Tag Archive: anxiety

Apr 16

The Science of Slow Breathing

In an April 5, 2017 article in the New York Times, Gretchen Reynolds reviews new research on the science of slow breathing and how this ancient technique may work to promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, and prevent panic attacks. The technique of controlled breathing or pranayama (प्राणायाम) is referred to in the Bhagavad Gita, and thus …

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Mar 12

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Part 3: Present Moment Awareness

I hope you have a few minutes to engage in a few exercises with me…. First, I’d like you to take 1 or 2 minutes to imagine that you are sitting on a white sand beach looking at the ocean, watching the waves roll onto the shore. Set your phone timer if that would be …

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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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Nov 15

Coping with Political Uncertainty

Many of the people that I work with on a regular basis have been experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety related to the recent election results. Unfortunately, mental health professionals are no better as news analysts than the so-called professionals. I have been struggling a little bit trying to figure out what to say to …

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Nov 01

Anxiety and Bipolar

For many people with bipolar anxiety is a bigger problem than mood swings. It is not that unusual for someone with bipolar to report that their first “symptom” of a psychiatric nature was the onset of anxiety early in childhood. Let’s take a look at this information again… 90% of people with bipolar have an anxiety …

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Oct 12

Potential Catastrophe

What to do when catastrophe seems to loom just around the corner? Many people are having trouble getting to sleep these days.  They’re worried about a possible catastrophe emerging after the US Presidential Election. This seems like a good time to review what we know about situations where there is the potential for something really bad …

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Apr 13

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Part 1: Acceptance and Willingness

I recently attended the Anxiety and Depression Association of America conference in Philadelphia, where I offered a two-hour workshop on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and deepening experiential practices in ACT sessions (largely based on the book The Big Book of ACT Metaphors: A Practitioner’s Guide to Experiential Exercises and Metaphors in Acceptance and Commitment …

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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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Oct 17

Centering

Centering

Feeling scattered and distracted is such a common experience in our lives these days. Rick Hanson talks about getting centered in today’s post in his Just One Thing series. If you are feeling scattered, take one moment to be aware of your body as you take a long, slow breath, or think about something you feel …

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Aug 05

St. John’s Wort for Depression

st. john's wort for depression

A recently published study raises questions about whether the natural supplement St. John’s wort is actually associated with fewer adverse effects than commonly prescribed SSRIs. Living in the Bay Area it is common for me to run into a strong conviction that any natural supplement is bound to be safer than any manufactured medication. Perhaps …

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May 30

Herd Instinct in Humans

Herd Instinct in Humans: The Source of Anxiety and Depression? Jeffrey Kahn has written a fascinating book (Angst: Origins of Anxiety and Depression in Oxford Press) suggesting an evolutionary source for much of human psychopathology. He gave a Grand Rounds presentation at UCLA in February of 2015 that outlined some of his theories and that …

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Jan 18

Through the looking glass 2 – Meeting the Therapist

The last blog posted some three hours ago jumped over this one, much as thoughts are given to do in my head. This, in fact is a description of me meeting the therapist for the first time. My earnest apologies. Maestro, the music if you please. …My wife, caught up in a Maelstrom of hypomania, seeks and …

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Sep 07

Treating Anxiety – An Update by Kelsey

Treating Anxiety - The Role of Exposure Therapy

Treating anxiety is an important part of working with people with depression or bipolar. This update focuses on changes that have taken place in the field in the last five years that might be relevant to many people dealing with depression and anxiety. Imagine that you are taking a nice, peaceful walk in the woods. It …

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Aug 16

Accepting Uncertainty

We are often trapped more by what we think about how things should be, or “have to be,” than by the reality of the challenges we face.  This week I have been noticing how often the phrase “I can’t stand.XX” precedes a statement that is quite obviously not true.  Someone who has been living with the …

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Apr 02

Quitting Smoking Improves Mood

smoking

A study published in the British Medical Journal reports that quitting smoking had a simillar positive effect on mood as an antidepressant. The researchers did an analysis of 26 studies using a technique called a “meta-analysis” and looked at changes in mental health (anxiety, depression, mixed anxiety and depression, quality of life, positive affect, and stress) …

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Feb 24

Medications for Anxiety

A writer we have been seeing for about a year for depression and bipolar sent me an email yesterday – “I need something for my anxiety…” Often anxiety is the symptom that is of greatest concern to people who have bipolar or depression. Working through my thought process as I tried to come up with …

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Feb 03

Media Makes PTSD Much Worse

  It was a sunny October day in 1989. Game 3 of the Battle of the Bay baseball World Series between Oakland and San Francisco. Then the largest earthquake in almost a hundred years hit the bay area. I was, as it happens, in my therapist’s office, my wife was at work. I rushed home …

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Jan 26

Reduce Your Social Stress

Regular readers of this blog know that I really like the writings of Rick Hanson (he has a wonderful email list called “Just One Thing” and a new book that is an excellent resource for personal transformation called Hardwiring Happiness). For the last couple of months, however, his posts have seemed a bit repetitive. Just …

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Oct 08

Therapy for Anxiety in Bipolar

Anxiety is very common in people with bipolar moods. In fact, anxiety is typically the first sign of mental health problems (often it is present in childhood) for people who later develop bipolar. As a psychiatrist, I am aware that we have fewer useful long term treatments for anxiety in bipolar than we do for …

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Oct 04

A Deep Shadowy Fear

Most of us have had the feeling that, deep in the recesses of our brain, there lurks some terrible secret or event, some deeply frightening, or even terrifying memory or experience. For some of us there may, indeed, be a past trauma and a repressed childhood memory. But the rest of us are left to …

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