Can a Change in Diet Cure Psychological Illnesses?
Can a change in diet cure psychological illnesses? What dietary changes or interventions may be effective in treatment or management of mental or mood disorders? Diet is more than weight loss, and has been invoked, modified and studied for a wide variety of physical and mental ills and conditions. Yet there is surprisingly little hard data available to tell us what diet changes may affect our minds and our moods. A recent literature review from the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology (ASCP) looked at a range of dietary interventions and studied the evidence available for each one. The authors reviewed five models of interventions that have attracted attention in recent years: Adding something to the diet (eg vitamins or supplements)Removing ... Read More
Sleep deprivation and weight gain
Lack of sleep is associated with weight gain, but why is this? Is it just because sleep deprivation makes us grumpy and we “self-medicate” with food? People who get poor quality sleep, or not enough sleep, start craving high carbohydrate and high fat foods that are more likely to cause weight gain. And sleep deprivation makes us less likely to eat health foods, like fruits and vegetables. It turns out that this effect may be the result of alterations in the brain’s release of chemicals that are affected by cannabis – the so-called endocannabinoids. The chemistry of this process is remarkably similar to how smoking marijuana causes the “munchies.” Both sleep deprivation and smoking weed stimulate the endocannabinoid system and ... Read More
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is more than just the “blues”. Affecting up to 5% of adults in the United States, it can last as much as 40 percent of the year. SAD can cause significant impairment of normal daily activity, and can lead to deeper complications if left unaddressed. The symptoms of SAD overlap with those of major depression, but tend to occur during the winter months.  There are also some people who suffer from seasonal depression in the spring and summer months, but the majority experience SAD when the available sunlight is less. [In San Francisco some people with winter SAD will have a period of increased symptoms in July or August when the fog is particularly bad]. Symptoms ... Read More
Is Daylight Savings Time Making You Crazy?
Daylight Savings Time (DST) is an item again, as we all try to remember “Spring forward, Fall back”. Many people complain of difficulty sleeping, or getting enough sleep, and also of depressive episodes associated with “falling back” in November. In our clinical practice, the main thing we have observed year after year, is sleep disruption, which is especially problematic for those who are already struggling with sleep patterns and/or insomnia. Our advice is: don’t make a sudden change in your sleeping or waking time. Even one hour’s change can bring disruption into your sleep pattern for up to three weeks at this time of year. Work into the time change gradually, if possible starting a few days ahead of the ... Read More
A patient represented by an attorney obtained AETNA health insurance coverage for rTMS treatment of bipolar depression.  The patient satisfied the insurer’s policy guidelines for rTMS treatment of major depression by demonstrating failed trials of 4 different medications.  Reimbursement was based on the plan’s allowed percentage of the “covered amount”.  The AETNA Appeals Decision stated: “TMS treatment is being authorized for member’s persistent symptoms of a depressive disorder and failures to make significant improvement from either psychotherapy known to be effective in the treatment of major depressive disorder and from trials of anti-depressant psychopharmacologic agents and other therapeutic interventions.” For legal help in getting an insurance company to pay for mental health care, contact Kate Spielman,, DL Law Group, (415-678-5050).  Mental Health Parity ... Read More
Mental Health Apps and Tech
Mental health care and technology As electronic devices and communications technologies take over our lives, it’s no surprise that the field of health care should also be turned inside out by the rapid changes in technology applicable to mental and physical health and health care. The American Psychiatric Association comments that the explosion of mobile apps and wearable devices for use in mental health care is “unprecedented in the history of medicine”. They have established a task force to look at how these apps and other devices and software marketed to the general public can be evaluated and tested for quality, safety, and usefulness. In the fast-moving field of mental health related apps, it is impossible to give specific ratings ... Read More

About MoodSurfing

Welcome to, the site that highlights strategies for living creatively with moods and coping with depression. This site is for people with bipolar, depression, cyclothymia, and others who experience powerful moods and want to figure out how to integrate these experiences into successful lives.

Although most of us are mental health clinicians of one kind or another, this site is not about providing people with medical or clinical advice (see below). We hope that we can help you cope with depression, maybe even allow you to live well with moods. 

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We have done a series of interviews with people who have interesting things to say about different aspects of living creatively with moods. You can find those under the heading “Conversations.


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