Specific Psychological Distress: Manic Depression (Bipolar Disorder)

Additional information on bipolar disorder is available from the Mental Health Reference site, including the symptoms of manic depression.

Specific Psychological Distress

Manic-Depression (Bipolar Disorder)

Spitz, D. (2003) 'What Is the Role of Psychotherapy in Bipolar Disorder? -- Part I', Medscape Psychiatry & Mental Health 8(2). [available online]

The author argues that for a particular subset of clients experiencing symptoms of manic depression, psychotherapy is a necessary and valuable component of treatment. She suggests that medication -- which she calls "the bedrock of treatment" for bipolar disorder -- cannot by itself foster acceptance of a chronic illness or teach preventive strategies.

Mulhauser, G.R. (2011) Tri-Axial Bipolar Spectrum Screening Quiz (TABS). CounsellingResource.com. [Bipolar test available online]

This 19-question bipolar spectrum self-test has been designed specifically to highlight all three components which potentially figure in the diagnosis of bipolar spectrum disorders, including depressive episodes and manic episodes (and mixed episodes), plus an additional set of factors which may preclude a diagnosis of bipolar disorder even when symptoms otherwise associated with bipolar are present. Intended to help individuals become aware of experiences which might be indicative of bipolar disorder in people 18 or older, the Tri-Axial Bipolar Spectrum (TABS) test differs from other other bipolar screening instruments found on the internet by checking explicitly for those precluding factors.

Jamison, K.R. (1993) Touched With Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament. New York: The Free Press.

Written by a woman who knows manic-depressive illness intimately, from personal experience, this book explores the relationship between manic-depressive illness and cyclothymia on the one hand, and creativity and artistic expression on the other. Jamison shows there is a much higher rate of depression, manic-depressive illness and suicide amongst those frequently characterised as 'artistic', including writers and artists. (Lord Byron and Van Gogh are among her examples.) She asks: "Why should this be so? Is it only a coincidence? Do artists create in spite of their often-debilitating problems with moods? Or, as we will argue here, is there something about the experience of prolonged periods of melancholia -- broken at times by episodes of manic intensity and expansiveness -- that leads to a different kind of insight, compassion, and expression of the human condition?" (p. 102) The book is far ranging and extremely well researched, if a little heavy going at times due to its relentless attention to detail.


This page was last reviewed by Dr Greg Mulhauser, Thursday, 3 November 2022.