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
I will answer this with a quiz.
The following is a yes/ no quiz to check on your current mood stability. It's pretty fascinating to see where you're doing well or not doing so well. If you care about someone with the illness, you can answer from your observations.
Yes or No?
- I feel in control
Did you (or someone you care about) just get out of the psych ward? Well...
It’s common to go to the hospital if you have bipolar disorder. It can be a stressful time, so it’s important to have a plan for when you come home. (Loved ones can really, really help with this!)
Here are three tips: ...Read More
Julie A. Fast has posted a blog entry:Full Post
But it goes both ways. I drank more before I was diagnosed. I drank because of being manic, depressed or anxious.
Mania can make a person want to drink A LOT. We lose our inner stable voice when we’re manic and it can lead to excessive drinking that can then lead to sex with strangers, drunk driving and other awful results....Read More
This is a complicated question that needs some background information:
Most adults with bipolar disorder show signs of the illness in their teens or early 20’s. They do NOT have signs of the illness from a very early age. The illness truly starts as the person gets older. Adult onset bipolar disorder...Read More
This answer will focus the medication treatment of bipolar disorder. I focus on management in my other answers.
Bipolar disorder medication treatment depends on your diagnosis. The majority of people with bipolar have either Bipolar I (one) or Bipolar II (two). They each have a different medication...Read More
The cloudy, depressed mind responds well to short, emphatic and personally tailored phrases you can use in specific situations to put an end to depressive thoughts.
I call these 'depression mantras'. I've used them for years even with my severe depression.
You can work on specific mantras that resonate...Read More
Bipolar is an episodic mood disorder. When a person is not a mood swing such as mania or depression, the symptoms are not present.
BPD is a pervasive illness that is considered a part of a person’s personality. It is not episodic.
Definition of BPD
People with BPD often feel misunderstood, alone,...Read More
Moms and dads have very different relationships with their children. I’ve learned this through years of coaching. The mother is often the one who talks about the illness, asks the child to take medications, worries out loud about his future, gets anxious and upset if the child won’t talk and is often...Read More
Unfortunately, there is no blood test to tell you if you have bipolar disorder. (I wish!)
Instead, blood tests are used to measure drug levels as well as basic bodily needs. Here is a list of specific and voluntary tests needed.
- It’s essential to get a thyroid test when you are first diagnosed
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
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
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
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
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