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"When Someone You Love Is Bipolar" by Cynthia G. Last

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

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Updated September 13, 2009

The Bottom Line

Some of the most common emails we receive are from significant others of those who have bipolar disorder. These are from husbands and wives, lovers and friends, parents and children who just want to help, to be there for the person they love. But they don’t know how. For these people, I highly recommend When Someone You Love Is Bipolar: Help and Support for You and Your Partner by Dr. Cynthia G. Last. Review by Kimberly Read
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Pros

  • Experienced author who has bipolar II disorder and is a practicing psychologist
  • Packed full of tools such as symptom checklists, trigger checklists, behavior contracts, etc.
  • Well organized and easy to read
  • Format makes it an excellent quick-reference guide
  • First-person experiences and dialog

Cons

  • More of a caution … Make sure your loved-one is open and willing to participate is the exercises
  • Sometimes I wanted a little more on a specific topic

Description

  • Does Someone You Love Have Bipolar Disorder?
  • What You Can Expect: The Course of Bipolar Illness
  • “It’s Not Me!”: When Your Partner Is in Denial
  • What You Need to Know about Your Partner’s Treatment
  • You, Your Loved One, and the Doctors: The Team Approach to Getting and Staying Well
  • Helping Your Partner Stick with Medication
  • Other Things You and Your Partner Can Do to Prevent Mood Episodes
  • Strategies for Dealing with the Ups Together
  • Strategies for Dealing with the Downs Together
  • Taking Care of Yourself and Your Relationship

Guide Review - "When Someone You Love Is Bipolar" by Cynthia G. Last

When Someone You Love Is Bipolar: Help and Support for You and Your Partner by Dr. Cynthia G. Last is an excellent resource for those in a relationship with someone who has bipolar disorder. Dr. Last is a practicing clinical psychologist, which means she has frontline experience with those who have bipolar disorder and their loved ones. Also, she has bipolar II disorder herself. The foreword of the book is written by her husband. I found it touching to read the compromises he’s made to help their marriage and how they’ve tackled this together.

Dr. Last’s work is organized and easy to read following a progression that moves you logically from the point your significant other is diagnosed 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. The topics found in each chapter are listed in the description above. However, the call-outs, bold headings and detailed index make the book an excellent quick-reference resource if you need to quickly grab a fact or some inspiration for a needed conversation.

Another great facet of When Someone You Love Is Bipolar is the extensive inventory of tools. There are checklists for the symptoms associated with episodes. There is a list of triggers common for those who have bipolar disorder. 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 ... just to name a few.

As I noted above, one word of caution before launching some of the strategies and tools found here. Your loved one should be open and willing to participate in the exercises; this isn’t something you can force. Regardless of your loved ones participation, you will find this book to be a valuable resource.

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