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Bipolar Disorder:
A Guide for Patients and Families (A Johns Hopkins Press Health Book)

by Dr. Francis Mark Mondimore MD

ISBN 0801878578 / 9780801878572 / 0-8018-7857-8
Publisher The Johns Hopkins University Press
Language English
Edition Softcover
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Book summary

"Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that affects about two percent of the population. Such famous politicians, writers, artists, and musicians as Winston Churchill, George Frederick Handel, Lord Byron, Virginia Woolf, Edgar Allan Poe, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Vincent van Gogh had bipolar disorder, but most persons affected by bipolar disorder are just ordinary people who want nothing more than to get back to their everyday lives after they or their family members have been diagnosed with the illness. This book is written for them." -- from the Preface

In this book for persons with bipolar disorder and their families, Dr. Frank Mondimore offers a comprehensive, practical, compassionate guide to the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and causes of this potentially devastating psychiatric illness, formerly known as "manic-depression." He offers practical advice for getting the most out of the various treatments that are now available -- from medication, psychotherapy, and electroconvulsive treatment to new approaches such as St. John's wort and transcranial magnetic stimulation. For each, he discusses advantages, disadvantages, side effects, and other information to help patients make informed decisions about treatment options. He also describes what it is like to live with bipolar disorder and discusses how lifestyle changes can improve quality of life. Throughout, he focuses on the importance of building a support system, of planning for emergencies, and of giving one's self permission to seek help.

Bipolar disorder is a particularly difficult illness to diagnose and treat, Dr. Mondimore acknowledges, and it can be incredibly destructive to relationships and careers, can wreak havoc on family life and, when not properly treated, is a potentially fatal disease. In his wide-ranging discussion of this unpredictable disorder, Dr. Mondimore describes problems that are unique to women, whose disease may be affected by the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and childbirth,. He includes new information on the forms the illness takes in children and adolescents, in whom it can sometimes be mistaken for more common problems such as "hyperactivity" or Attention Deficit Disorder. He explains what we know about the genetics of the disease, how symptoms fluctuate with the seasons in seasonal affective disorder, and how illness can be made more difficult to treat because of alcoholism or drug abuse. He discusses coping with the stigmatization of psychiatric diagnosis, gives advice on picking a psychiatrist and on dealing with medical insurance issues, and even explores the fascinating relationship between bipolar disorder and artistic creativity. Finally, Dr. Mondimore tells family members what they can do to help the person with bipolar disorder -- and themselves -- and he offers hope for the future as researchers learn more about the disease and how to control it.

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