Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder (Second Edition)
Understanding and Helping Your Partner
By Julie A. Fast and
John Preston, PsyD
Reviewed by Tammy Fletcher, LMFT
The second edition of Fast and Preston’s work, Loving Someone
with Bipolar Disorder, is a comprehensive guidebook for partners and
loved ones of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Rich with
examples, the book goes beyond manic and depressive symptoms to address
the often unpredictable spectrum experienced with a bipolar disorder
diagnosis. The authors cover an exhaustive, but accurate, list of
symptoms that will undoubtedly have most readers of this book nodding
their heads in agreement, and perhaps relief, in seeing their own
experiences in print.
In 1995, Julie Fast was herself diagnosed with rapid cycling bipolar II
disorder. She brings her personal experience to every page of this book.
The information presented is straightforward and does not sugarcoat the
frustration and fatigue which can be felt by a partner when “for
better or worse” seems to include an unfair amount of the latter.
Fast and Preston outline the effects of bipolar symptoms on money,
occupation, and sex in a frank, in-depth manner. Their advice for loved
ones in walking in tandem with their partners on this journey is honest
and directive. This is not a book about theory. It is a
“how-to” manual, and it is brilliant in its attention to
detail and the sheer volume of resources it contains. Treatment options,
detailed information on medication, and a focus on “what
works” make this book an invaluable source of knowledge.
Dr. John Preston is the coauthor of everal books in my library.
Clinical Psychopharmacology Made Ridiculously Simple and Handbook of
Clinical Psychopharmacology for Therapists. He demystifies the complex
world of medications for the layperson, and this book offers his usual
easy-to-read, understandable style.
Content aside, there is an air of compassion throughout. Fast knows
this topic from the inside out. There are no holds barred when it comes
to frank discussion of reluctance to take medication properly, for
example, however, for every barrier presented the authors offer several
concrete options to conquer the challenge and move on. As harrowing as
some of the examples may be, there are stories of hope and joy. As I
read this book, I found myself applying some of its ideas to other
issues faced by couples in my practice—addiction, for example.
This book will be one I refer back to and recommend to my clients.