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Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder    by Julie A. Fast & John Preston order for
Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder
by Julie A. Fast
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder is a guide to living with this very debilitating mental illness. Bipolar disorder is a chemical/metabolic problem affecting brain functioning - it's not something that those with bipolar disorder can just shake off. Like a diabetic needing insulin, the bipolar patient needs medication, counseling, behavioral modification and all the love and caring that family and friends can give.

The book is written jointly by Julie Fast, a woman conquering the illness, and John Preston, a specialist in the disorder. Together they have come up with a doable plan to monitor the course of the disorder and to learn how to live with it happily and successfully.

Learn the differences between Bipolar I, II, and III. Between full-blown mania and hypomania. Recognize how to know help is needed for yourself or a loved one. Understand the voices you hear when no one is even around or the thought insertions that appear in your own head. Learn how to take charge of your problem, to recognize that it is real illness and not something you can pull yourself out of if you only buckle down. Learn how to recognize that you need help and not be afraid to ask for it.

There are exercises in the pages of Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder that will help you plan your life, and to recognize your Bipolar Disorder triggers. Medications are discussed as well as Lifestyle Changes. Having trouble sleeping, feeling you can get by with only four or five hours? Overeating? Learn behavioral changes that can enhance your lifestyle.

It's so important to have a support group. There's no disgrace in your condition. No more than if you broke a leg or had cancer. You need family and friends, those who care for you and want to help when you indicate you need help. Who understand the disorder and love you anyway.

I am not a health care professional, so I can't say if the information in this book is on the edge or not. Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder, to me, is a breakthrough plan to help the member of my family with the disorder. I love her and refuse to lose her.

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