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Bipolar disorder: An information guide



This guide is for people with bipolar disorder, their families and anyone who wants to understand the basics of this illness and its treatment and management. It is not a substitute for treatment from a doctor or mental health care provider, but it can be used as a basis for questions and discussion about bipolar disorder. This handbook covers many aspects of bipolar disorder and answers frequently asked questions. With respect to drug treatments, new medications are continually being developed, and some current medications may not yet have been available when this guide was published.

1 What is bipolar disorder?​

2 The clinical features of bipolar disorder​

3 The symptoms of bipolar disorder

4 What causes bipolar disorder?​

5 Treatments for bipolar disorder

​6 Recovery and relapse prevention

7 Help for partners and families

8 Explaining bipolar disorder to children​




Bipolar disorder is an often-complex disorder that requires many different types of knowledge and expertise to treat. Effective treatment is usually collaborative and multidisciplinary; so too was the writing of this guide. We have stated authorship as the “Bipolar Clinic Staff” to reflect our commitment to collaboration. For the record, the contributors to the guide include Sagar Parikh, MD, FRCPC; Carol Parker, MSW, RSW; Robert Cooke, MD, FRCPC; Stephanie Krüger, MD; Roger McIntyre, MD, FRCPC; Alice Kusznir, OT, MEd; and Christina Bartha, MSW, RSW. Additional input was provided by Lynnette Ashton, Mary Damianakis, Deborah Mancini and Lisa Zetes-Zanatta.


The authors would like to pay special tribute to our patients, clients and their families who, through their openness, have taught us so much. We would also like to express our sincere appreciation to the patients, clients and family members who gave so generously of their time in reviewing the manuscript and who provided their thoughtful comments and suggestions.

This revised edition was reviewed by Dr. Hagen Rampes.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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