Select Sites for Other Specific Information (book list updated 2012; the rest 2005)

(Extremely Useful Bipolar Books, including one each for partners, families, and general Bipolar I education, are at the bottom of this page)

Medication information:  Amazingly detailed information on any medication, by any name you know, or you can search. 

Canadian pharmacies: Wisconsin Governor's website for purchase of medications from Canada. 

Treatment Guidelines: Use this site to make sure that whatever treatment you are offered meets the standards set by national experts.  The 1996 bipolar guidelines do not address bipolar II; the 2000 guidelines, just publishedSachs et al, include brief mention --e.g. see guideline 8.

Self-harm: why self harm seems to help, in a way; -- and how to stop. "You are not alone".  A long article on the complexity of this issue.  And a few more options.  

Suicide:  a beautiful letter from someone who thought about it too. Read this now if you're having serious thoughts about suicide.

Drug Interactions: cool tool, but the "answers" are in full medical lingo and can be very tricky, in my experience, to interpret.  When you're having a problem with your medications, a cross-check like this is useful.  When you're not, it could just raise your anxiety over an interaction which may not be relevant in your case. 

Breast-Feeding and Medications: there's a 2001 site, a little dated, but very carefully done, from New Zealand's  drug regulation unit.  An easily navigated site is, but one really has to look for the most recent information possible as some very open questions remained when these two sites were built.  

Bipolar Art: Works by people with bipolar disorder. You may also submit your own for display. 

Depression:  a site that knows about depression and the complexity of the relationship to bipolar disorder; extremely knowledgeable, good writing, frequent updates, and a newsletter (John McMenamy's Depression and Bipolar Web).  

Eating Disorders

  • a wonderful non-profit (despite the .com designation) organization with a great clearinghouse site.  
  • a more technical site from NIMH, still providing general information; 
  • a list of treatment programs (bottom of the page); and 
  • the kind of cognitive behavioral treatment program you should try to work through with a therapist, by one of the foremost authorities on this subject, called Overcoming Binge Eating

First, "survival": here are some excellent essays.  I used to have some additional links here but they've been "disappeared" by their sites. If I run across other solid guides, they'll go right here...

Mental Health Law: there is a fantastic resource, including lots of information about the Americans with Disabilities act and some important links for even more help with the ADA interpretation, at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.  

Organization and daily regimen: Although I haven't explored this site, a patient strongly recommended it. If you have thoughts about this site, what else I might say about it here, let me know. Try

Treating Insomnia without Medications: plain old insomnia, with no underlying cause that should be treated, just plain insomnia... I'm not sure how often this happens.  However, if that's what you have, here are some non-medication approaches: 

  • Read about light and darkness first. Pretty amazing story. 
  • "Sleep Hygiene" -- the basics, that actually help people in the long run as much as sleep medications. 
  • An interesting story, whether true or not, and an amazing cheap treatment if it really works: read about blue light and "virtual darkness" (written for people with bipolar disorder but perhaps applicable to nearly anyone) 
  • Muscle Relaxation Instruction -- even if it doesn't help you sleep, you might want to be good at reaching a relaxed state, as much as possible for you. Whoops, site is down; anybody have a good reference? Write me please. 

Medication reminders, pill-minder boxes
Here's a nifty site with many variations of watches, timers and boxes.  

Bipolar Sites (of the many, these are my absolute top choices -- revised frequently)

  • DBSAlliance: the Depressive and Bipolar Support Alliance
    Been around a long time, formerly the National Depressive and Manic Depressive Association, very strong national advocacy and support. 
  • Bipolar Disorder in Kids : If you have children or want to, and worry about them having bipolar disorder, go here -- it's just what you need.  Their "reference center" is outstanding, with links to lots of full texts. 
  • More bipolar in kids, from a research point of view
  • Bipolar World  
    "Support team" ready to write you back;  frequently updated useful information. 
  • Loving someone with Bipolar Disorder: two sites and a book to check out -- one site for Caregivers (close family, for example and one site for Significant others (family, friends) ; and  for close relationships, a book by Julie Fast on that challenge.  
  • Mental Health Net bipolar resources guide offers links to many smaller websites of a more personal-history/personal-perspective nature; many of these are excellent. Brief descriptions of each site and 1-4 star rating.

There are hundreds of other sites, some of which have helped me with links, or which are widely known.

Useful books for bipolar disorder:

  • For partners -- loving someone with bipolar disorder, by Julie Fast (who knows what she's talking about and has some road-tested and very well-honed ideas for your relationship's health).  
  • for families as well as patients -- The Bipolar Survival Guide: What you and your family need to know, by David Miklowitz (who led the team that created "Family-focused Therapy" for bipolar disorder).  Guilford Press; 1st edition (January 24, 2002). ISBN: 1572305258; $13.27 paperback. 
  • The Bipolar Workbook, by Monica Basco. Basic but central stuff to work through with this hands-on, write-about-yourself guide. Probably best to do all this with a therapist but if you can't find/afford one, if you were very careful about actually doing this book, not just reading it, you would surely benefit. 
  • Want an entertaining book that teaches (by allowing you to learn from someone else's struggles and mistakes)? Read Hilary Smith's Welcome to the Jungle
  • FREE! hard to beat that price. Here's a collection of chapters from knowledgeable authors made available by the International Bipolar Foundation: Healthy Living With Bipolar Disorder. Scroll down to the Table of Contents and pick the chapters you are interested in; you can go back and read the author bio's later (they precede the Table of Contents and they're lengthy). See in particular the chapters by Russ Federman, for young people just getting the diagnosis (and/or trying to go to college with it). The chapter on medications is basic but extensive (and I agree with most of it !). 
  • Under 25 and just diagnosed? Federman's Facing Bipolar is a whole book version of his chapter in the link just above. Excellent resource if your diagnosis is already clear, whether Bipolar I or Bipolar II, particularly if you're dealing with college (he works at one)  (the book is not so strong on diagnosis, but that's not their emphasis here). 
  • LOOK HOW MUCH BETTER LIFE CAN GET.  For an account of severe bipolar disorder that demonstrates how one can go from hospitalizations and self-harm to a stable relationship and employment, try Spin Between Never and Ever, by Shannon Flynn. 
  • An Unquiet Mind, by Kay Jamison, Ph.D.
    No list like this would be complete without a citation of the works of Dr. Jamison, whose insight into the illness has been a guide for researchers for years.  As one reviewer put it, "one of the best scientific autobiographies ever written, a combination of clarity, truth, and insight into human character".  See also Dr. Jamison's discussion of the creativity which seems to accompany bipolar disorder, Touched with Fire.  

Useful books for PTSD:

  • Forgiveness is a choice by Robert Enright, Ph.D.
         Commonly recommended by a PTSD specialist colleague.
  • I Canít Get Over It and Trust After Trauma  by Aphrodite Matsakis, Ph.D.
         Both strongly recommended by one of my patients, who was able to use them on her own.