Julie Fast, an author and expert on bipolar disorder, explains four steps to stabilize your mood and combat depression and mania.

On HealthPlace.com's youtube videos, Fast shares her tools for mood stability and other important tips for living with bipolar disorder.

"You can have a much higher quality of life, there is no question about it. It takes work and sometimes takes years, but you can start and it's definitely possible, " said Fast.

The process begins with finding the right doctor. Unfortunately this can be a great obstacle as the primary course of action requires a screening by a general physician not formerly trained in psychology but expected to diagnose.

Bradley Gaynes, M.D., M.P.H, associate professor of psychiatry at UNC, said for those "who suffer from depression and anxiety-related mental health disorders never receive treatment because they don't understand what's wrong, and when they go to their family doctor these treatable illnesses are too often missed."

Fast's four-step plan to mood stability includes:

Step 1: Medication (work with your physician to get it right, many drugs have side effects that can be avoided with other options)
Step 2: Lifestyle changes (take a look at your daily life, give up the addictions)
Step 3: Behavioral modification (get positive, look to the future)
Step 4: Ask for help (share with friends and family, get comfortable with them acknowledging your depressive or manic actions, reactions)

Listen to Fast explain all of her "Tools for mood stability" (video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNwsHR9f3HA&NR=1

The 4-step plan to mood stability in greater detail (video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iaMOT9HZFU&feature=related