Bio

Julie A. Fast is the bestselling author of Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and Helping Your Partner,  Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder: A Four Step Plan to Help You and  Your Loved Ones Manage the Illness and Find Lasting Stability and Get it Done When You’re Depressed: 50 Strategies for Keeping Your Life on Track. Julie won the Mental Health America Journalism Award for her columnist work in BP Magazine and the Eli Lilly Reintegration Award for her work in the bipolar disorder management field. Julie is a regular speaker for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA). Julie’s frequent coauthor, Dr. John Preston specializes in the medications used to treat adult onset bipolar disorder as well as pediatric bipolar disorder and guides Julie in all of her writing and advice regarding medications. Julie is a coach for partners and family members of people with bipolar disorder and has one of the top bipolar disorder blogs on the web at www.BipolarHappens.com/bhblog. For more information about Julie’s work, please visit www.JulieFast.com

Specialties:

Affiliation:

  • Bipolar Disorder and Depression, Teen Mental Health, Author

Location:

  • Portland, OR

Activity

  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    I think it's quite easy to diagnose bipolar disorder once you know the basics of the illness. Bipolar Disorder doesn't change much in terms of symptoms -- what changes is the severity and frequency of the symptoms.

    There are four basic mood swing categories I write about in my bipolar disorder work: D...Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    I’ll answer this with a personal story -- here is some background. I have bipolar disorder and was very ill for ten years. I finally found the right mix of meds and management strategies and amazingly, my depression was reduced 75%. 

    When my depression got better, I assumed my other symptoms would...Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    If your partner has bipolar disorder, an important topic for you to discuss with your partner and your other family members is the genetic risk your children have of developing bipolar disorder. When one parent has bipolar disorder, there is a 15 to 30 percent chance that a child will develop the illness. This is a very serious...Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    A diagnosis should be made by a licensed psychiatrist, although nowadays many people are diagnosed by general practitioners or other mental health professionals who may or may not have the necessary skills to treat the disorder. It is important for you to understand that while some psychotherapists...Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    Bipolar disorder is no longer a taboo subject. I’ve heard kids in high school talk about it openly. My friend Amanda is in 11th grade, so I asked her what she knew about the illness.
    Her answer surprised me.
    “We talk about it at school. It’s not in a bad way. That is probably because I hang out with a lot of geeky artist types. We don’t care about someone having a mental illness. All we want to do is...Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    The first thing to remember is that suicide is a very common symptom of bipolar disorder.
    I’ve been suicidal off and on for 20 years. I used to be so scared of the symptoms and then one day I thought, wait a minute. I have these thoughts and every person I know with bipolar has these thoughts. There is...Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    Have you been manic? It’s that easy.

    If you have not had an obvious manic episode, you can’t have bipolar disorder.

    It’s possible to be moody and anxious, excitable and agitated, but that’s not mania. You may have had days where sleeping is difficult, but if you woke up tired, grumpy and your...Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    Here is how I define psychosis:
    Psychosis is a break with reality that causes confusion, lack of functioning, communication difficulties and when full blown, hospitalization.
    Facts about psychosis:
    Psychosis is disruptive. People who are psychotic don’t fit
    in because they are ‘odd’ in what they...Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:

    I recently met my friend Diana for happy hour. It was very noisy and bright outside. It felt good. My friend is a lot of fun and we are in the same publishing field.

    When she sat down, I tried so hard to be a good listener. But I started talking and talking. I could feel myself going on and on.

    ...Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    Here are some tips to help your partner with bipolar disorder:
    • You will need a solid knowledge of bipolar disorder and how it affects your partner so that you can differentiate bipolar disorder behavior from what you consider normal behavior.
    • Sympathy and insight play an important role.
    ...Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    The #1 management tool (outside of medications) is getting your teen and yourself to discover and write down the very first symptoms of a mood swing- especially for mania, depression, anxiety and psychosis. It you catch the small signs that a mood swing is coming on, you can stop it before it goes...Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    It’s hard to understand mania unless you have seen it and heard it personally.  There are two types of mania: full blown and hypomania. Even though hypomania is the milder form of mania, it’s still very concerning and can wreak havoc on a life. Many mistakes around sex and money are made when a person...Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    Yes, with some caution.
    Generics, especially when they first come on the market can differ significantly from brand medications and here is why.
    It’s an FDA law that all generic medications include the same active ingredients as those used in the original brand. You may think that the pills would...Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    Great question. Relapse means that bipolar disorder creeps up on you and takes over your life once again. This illness is so sneaky.
    Luckily, if you’re aware of the very, very basic beginnings of a mood swing, you can often catch the illness before it goes too far. This is what prevents relapse....Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    Type I Diabetes and bipolar disorder are complicated and demanding illnesses.  It makes sense that managing both of them at once would be a challenge, but it is possible. Bipolar disorder is a genetic illness that affects a person’s ability to regulate their moods. Type I diabetes is an auto immune illness...Read More