Manic-Depressive Illness (Bipolar Illness)

I’ve just been looking through a textbook I bought last year at a conference in Quebec. The book is ‘Manic-Depressive Illness. Bipolar Disorders and Recurrent Depression’ co-authored by Frederick Goodwin and Kay Redfield Jamison, both giants in this area. There were 15 other collaborators who also contributed.  Kay Jamison, who has bipolar disorder herself, writes about her experiences in the book ‘An Unquiet Mind’. I had the great pleasure of seeing Kay Jamison being interviewed live by Dr Raj Persaud (who I hold in high regard) a while ago. I was struck by how she had not only battled so courageously with her illness, but she had also achieved an incredible amount and helped others in so doing. Returning to the book ‘Manic-Depressive Illness’, this is an impressive work running to some 1262 pages. The book begins with a conceptualisation of Manic-Depressive Illness, follows through with a clinical description, diagnosis, course and outcome, epidemiology and treatment as well as a number of chapters on other important topics. On skimming through the book, I came across lots of interesting subject areas. These included

– Evidence supporting an increase in grey matter volume in patients with bipolar illness taking Lithium

– The Kindling hypothesis – (first described by Kraeplin) relating duration of illness to length/number of episodes (although this is a controversial area)

– The use of discourse structures to characterise speech during manic episodes

– Assortative mating in Bipolar Illness, evidence supporting a higher rate of marriages to partners with affective illness

– The relationship between creativity and bipolar illness which has also been explored in popular literature

– A detailed examination of the role of genetics in bipolar illness

– The relationship with sleep

This isn’t a book that you read in one sitting (unless its a long sitting!) but it is one to dip in and out of, use as a reference or move through one topic at a time. Science moves forwards quickly but having a focal point around which to hang new knowledge is invaluable and this book provides an indispensable resource for those working in this area. I would highly recommend this book.


An Unquiet Mind – A memoir of moods and madness. Kay Redfield Jamison. Picador. 1997.

Manic-Depressive Illness. Bipolar Disorders and Recurrent Depression. Second Edition by Frederick Goodwin and Kay Redfield Jamison. Oxford University Press. 2007.


The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor.


  1. As we’re on Manic-Depressive Illness (Bipolar Illness) The Amazing World of Psychiatry: A Psychiatry Blog, The term ‘psychosocial’ refers to the close relationship between the individual and the collective aspects of any social entity. They mutually influence each other. The ‘psychological’ effects are caused by a range of experiences that affect the emotions, behaviour, thoughts, memory and learning capacity of an individual, while the social effects are the shared experiences of disruptive events that affect the relations between people. The social effects also have an economic and political dimension, since many people suffer multiple consequences of, for example, disasters or armed conflicts.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s