Handbook of Bipolar Disorder: Diagnosis and Therapeutic Approaches

Handbook of Bipolar Disorder: Diagnosis and Therapeutic Approaches

Handbook of Bipolar Disorder: Diagnosis and Therapeutic Approaches

Handbook of Bipolar Disorder: Diagnosis and Therapeutic Approaches


An expert summary of our current understanding of bipolar disorder, this reference examines existing theories, treatment regimens, and clinically relevant applications by world authorities in psychiatric research. Divided into four main sections, this guide delves into the diagnosis and epidemiology of bipolar disorder and progresses to discussions of patient care, emerging management approaches, and the underlying biology of the disease.


Over the last 10 to 15 years, so much knowledge about bipolar disorder has exploded on all fronts that even academic specialists, let alone clinicians, struggle to keep up. This handbook makes that struggle substantially easier, especially for clinicians.

These 27 chapters are authored by an international “who’s who” in bipolar disorder research, and the depth of coverage fits the intended audience—primarily clinicians—quite well.

Some edited books on bipolar disorder organize treatment chapters around specific clinical situations, i.e., the treatment of mania, depression, etc. while others choose to organize chapters by the different treatments used, i.e., lithium, anticonvulsants, etc. This handbook employs both organizational schema.

As with any multi-authored book, it is best to read the chapters as they were written, that is, independent of one another. in this way, the reader can appreciate the differences in emphasis that should be expected when over 20 experts in bipolar treatment are assigned to approach overlapping topics. For example, one can compare how lithium’s role in bipolar depression is handled in lithium pioneer Paul Grof’s chapter, with how it is treated in Bob Hirschfeld’s and Vornik’s chapter on bipolar depression. Such inevitable differences in perspective are also evident in the first section dealing with diagnosis, epidemiology, and course. Consider, for example, the approach to diagnosis taken by Charles Bowden compared with the approach of Hagop Akiskal in the chapter on spectrum, or of Zoltan Rihmer and Jules Angst in the chapter on epidemiology.

A certain unity of perspective is achievable in a book with one or two authors (somehow Manic Depressive Illness by Goodwin and Jamison, 1990, comes to mind). While this has its virtues, there is also real value in being exposed to diverse points of view, as long as one makes the effort to read all the overlapping chapters—an effort that is, by the way, well worth it.

Frederick K. Goodwin, md Research Professor of Psychiatry George Washington University Medical Center Washington D.C., U.S.A.

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