Category Archive: Bipolar

Apr 14

Early Intervention Can Prevent Episodes

Early intervention can prevent episodes of depression or hypomania or mania. This is not always the case but most of the people that we work with find that it is helpful to go through a process of systematically identifying possible early warning signs of an episode and working with a friend or partner to come …

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Apr 13

Cognitive Recovery from Mania

Cognitive recovery from mania or depression seems to lack behind the improvement in mood symptoms. In our experience full cognitive recovery may take up to three months after the mood symptoms have remitted. One way of thinking about this is that an episode of mania, or depression, upsets the normal function of the brain and …

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Apr 10

Smartphone Apps for Bipolar

How good are smartphone apps for bipolar? A 2015 journal article provides details of a careful review of 82 apps providing either information or tracking tools. There were a range of resources available… 32 apps provided information 35 apps offered symptom monitoring 10 apps included screening and assessment tools 4 apps offered community support 1 …

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Apr 07

Support a Loved One with Bipolar – Gina

Many family members I speak with struggle with the question of how to best support a loved one with bipolar. As a loved one, it can be incredibly stressful to battle with unknowns, one’s own anxiety and feelings of helplessness. People are understandably eager for information that can equip them with tools to help. I have …

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Apr 05

Mania Warning Signs in the Eyes – Gina

Recognizing Mania Warning Signs, Even in the Eyes Knowing and understanding warning signs of depression, hypomania and mania can be crucial in accessing the resources and supports needed at different times in your life. Warning signs can vary across individuals but there are also many warning signs that are thought to be more universal such …

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Apr 03

Pace Yourself for More Manageable Moods

I have been doing a lot of thinking about how to pace yourself so that you can capture some of the energy and creativity associated with being mildly energized while not getting so involved that you burn out or edge into full-fledged mania. There’s nothing quite so exciting as entering a time of increased energy …

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Apr 01

Support Groups for Bipolar

  Support groups for bipolar seem like such a good idea. There are so many questions and it is hard to find good sources of information. Family and friends can be a resource, but they may not understand the challenges of living with mood instability. Professionals (a therapist or psychiatrist) can help, but they are not …

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Mar 29

Celebrating World Bipolar Day 2017

  On March 30, 2017 we will be celebrating World Bipolar Day as a platform to provide global education, open dialogue and improved sensitivity about bipolar disorder. Stigma can play a huge role in access to care, and the way an illness can impact our relationships, work and engagement in the world. World Bipolar Day …

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Mar 08

Mixed Depression and Anxiety or Bipolar ?

A young man who recently graduated from chiropractic school came in for a second opinion. He has had a many year history of depressive episodes with prominent anxiety symptoms. Is this mixed depression and anxiety? This past summer, he went to see a new psychiatrist to get help with another episode of depression. The psychiatrist started …

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Mar 02

Recovery from Bipolar

Recovery from Bipolar

Planning for Recovery from Bipolar I recently came across a great account from a man living with Bipolar Disorder, Steven Propst. In an insightful and direct way, he describes what recovery has looked like for him and helpful steps in finding it for yourself. By examining the importance of accepting his diagnosis, gathering information to …

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Feb 26

Factors Linked to Bipolar Cycle Acceleration – Arnrow

  Factors Linked to Bipolar Cycle Acceleration– Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim conducted a study consisting of 210 participants (53.3% women) with bipolar I (68.1%) and bipolar II (31.9%)  to identify factors linked to bipolar cycle acceleration (rapid cycling). They found the following factors (listed in order of importance): Severity of episodes …

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Feb 24

Bipolar Downshifting – Suzy B

bipolar angry parisian woman

She wakes up from a fitful sleep and within an instant knows the day will be hard. Lying on the bed for a moment she stares at the bathroom door. It’s the first port of call, but for what? Because that’s what you do. You go to the bathroom and prepare for the day before …

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Feb 18

Bipolar 101 – The Basics and Beyond

Bipolar 101, an online course hosted by Gateway Psychiatric begins March 17, 2017: Bipolar 101 – The Basics and Beyond. The class is based on the acclaimed Barcelona Bipolar Disorders Program. Bipolar 101 – An online course will cover topics such as: “What is Bipolar?” – What do we know about the causes and what are …

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Feb 11

Loving Someone Bipolar

Loving someone bipolar can seem like an overwhelming challenge at times. A quick survey of the internet combined with years of conversations with loved ones struggling to navigate the sometimes stormy waters, yields a great diversity of perspectives. Julie Fast, a well known bipolar writer, describes her experience living with her partner during a manic …

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Feb 09

Psychopharmacologist

I am not a psychopharmacologist. A patient who I have been seeing for almost a year and who has been depressed throughout that period came in to see me today and we talked about her mood over the last couple of months. She has been markedly less depressed, and I was congratulating myself on the …

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Jan 26

Dangers of Mania

A cheerful young woman comes in for a consultation and soon we come to a topic that can be remarkably frustrating for all: trying to explain the dangers of mania. She is only mildly manic. It’s true she often gets into arguments that don’t really make much sense and she has been smoking more marijuana …

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Jan 24

Darkness Treats Mania?

Bright light is one of the most rapidly effective treatments for depression and may be helpful for depression even in people without a clear seasonal pattern (winter depression). A recent study suggests that it may also be true that darkness treats mania. The portion of the light spectrum that affects circadian rhythms the most strongly …

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Jan 07

Why Do I Have To Have a Regular Schedule?

“Why do I have to have a regular schedule” was the lurking question that hung over my conversation with Ann. She didn’t actually ask me that question but I could see that there was a rebellious child hiding in the corner of the room who was making the conversation we were having about getting regular …

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Nov 20

Hamster Brain

A young woman who has been making good progress tackling the problem of severe depressive episodes suddenly is having trouble managing the opposite end of the mood spectrum.  She gets energized and is consumed with getting stuff done. She is unable to stop until she is exhausted and she crashes. I call this state of mind “hamster mind” …

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Oct 31

4 Ways You Can Help a Loved One Cope with Addiction and Mental Illness

Mental illness and addiction co-occur more than some people may think. People with a mental illness are more likely to abuse substances while those with addictions are likely to either develop the symptoms of a mental illness or a full-blown mental illness. If there is someone in your life struggling with these two problems here …

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