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:

Activity

  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    It’s an extremely important topic, but the basics can be simple. 
    1. Work with someone who has actual experience with bipolar disorder. It’s a very difficult illness to treat and many traditional treatments from medications to therapy can be used incorrectly if the bipolar disorder is not taken...Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    Be honest and gauge what to say depending on the age of your child.
    Six years ago when my nephew was three, we were standing next to my big lavender plant on a sunny day. I said, “David, I know you won’t understand this now, but I want to tell you about my bipolar disorder. It’s an illness that makes my moods go up and down. Sometimes...Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    A dual diagnosis means a person has a bipolar disorder diagnosis along with a drug or alcohol dependency.
    One of the top reasons a person with bipolar disorder has a poor treatment outcome is due to drug and alcohol abuse.
    Three Reasons for the Abuse 

    1. When a person lacks the insight that they...Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    I've had bipolar disorder mood swings since the age of 17. For many, many years I didn't know what was wrong. When I was finally diagnosed, I thought the medications would just take care of my problems! It wasn't that simple. I didn't respond well to medications, so I knew I had to come up with my own...Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    Oh my, yes!
    I found that my entire life had to change when I was finally diagnosed with bipolar II at age 31.
    There were good changes and very, very tough changes. But I made them and still make them daily. It's complex! But life can be good.
    Here are the areas where changes in routine make the biggest...Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    I asked my coauthor Dr. John Preston for a physiological explanation of why people have a hard time breathing when they are anxious. 
    I learned a lot from his answer. I hope you will too!
    **

    When there is significant anxiety, people tend to engage in one of two types of breathing:
    • rapid
    ...Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    My answer below addresses supplements as natural remedies. (Exercise, breathing, acupuncture, homeopathic and herbal treatments are another topic.)
    The first step is to define the words "natural" and "remedy" regarding bipolar disorder treatment. Most people define "natural" as a non-synthetic product. "R...Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    I've had hypomanic episodes for over 30 years- since age 17.  I’m now 47.
    I didn't know what they were until I was finally diagnosed with bipolar II in 1995. I always thought they were the real me and the depression was the problem. 
    There are two kinds of bipolar mania:
    1. The full blown mania...Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    Yes!
    Psychosis has two main components:  hallucinations and delusions.
    What are Hallucinations? 
    Hallucinations involve the senses: a person believes that they see, hear, taste or smell something that isn’t there. These including hearing your name called, seeing animals scurry around a chair or watching...Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    Lithium is a salt, so it’s very inexpensive. But.....
    Lithium is just one of many treatment options for people with bipolar disorder. It’s often the first choice as it’s especially effective for full blown mania. But it’s usually combined with other drugs in order to manage depression, psychosis and...Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    Ideally, it is hoped that your partner has been diagnosed 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...Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    Good question and luckily an easy one to answer. The main difference is mania. 
    • A person absolutely can’t have bipolar disorder unless they have had a manic episode.  There are no exceptions.  I’ve heard people say their doctor thinks they might have bipolar. I say, “What is your mania like?” If the person says,
    ...Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    If your relationship has sexual problems because of bipolar disorder, you're not alone. Issues may include your partner's lack of sexuality when depressed, excessive sexuality when manic, a general lack of affection toward you when he or she is too ill to have a fulfilling and intimate relationship,...Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    Bipolar disorder is an illness that affects a person’s ability to regulate their moods. Bipolar disorder is easy to understand as the symptoms stay the same for everyone. But it’s a very difficult illness to treat because the symptoms differ in amount and intensity for each person.
    There are four...Read More
  • Julie A. Fast - Portland, OR - Mental Health
    Julie A. Fast answered:
    Yes. It is now considered there are a number of different types of bipolar disorder and together these are often referred to as bipolar spectrum disorders:
    The Bipolar Spectrum Disorders
    Bipolar I: Consists of mild to severe, full blown manic episodes that are either euphoric (positive, expansive...Read More