Description: This is a pocket-sized guide to programmed management of bipolar disorder and its numerous variants.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a quick primer on understanding and treating bipolar illness.
Audience: The audience includes physicians of all types, nurses, social workers, psychologists, and other therapists who encounter patients with bipolar illness.
Features: The book begins with a historical look at bipolar disorder, with the author emphasizing that management of bipolar illness is a dynamic process. This segues nicely into a discussion of the complexity of bipolar illness making the diagnosis. The author reviews the epidemiology, neurophysiology, and genetics of bipolar illness. The neurophysiology chapter is technical, but still manages to convey well the current understanding of bipolar illness. There is a huge amount of literature on the psychopharmacological treatment of bipolar disorder, but the section on this topic is a little light, although it does hit the highlights. The chapter on therapeutic interventions reviews all of the pertinent modalities and explains their uses succinctly. I particularly appreciated the discussion of programmatic approaches to treatment. Too often bipolar treatment is reduced to symptom chasing that leads to polypharmacy and poor management. The last section is on special populations (late life, pediatric). The appendix contains a sample mood chart. "Key Points" that emphasize particularly important concepts are scattered throughout the chapters. The charts and graphs are clear and help support the text. There are no particular shortcomings of the book except its brevity.
Assessment: This is meant to be a short, portable guide to bipolar illness for clinicians unfamiliar with it. It does a good job meeting its intended purpose. The author educates without bogging readers down with too much technical detail. There are good references in each chapter for those wanting further information. Experienced clinicians will want something more thorough and in depth, but I would highly recommend this to anyone wanting a succinct primer on bipolar illness and its many manifestations.