issues.

Type: Non-fiction, Personal Account

2)Manic: A Memoir by Terri Cheney

This is a tale of glamour and extremes.

Terri Cheney, a highly successful Beverly Hills entertainment lawyer, secretly hid her battle with bipolar disorder for years, trying desperately to appear “normal” among a judgmental LA culture.

The prose illustrates the wild highs and devastating lows of bipolar disorder.

From rich parties to nights in jail, from a suicide attempt fueled by drugs to her hypersexuality, Cheney is able to give a voice to the silent madness she has endured.

Cheney wanted to write what bipolar disorder felt like insider her body.

It is not clinical, it is not impersonal—it is a real, natural, gripping account of a woman’s bipolar life.

Type: Non-fiction, Personal Account  

3)An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison

Dr. Jamison is one of the foremost medical authorities on bipolar disorder, but more importantly, she has also experienced it firsthand.

While pursuing her career in academic medicine, Jamison found herself unable to control the highs and lows of bipolar.

Jamison writes from a unique perspective because she has the ability to explain the illness from the role of the healer and the healed.

It is beautifully written, well-informed, and wise—one of the most powerful books on bipolar disorder available.

Type: Non-fiction, Personal Account

4)Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and Helping Your Partner by Julie Fast (@JulieBipolar) and John D. Preston

This book is a great read for family members and spouses of those with bipolar, but those that live with the disorder can benefit from it, too.

Everyone that has been touched by bipolar knows it can be difficult, tiring, and frustrating.

Loved ones can experience fear, loss, anxiety, and a general misunderstanding.

The goal of this book is for readers to gain wisdom and overcome challenges that come with bipolar disorder and relationships.

Information, strategies, and real-life examples are included.

Topics include closeness, stability, and financial issues.

Type: Informational, Self-Help

5)The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide (2nd Edition) by David Miklowitz

Being diagnosed is the first step. However, after the diagnosis, there are many hurdles to be cleared in life.

From home, work, relationships, and other aspects of daily life, Miklowitz uses the practical problem-solving approach to educate his readers.

Topics include:

  • Early signs of bipolar mood swings
  • Medications
  • What to do to help control mood swings
  • How to discuss bipolar at work
  • And more…

The 2nd chapter is updated with a section “for women only.”

Type: Informational, Self-Help


Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? What other books about bipolar disorder do you recommend for Summer 2013?

Check out information about these books at and

Photo Credit: Creative Commons License Ginny via Compfight

Books About Bipolar: Summer Reading Suggestions

Kat Dawkins

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APA Reference
Dawkins, K. (2013). Books About Bipolar: Summer Reading Suggestions. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 22, 2020, from


Last updated: 11 Jul 2013
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