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
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
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
I believe that bipolar is 100% genetic. This doesn't mean it isn't triggered by many things. For example, anti-depressants can bring out latent bipolar and relationship troubles can lead to serious mood swings.
Drug and alcohol abuse, work troubles and travel, just to name a few can also trigger mood...Read More
Bipolar disorder is an episodic illness. This means that the
mood swings come and go with discrete beginnings and ends. Mood swings can be very long and seem like they go on forever, but they do end at some point.
For example, a full blown manic episode will eventually burn itself out after a period...Read More
It’s often hard to miss the beginning signs of bipolar euphoric mania because it feels so good!
Here is a quiz to spot the signs of feeling a bit TOO good which means you must get help before the euphoric mania turns into grandiose, out of control mania.
As compared to how you are when...Read More
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: Depression,...Read More
A bit of background: There are two types of mania: a dysphoric (agitated mania) that is really awful and an euphoric mania that can feel like true extreme happiness! Woo hoo! (but untrue).
I was manic for over 20 years and though it was the real me. I was just so much happier when I was manic.
Then I faced...Read More
Bipolar disorder, along with depression is a mood disorder. It’s an illness that affects brain chemicals and causes changes in moods that are 'non average' responses to outside events. This is why it’s so hard for those of us with the illness to handle change and stressful life events. This includes life...Read More
Here are the four main symptoms of bipolar disorder:
Mania Depression Anxiety Psychosis
These main symptoms of bipolar can mix and match.
Mania can be pure mania: It's a chemically elevated mood that is either full blown (WAY up there or ...hypomania- the milder...Read More
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
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
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
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
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
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: