What is Bipolar Disorder?


Bipolar disorder is an illness that appears very, very confusing when you have just been diagnosed or if someone you love has a possible or official diagnosis.

Here is some great news. The illness is NOT difficult to understand once you know the basics.

The following is an excerpt from my book Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder: A 4-Step Plan for You and Your Loved Ones to Manage the Illness and Create Lasting Stability.

I’ve written books on the topic of bipolar disorder for over ten years since my partner of 10 years was diagnosed in 1994 and I was diagnosed in 1995.

Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder is the book I recommend for learning the basics of the illness, especially if you [ Read More ]

Bipolar Disorder and Psychosis

Julie A. Fast talks #bipolar disorder and psychosis. She explains her symptoms, the difference between bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder and offers encouragement for people who have hallucinations and delusions.

Click here to watch Julie’s video.



Can We Diagnose Bipolar Disorder Using Eye Images?

This is the question a new study from Souther Methodist University poses based off of my work on recognizing signs of mania in the eyes. Please visit the website and read more about this potently life changing study. What if we could see that we are manic through a physical sign even when our brain is telling us we are just fine? Think of the possibilities.

Click here to read more about the SMU Mania in the Eyes Research Study.

If you love my work, I would love your support of this project. Even one picture helps!




What is Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder?

The term rapid cycling can be very confusing. I recently asked my co-author Dr. John Preston for a clear explanation: “Rapid cycling is at least four discrete episodes during a 12 month period (these can be mania, hypomania, or depression). The term ultra-rapid cycling is not precisely defined but many refer to this as having possibly monthly cycles (e.g. 12 per year)…. Ultradian cycling is where there are not really discrete manic or depressive episodes, but the person is extremely emotionally labile, with chaotic and intense mood changes that occur every day or several times during a day. One way to describe it is that they experience intense emotional instability….some mood shifts are in response to stressful events (e.g. an argument with a friend), but some are unprovoked- seem to [ Read More ]

What is the difference between bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder? Parents want to know!

Julie, how do I know if my child has bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder? I was diagnosed with rapid cycling bipolar two with psychotic features in 1995. This diagnosis was incorrect. I have schizoaffective disorder. Knowing this diagnosis has helped me manage my bipolar disorder and my psychosis successfully. Here is a deep dive into the question……. What is Schizoaffective Disorder? The answer has to do with mania, depression and psychosis. Bipolar disorder is an episodic mood disorder that includes two mood swings: mania and depression. Within those mood swings, we can have a myriad of symptoms including anxiety, psychosis, irritation and anger, restlessness and attention and focus problems just to name a few. Here is a deeper explanation of the above- people with bipolar disorder must have experiences mania or depression in order to have [ Read More ]

Bipolar? It is Ok to Quit What is Making You Sick

Bipolar disorder is so easily triggered. It’s a rough illness that way- even the things we look forward to with great happiness can cause us trouble. Over the years I’ve learned there are just some situations, no matter how succesful or fun they are that I can’t handle. A friend of mine with bipolar once took a math class that was very stressful. She got quite sick from the class. When I, and a few others suggested she quit the class, she said, “I’m not a quitter, Julie! I have stopped so many things because of bipolar. I just want to finish something!” I said, “There is a big difference between ‘quitting’ from laziness or lack of attention to the topic- and the quitting that comes from taking care of yourself.” She quit the [ Read More ]

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