Category Archive: Other Conditions

Nov 06

Psychotic Experiences in Normal People

Worldwide Study Finds some People without Mental Illness Report “Psychotic” Experiences Psychiatrists tend to assume that certain experiences are a clear sign of mental illness. These experiences include psychotic experiences such as hallucinations (hearing voices, seeing visions) and delusions (beliefs that are contrary to “consensual reality” for example the belief that one is being plotted against, …

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Aug 08

Jet Lag Explained

What is “jet lag” and why do most people feel worse when they travel around the globe in one direction, rather than the other? An article in the journal Chaos, summarized in the New York Times, suggests an answer. And offers some hope that you can reduce the severity and duration of the symptoms. For …

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Apr 05

Secrets are Dangerous

A young, attractive, and very successful man who recently got married came in to see me the other day and told me that he was in recovery from sex addiction. That caught my attention and, I have to admit, living as I do in a very mental health oriented world, made me wonder if this …

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Mar 11

TV Watching Leads to Impaired Cognition

How can we build up foundational, long-lasting healthy habits while young? We know it’s important—a perennial question, if not one we face day-to-day. By building those habits early on, we can set ourselves up for healthier living long-term, and place our children on a better track for a healthier, more positive adolescence and early adulthood. …

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Mar 09

Insomnia Causes the Munchies

Insomnia and the Munchies

In an article that appeared in the journal SLEEP in February, 2016, and which was summarized in a New York Times post entitled “Poor Sleep Gives You the Munchies,” researchers report that one way that poor sleep and insomnia may lead to weight gain is that insomnia increases activity of the endocannabinoid system in the …

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Feb 13

Hidden Psychosis

hidden psychosis

In the last six months I’ve had a couple of experiences that I’m still trying to make a sense of. Two very bright and personable women who seemed to have everything going for them, who both have bipolar, revealed to me that they have been suffering from severe symptoms that they had not told me about, symptoms …

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Feb 10

Adult ADHD

Adult ADHD May Be Distinct From Childhood ADHD Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children may be distinct from and unrelated to ADHD in adults, according to a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry. It is long been understood that adult ADHD is the natural extension of childhood onset ADHD. In other words that adults with …

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Feb 08

Psychopharmacology and Psychobiology

The wonderful thing about having two blogs ( and is that there are two sets of readers for the articles that I post. The problem is that sometimes I’m much more prolific in one area or another. For whatever reason, I have been writing more regularly on the Gateway Psychiatric website, which is where …

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Jan 22

Antidepressants in Pregnancy and Autism

Antidepressants in Pregnancy: Is Excess Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder Believable? Journal Watch Psychiatry editor, Allison Bryant, MD, MPH, reviewed a recent article on this topic Boukhris T et al. JAMA Pediatr 2015 Dec 14. In this study the risk for autism spectrum disorder appeared to be higher in those women who used antidepressants (especially SRIs) during late …

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Jan 19

Pregnancy and Mental Health

Pregnancy and mental health problems – how to reconcile the two – are often topics of discussion on this website and in my clinical practice. In the past we have often referred people to  Vivien K. Burt, MD, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Clinical Psychiatry and the Director of the Women’s Life Center at UCLA and the …

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Dec 03

Mood Charting for Complicated Problems

Mood Charting for Complicated Problems

Mood Charting for Complicated Problems Lucy is a single woman who is a professor of anthropology at a local university. She is in her late 30s and she was referred to me for a consultation because of a complicated set of potentially interrelated problems with cognitive impairment, sleep disruption, anxiety, depression, a seizure disorder, and migraine headaches. She’s an interesting …

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Sep 07

Omega 3 Prevents Psychosis

omega 3 prevents psychosis

The Omega – 3 supplementation story seems to take many twists and turns.   At one point, based on double blinded controlled study published by Andy Stoll, et al, from Harvard, in JAMA Psychiatry in 1999, it looked as though omega 3 fatty acids would turn out to be a very effective treatment for bipolar, …

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Aug 07

Distress Tolerance

Distress Tolerance

In A wonderful young woman we have been seeing for a few months asked for some recommendations for skills to help her deal with her experience of moments of overwhelming negative emotions that often seem to come out of nowhere. This post is a relatively quickly pulled together document derived from Marsha Linehan’s Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Think …

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May 08

Our Relationship to Pain, Matters

Chronic pain can significantly affect our lives. It can result in not being able to engage in activities we loved to do. It impacts our relationships with loved ones. The limitations brought on by pain, can lead us to question our identity and certainly our quality of life. Years ago, I worked with a gentleman (we’ll …

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Feb 15

Travel and Mood

Travel and mood are very much related. Often a trip is associated with a significant change in mood. This can be due to many factors. Getting out of a rut, experiencing new locations and meeting new people can bring you out of the depression. However there is also the possibility that travel may disrupt circadian rhythms …

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Jan 16

Sleep Fatigue and Depression

sleep fatigue and depression

Yesterday I gave a presentation at UCSF to the Mood Disorder Clinic psychiatrists and residents: An Update on Bipolar Depression.  Much of that material is focused on psychopharmacology and so I will be writing about that on the blog. However, one important pearly derives from a series of studies that identify a strong link between …

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Sep 25

Life Lived as a Bipolar – Stuart Jessiman


Introducing myself, my name is Stuart Jessiman. I’m British, I come from London and I am Bipolar. I was diagnosed in Paris five years ago after seeing a Psychologist following a particularly hypo-manic period that nearly saw the collapse of my marriage and work. People react differently when diagnosed with bipolar. Strangely, this diagnosis far from shocking me …

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Aug 25

Fatigue and Depression or Bipolar

Fatigue and Depression

Fatigue is a common symptom in people with recurrent depression or bipolar. And in fact a common symptom in the general population. It is estimated that up to 10% of otherwise healthy people suffer from fatigue. And it is a more common symptom in women than in men. Sometimes fatigue may persist well beyond other …

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Aug 11

Being Busy is an Antidote to the Terror of Being Alone

My attention was captured when I read an article that suggested that there was a common human experience that many people in our busy worlds find so disturbing that they voluntarily give themselves electric shocks in order to distract themselves from feeling it. No Time to Think. Nowadays, people can keep negative thoughts at bay …

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Jun 19

Skill Building for Psychosis

One of the very hard things about many psychiatric disorders, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, is that they often begin at a time that is critical to the development of many skills and abilities needed for successful adult life. Many years ago we visited a wonderful program in Atlanta developed for young people with schizophrenia …

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