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Tracey Marks
Bipolar Basics
Tracey Marks, author
Bipolar disorder is complex and can be easily mistaken for other mental health illnesses. The aim of this book is to help you understand the basics of how bipolar disorder affects you and shed light on the subtle details that distinguish bipolar disorder from other illnesses. It will also equip you with the latest science-based information on medication and non-medication treatment approaches. This book also covers aspects of living with the illness that aren't often discussed openly.If you suffer with bipolar disorder, this book will help your put your experience into words so you can communicate with those close to you and know how to ask for help. Take back control of your illness with a deeper understanding.
Organized for easy access and understanding, psychiatrist Marks’s debut is a practical guide to the defining characteristics of bipolar disorder, the disorder’s effective treatments, and how to differentiate it from other mental health disorders. Marks debunks the pervasive myths that link recurring depression to bipolar disorder, demonstrating instead that actual bipolar disorder is marked by mania or hypomania. From there, she shortlists crucial symptoms and warning signs, introducing readers to the facts about bipolar disorder while steering them in the direction of potential treatments and lifestyle changes to manage it.

Readers well-seasoned in mental health literature may find this introductory guide occasionally simplified, but Marks effectively breaks down a complex topic for novice mental health readers, cutting through jargon and clearly defining key terms. For those curious about telling bipolar apart from other disorders, such as anxiety or borderline personality, Marks acknowledges the areas of overlap while illuminating the disparities with clear, memorable metaphors: Manifestations of bipolar disorder, Marks notes, can feel episodic, something like “the unexpected arrival of bad weather,” while the racing thoughts that often come with the disorder can feel like a “time-lapse video of a blooming flower where the petals just keep coming.” Marks also surveys bright light therapy, lithium prescription, and other common treatment modalities, and includes a helpful aside covering why medication compliance is essential for stabilization.

Brochure-style illustrations help to clarify key concepts and provide readers with reference points for important takeaway information, and the bipolar management strategies are uncomplicated and easy to follow. Marks offers a six-step suicide safety plan that could save lives (“Step Three: Identify Social Contacts or Settings That Distract You From the Crisis”), though some might argue that the guide downplays the danger of “passive” suicidal thoughts. Other vital resources include a comprehensive relapse prevention plan that addresses triggers, reactions, and potential interventions/replacement behaviors.Those seeking initial advice about recognizing and treating bipolar disorder will appreciate this clear, user-friendly guide.

Takeaway: A helpful entry-level look at bipolar disorder’s common characteristics and potential treatment options.

Great for fans of: Carlin Barnes and Marketa Wills’s Understanding Mental Illness, Aimee Daramus’s Understanding Bipolar Disorder.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: C