Category Archive: Hypomania

Apr 28

Impulsivity – Gina

Impulsivity is something everyone has experienced. We have all had moments when we have said something impulsively that we regret or have gotten carried away with an idea. Sometimes the consequences of an impulsive action are minimal.  But that is not always the case. Impulsive decision-making is more common in people with bipolar. And this increase …

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Apr 23

Bipolar Type 4

We’ve recently been re-reading some of the works of Hagop Akiskal, one of the most important writers about Bipolar of the last 50 years.  He is particularly focused on identifying sub-types of bipolar as well as exploring the relationship between bipolar and creativity.  We were particularly struck with his description of type 4 bipolar.  This …

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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 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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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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May 13

Hypomania and Success

Hypomania and Success

During the 1990s clinical psychologist John Gartner was planning on writing a book about religious movements started by manic profits, but he began to be distracted by the energy and excitement swirling around him as people became immersed in the Internet “bubble”. He decided instead to write a book about the relationship between hypomania and success …

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Jan 19

Through the Looking Glass 4 – a result

Man in school uniform

…The Becks Questionnaire II business continues. What brings it alive are the questions that Dr. Black continues to ask me throughout the test until we arrive at, what for me, is an astonishing discovery… At some point Dr. Black tells me there is a store on Martha s Vineyard, a ritzy, gentrified island off of …

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Jan 18

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS: 2 – Depression Assessment


  …I’m returning to do the test suggested by my therapist in our previous meeting – the Beck Depression Inventory II. Tremendous. Doing a test sounds like something you see in those silly magazines that tell you how good a lover you are are some such other rubbish, but apparently this test is rather serious. So I …

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Jul 08

How Mood Can Influence Events

What I do for a living often involves asking dumb questions. For example, we all know our moods are usually affected by events. In fact, if we happen to notice we’re in a bad mood, the first thing we start to do, often unconsciously, is try to figure out what caused that bad mood. It’s …

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Jun 12

Hypomania and Sensory Experience

More than a decade ago, Dr. Suzanne Black, who occasionally writes posts on this blog, got me interested in the sensory experiences associated with hypomania.In our Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the only reference to these is under the heading of “distractibility.” And, indeed, sometimes people who are experiencing intense and profound sensory experiences everywhere they look …

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Jun 03

Spring into Summer: Light and Sleep Changes

Many people have been noticing the very long days of late Spring and early Summer. There is more energy to get things done, although that energy can end up being challenged into anxiety and irritability if you aren’t careful and don’t get at least a few hours of sleep every night… I often think about …

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May 09

Mood Swings – What Causes Them?

What causes mood swings? What do we think about when someone says their mood has been “up and down?”Among the most common causes of mood shifts are the following: A mood disorder such as bipolar, or an atypical depression. Bipolar as a cause is obvious, but an atypical depression can also be associated with mood swings. …

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Mar 07

Mood Effects of Diet

One of our readers wrote to ask – Have you observed an impact of diet on mood? I feel that less carbs for example make me feel better. I’ve been experimenting with Paleo months ago. Any tips how I could explore this best? We have a fair amount of clinical experience related to this question, but …

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Sep 28

But Hypomania is Great!

Sometimes I feel like the Grinch. This past week I found myself in the uncomfortable position of suggesting that it might be good to moderate the hypomania one of my patients was experiencing. I also got a somewhat frantic call from the therapist of another mutual patient, the therapist was asking, “how does this end… …

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Aug 24

Mood and Reality: Mood’s Ability to Shape Perception and Interactions

We have been thinking for a while about how mood powerfully creates our reality. And how hard it is to hold on to a consistent sense of the world as moods change. Mood affects what we notice and remember and how we see it. It also affects where our thoughts naturally tend to go. We …

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Aug 12

Bipolar Brains

After years of trying, a group of researchers down at UCLA (led by Lori Altshuler) may have succeeded in identifying important changes in brain function that are associated with bipolar moods. They have found two specific areas of the brain that show pretty consistent changes associated with bipolar. One area (the orbitofrontal cortex) is generally …

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Jul 26

Watch the Mood Waves

One of the best ways of helping people MoodSurfing successfully is to look closely at the shape of their mood waves. Often when we talk to someone about this idea they are perplexed. Waves are waves right? If you have a depression wave then you should do one thing and if you have a manic …

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Jul 15

Kay Jamison

If you do much thinking about moods and how they affect us, you eventually run into Kay Jamison. She has dedicated her life to understanding mood and its impact on us. She teaches at Johns Hopkins, but she is not just an academic, she is also a brilliant writer and compelling lecturer. She is the …

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Jul 11

Mood and Food

Many people have an intuitive sense that a good diet is a foundation stone of good mental health. We don’t disagree, although the evidence for dietary manipulation’s effectiveness is not overwhelming. There are a couple of things that we have noticed over the years about food and its effect on mood that might be useful …

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