Sweet Moods? Sugar and mood, a constant dietary struggle. The body learns that reaching for a sweet treat brings energy, alertness and low anxiety. Somehow it doesn’t learn that the crash will inevitably follow. There is now a small literature that supports the common sense observation that simple carbohydrates, like sugar and white flour, have effects that are somewhat akin to the effects of anti-anxiety medications like Valium (diazepam), Ativan (lorazepam), and similar meds. Right after eating a high carbohydrate food there is a sense of relaxation because sugar activates our body’s reward system. That may be why folks with lots of anxiety and stress naturally turn to these foods as snacks when they are under pressure. They work. Unfortunately, ... Read More
Passive tracking of vocal and behavioral indicators of symptoms via a smartphone app can be an effective way to improve depression in a time-sensitive and accurate fashion. A recent randomized clinical trial compared the use of an app to track indicators with “usual” care for depression, and, although the sample size is small, the results are very promising. For the 6-month study duration, the application passively collected metadata on smartphone use, including SMS logs, call logs, and geolocation data. Metadata were analyzed against the criteria for depression and posttraumatic stress disorder. The app also tracked social connection, and data about how active each person was. Participants could also leave short audio recordings on the app, which allowed voice analysis and ... Read More
How much sleep is enough? The question might seem simple. Most of us heard that we were supposed to get about 8 hours of sleep a night. But with the increasingly hectic pace of modern life, many of us don’t get that much sleep. What are the consequences of this? A recent study in a cardiology journal answers the question from the standpoint of your cardiovascular system. The authors followed 500,000 adults between 40 and 69 years of age who did not have heart or blood pressure problems for 7 years. They found that self-reported regular sleep of less than 6 hours per day was associated with a 20 percent increase in the relative risk of a heart attack. They ... Read More
Blue light therapy is another interesting frontier of neurological studies. A recent study looked at the use of blue light therapy for patients with mild traumatic brain injury. In this randomized control trial, exposure to blue light helped study participants to improve their sleep patterns, and unexpectedly, showed actual improvements in brain structure, possibly because of better timing and quality of sleep, which can be a problem in recovery from brain injury. Trial participants in the blue light group experienced reduced daytime sleepiness, which is a frequent problem with brain injury, even mild concussion. This group also experienced almost an hour earlier sleep onset times than the control group, meaning they had less trouble falling asleep at bedtime. Compared with ... Read More
Are you contemplating a significant lifestyle change this year? Quitting smoking for good, or really getting fit, not just losing a few pounds and gaining them back later? Research shows that making real changes in life is not just a matter of motivation, commitment, or not being “lazy”. Change requires skills and knowledge that can be learned and applied for successfully carrying out the most rigorous of New Year’s resolutions. In his 2016 book Changing to Thrive, James Prochaska summarizes his 40 years of research into change processes that really work for people’s lives. He identifies five stages that people go through when making a successful lifestyle change: Precontemplation (Not Ready for Change) – People aren’t planning on taking action ... Read More
Disrupted sleep rhythms often increase mood instability. And, sleep and insomnia are some of the most frequently cited problems of people seeking help for mood disorders. But what works to help you sleep better and more restfully? Sleep Medicines Aren’t the Answer Generally, research has shown that most frequently prescribed medications are not very helpful – they may lengthen sleep times by only about 15 – 20 minutes per night and often reduce deep sleep. The reason people feel they work may have more to do with the fact that they disrupt memory, so we don’t recall the periods of wakefulness at night, than with their effects on sleep. A Specific Type of Therapy is Helpful Cognitive Behavior Therapy for ... Read More
Welcome to MoodSurfing.com, 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.
If you like what you see here, be sure to sign up to get updated with new posts.
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.”
This site is not designed to and does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to you or to any other individual. Through this site and linkages to other sites, Moodsurfing provides general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this site, or through linkages to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation or the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider. Moodsurfing is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or product you obtain through this site.
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