Book Review for 'When Someone You Love Is Bipolar'

“When Someone You Love Is Bipolar.”
“When Someone You Love Is Bipolar.”. Guilford Press

Some of the most common emails I receive are from the loved ones of those who have bipolar disorder. These emails are written by husbands and wives, lovers and friends, parents and children who all just want to help and to be there for the person they love ... but they don’t know how.

If you want to help your loved one with bipolar disorder but just don't know how, I highly recommend When Someone You Love Is Bipolar: Help and Support for You and Your Partner by Dr. Cynthia G.


Psychologist Who Has Bipolar Wrote Book

Dr. Last is a practicing psychologist who has bipolar II herself. Her book is packed full of tools for loved ones of those who have bipolar disorder, including symptom checklists, trigger checklists and behavior contracts. The foreword of the book is written by her husband, and I found it touching to read the compromises he’s made to help their marriage, plus how they’ve tackled this together.

The book is well organized and easy to read, and its format makes it an excellent quick reference guide as you move from the initial diagnosis through the various obstacles and questions that arise as you and your family work to achieve stability and gain a better understanding of bipolar disorder. It also includes first-person experiences and dialogue that many people in a similar situation may find familiar.

There are worksheets for learning your loved one's early warning signs, and there are worksheets for you to evaluate your own needs and your available support.

The book also includes a list of triggers common for those with bipolar disorder.

When Someone You Love Is Bipolar: Possible Disadvantages

Sometimes the book does gloss over certain topics — I found myself wishing it included more in some areas. However, that's a relatively minor complaint, as overall I found the book to be an excellent resource.

Finally, I need to stress that your loved one really needs to be open and willing to participate in the exercises outlined in When Someone You Love Is Bipolar for those exercises to be useful and effective. This isn't something you can force — if the person who actually has bipolar isn't a willing partner and participant, then you won't get as much out of the book as is possible with someone who is willing to do the work needed.

But overall, I liked the book quite a lot. It includes strategies for dealing with both the ups and the downs of the condition, plus tips on how to help your partner stay well, stick with a medication regimen and prevent mood episodes.


Last, Cynthia. When Someone You Love Is Bipolar: Help and Support for You and Your Partner. The Guilford Press, April 2009 (first edition).

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