Tag Archive: substances

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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Apr 04

Mindfulness Based Substance Abuse Treatment Works

Relapse is common after substance abuse treatment, indicating that there is a clear need for effective followup options. A new study has found that cognitive-behavioral relapse prevention (RP) and mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP) are both effective aftercare interventions for substance abuse treatment, but that the latter may have an especially enduring effect as far as …

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Apr 02

“Hitting Bottom” and Substance Abuse Recovery

I’ve always been a bit ambivalent about the idea that sometimes, an alcohol or substance abuser needs to “hit bottom” before they can get well. For one thing, there aren’t that many people in our practice who have decided to stop drinking or using drugs as a result of a classic “hitting bottom” experience. For …

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Apr 02

Quitting Smoking Improves Mood


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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Jan 28

What about Marijuana for Depression or Bipolar Moods?

Since we practice in San Francisco, which was at the forefront of the move to decriminalize marijuana, we find that many of the people with depression or bipolar have smoked, or are smoking, marijuana as a way of treating their depression. Over the years we have developed a general impression of marijuana as a psychotropic …

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Nov 19

Herbal Supplements Often Not What They Claim

A recent study concluded that herbal supplements are often not what they claim to be. The study was published in the journal BMC Medicine and it got front-page coverage on the New York Times website. Using DNA analysis, researchers tested 44 products from a dozen companies. The DNA signatures were compared with samples obtained from horticultural greenhouses. The study …

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Sep 14

Coffee for Depression?

Feeling down? An article in Psychiatric Times suggests that drinking a couple of cups of coffee in the morning might help your mood. The study they cite found that those people who drank two or three servings of coffee per day (8 ounce cups of drip coffee – or shots of espresso) had a 50% …

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Mar 17

On the Borderline

I am writing a presentation for the UCSF Bipolar Program on the topic of the relationship between Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder and I thought I would jot down some of my thoughts in a quick post. Borderline personality disorder involves a “pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity” …

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Mar 14

Compulsions, Addictions and Secrecy

I got an urgent call yesterday from somebody that I’ve been seeing for several years.  His fiancee had just left him.  They had been having problems for several months, problems mostly rooted in his ambivalence about commitment.  She went on his cell phone and found evidence that he had been having flirtatious conversations with seven …

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Sep 02

Marijuana: Reefer Madness

Psychosis Risks with Marijuana Use This article is taken from Bipolar Network News. “At a recent conference Robin Murray, a researcher based in London, gave a talk about the potential adverse effects of tetrahydrocanabinol (THC). Considerable data indicate that chronic long-term smoking of marijuana is associated with the doubling of the risk of psychosis. Moreover, if …

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Jun 19

Changing Bad Habits: Helpful Resources

If you talk to anyone who has worked to help people with serious bad habits (smoking, sex addiction, gambling, drug use) they will probably end up mentioning the “Stages of Change” model of Prochaska. The notion that people don’t just “flip a switch” and change was pretty revolutionary at the time, and the useful notion …

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Jun 09

Smoking (Marijuana)

Lots of folks with depression and bipolar use marijuana to help feel more stable. We like to keep an open mind but we have to say we are not impressed with marijuana as a mood stabilizer. In fact, the closest thing that we can think of in terms of prescribed medications to marijuana (gabapentin or …

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