Tag Archive: recommended

Jul 24

Mood Charting Part 1

“My medications work for a while and then they just stop working…” “I have tried everything and nothing works…” “I have been in treatment forever but I just never seem to get better…” In our experience these very common concerns are often symptoms of an everyday problem in psychiatric treatment of mood disorders: it is …

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Mar 26

Yoga for Mood and Health

Many of our patients with chronic mood disorders report that beginning yoga and doing it consistently has been associated with periods of remarkable stability. There are studies supporting yoga as an evidence based approach to the treatment of depression. But it is hard to figure out where to begin. At the end of this page …

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Mar 02

Bipolar Advantage: Has Bipolar Made You a Better Person?

I ran across this intriguing post while surfing the world of bipolar blogs…. I would love to get comments and responses… Maybe you agree, or disagree. Let me know – add a comment to this post or send me an email at peter@moodsurfing.com. [This introduction is quoted with permission but to read the rest you …

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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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Jan 18

Blog for Mental Health 2014

One of the benefits of blogging is that you run into interesting people and ideas. If you blog on WordPress you also get regular information about others who are doing the same thing. This past week I learned about a group of bloggers who are all working to reduce stigma and increase understanding of mental …

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Dec 03

Bay Area Bipolar Educational Group

Dr. Descartes Li (see interview in our “Conversations” section) is starting another Psycho-Educational Group for Bipolar Disorder this spring. We are happy to encourage all readers in the Bay Area to find out more information about these excellent groups. The group is an especially good option if you still suffer from mood swings, or have questions …

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Nov 28

Sleep Therapy and Depression

What would you do if you could double the effectiveness of your antidepressants? Let’s say that this new treatment also had no known side effects, and was completely safe. That is what four studies have suggested could happen if people who were started on antidepressants received cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTi). However, this treatment …

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Nov 11

Learn How to Hardwire Happiness

As many of you know, I am a big fan of the new book, Hardwiring Happiness. One of the blog’s readers sent me this link to an upcoming class by the author – http://www.bayareascience.org/calendar/index.php?com=detail&eID=10743 The class is this coming Saturday, and should be a GREAT experience. If you go I would love to hear from …

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Nov 03

Winter Leads to Spring

Someone shared with us a wonderful video about John O’Donohue, a Celtic poet, philosopher and writer. In it we found this quote that resonated very much with our experience. It is about winter. And depression. And how life blossoms from the seeming dreariness of a period of fallowness. We think you might appreciate it. If …

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Oct 23

Hardwiring Happiness

Sometimes it is simple ideas that resonate the most powerfully with our psyches.  This week I have found myself, again and again, thinking about the fairly simple but quite elegantly described ideas in the book Hard Wiring Happiness. I should probably admit that I’ve only gotten about half way through the book, but even so, …

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Sep 30

Cognition Enhancing Apps

An experimental computer program is associated with improved attention and working memory in people over age 60, even 6 months after training. Somewhat fuzzy-brained after a poor night of sleep I ran across this summary of a paper that was just published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature (Anguera JA et al., Nature 2013 Sep 5; 501:97). Where could …

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Sep 20

Online Resources: Links and Apps Update

The very useful listserve of the Northern California Cognitive Behavioral Therapy association has had a great thread about favorite apps for mental health. We took advantage of the opportunity to update the page entitled “Links and Apps” with some more options. Here is an unedited list of the favorites from that group… note that this …

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Jul 12

Brain Power

Problems with memory are common for people with depression (and the rest of us, as we age, as well). Although the most important thing to do to improve brain function is to address mood extremes, there are often residual problems, and sometimes there are negative brain effects from the medications that help stabilize mood. A …

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Apr 09

Iron for PMS

A recent study suggested that women who consumed higher amounts of iron (from plant not animal sources) had a lower rate of premenstrual symptoms. Those who consumed more than 20 milligrams per day had about a 30% reduction in PMS symptoms compared with those who consumed less than the average amount  (average intake of 9.4 …

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Apr 03

New Spouse by Friday

I’ve been working with a very successful attorney who has been struggling to find a way of staying in his marriage for a couple of years. The heart of the problem is that his wife had a serious health problem (which is now resolved), but through the process of dealing with this health problem she  became depressed and …

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Mar 27

Escape from Depression

I met a young woman yesterday who got me thinking about the reasons why I feel so strongly about the work I do as a psychiatrist, helping people with chronic mood problems. She came in for help with what she described as a “mild but chronic depression.” She had already seen one psychiatrist, and he …

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Mar 25

St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort is a plant which has been shown in many well controlled clinical trials to be more effective than placebo in treating mild to moderate depression (not transient sadness). In fact the evidence supporting its effectiveness is better than the evidence supporting the effectiveness of some FDA approved anti-depressants.  It does not, in …

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Mar 13

Small Rewards

A young woman who was scheduled to go on a big trek in the Himalayas was not doing the training she needed to in order to have a good experience. She had been depressed for the last few months and this was probably a manifestation of that mood. She told me that she felt she …

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Mar 11

Fish Oil Update

Since so many people with bipolar and depression take fish oil we thought we would pass on some information in a summary form from Consumer Labs. The full information is available if you subscribe. Consumer Labs is the only source of reliable information about supplements (the only place that does any testing) and if you …

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Feb 21


The New York Times recently published an intriguing article entitled “Relax, You Will Be More Effective.” It arrived at just the right time. Preparing for an upcoming vacation had made me particularly hectic. And then, while I was on vacation and writing this post, I got a blog post from MoodScope which was devoted to …

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