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 …

Insurance Coverage of TMS for Bipolar Depression

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 …

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 …

Can Smiling Make You Happier?

Can smiling make you happier?  A long held folk belief holds that if you smile even when you don’t feel happy, the act of smiling itself will lift your spirits, and conversely, frowning makes you feel worse.  A 1998 study asked volunteers to hold a pencil between their teeth in such a way that their mouths were forced into a …

Stress and the Red Zone

How much stress are you undergoing?  And how much effect does it have on your life? Stress is a multidimensional feature of chronic illness.  It can affect mood swings, blood sugar levels, weight gain or loss, inflammation and other problems.  And stress can sneak up on you without warning. We all live with stressors in the modern world, and we …

Disclosure or “Coming Out” about a Mental Illness

Privacy is a big issue nowadays, with everything we post online being available to the whole world forever, and stigma about mental illness is a painful reality for everyone.  Even so, many people think carefully about disclosing some information about their diagnosis to others, both on- and off-line. Should you “come out” about a mental illness diagnosis?  What will happen?  …

CBT is Better for Insomnia than Drugs

Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) shows better results than medication for overcoming insomnia in a meta-analysis of 13 studies conducted over the past 30 years.  Generally, after 4 to 6 sessions of CBT training patients reported medium-to-large positive effects on their sleep, and the improvements were maintained for three to twelve months post treatment. In the U.K., where this study was …

Delayed Gratification and Mental Illness

Will you take $75 now or $100 three days from now?  In the fields of economics and psychology, (and the new field of economic psychology) the choice is called “delay discounting” although many people may be more familiar with the term “delayed gratification”.  The two terms are opposites; delayed gratification means you will wait for the larger reward even if …

What Does Hypomania Feel Like?

What does hypomania feel like?  A Moodsurfing reader recommends this You Tube presentation because, he said: “I found this video refreshing due to her very detailed description of what it feels like going through the various episodes.” Imogene Walters, working in London, has made several videos about bipolar, including one about suicidal feelings, and she speaks directly and meaningfully to …

Psychological Effects of Global Warming

Global Warming.  Climate change. Hurricanes and wildfires. More and more people are showing evidence of deteriorated or threatened mental health because of the terrifying threats posed by our changing environment. In a recent TED Talk, science writer Britt Wray noted that she is encountering more and more people who are losing psychological health because of fears of climate change.  Those …

Famous Women with Bipolar

Our friends at BPHope have done it again!  A new post showing “Five Famous Females who are crushing stigma” gives us thumbnails of five interesting celebrities with bipolar, and only one of them has already been profiled on Moodsurfing: Demi Lovato. The others are three actors and a news anchor, all of whom are talking publicly about their diagnoses and …

Men and Depression

Dr. Jed Diamond has a website called Men Alive that looks at men’s health in new ways.  Depression, stress management, anger and love are all life experiences that play out very differently for men and for women.  Yet depression, in particular is often viewed as a “women’s” problem, and notably more than twice as many women as men are diagnosed …

Going to the Beach to Relieve Depression?

How about if there was scientific evidence to support the notion that a sauna, or a nice, hot bath, or spending time lying in the sun on the beach is good for your mental health?  Moodsurfing is always on the alert for evidence related to alternative treatments such as music, meditation, and nutritional supplements, so this article caught our collective …

Screen Time, Teenagers, and Depression

Is there a link between teenagers’ use of electronic devises and depression? Well, it’s complicated. A new study analyzing data from high school students in Montreal has found a significant link between increased “screen time” and an increase in depressive symptoms.  Interestingly, the increase in depression is linked to television and social media use, but not to video gaming.  Researchers …

Six Ways to Build Stability in an Anxiety-Inducing World

Anxiety is a reality of our times.  Sometimes it comes as a vicious attack with no clear cause, and sometimes it’s raised by the news on TV or the news from neighbors, friends and our own kids, parents, and partners.  Whatever brings it on, battling anxiety can be a lonely struggle, often with no end in sight. In an anxiety-ridden …

Insomnia and Technology: Helpful or Not?

Sleep and insomnia are one of the most posted topics on Moodsurfing!  Just try typing “sleep” onto our search box and see how many posts come up.  Sleep is one of the basic building blocks of health and management of mood swings.  And sleep is problematic for many, many people. So what is the best way to deal with insomnia?  …

What’s Wrong with the Chemical Imbalance Theory?

A thoughtful personal reflection in the New York Times about living with bipolar may be of interest to Moodsurfing readers.  The author describes passing through a range of beliefs about mental illness and wellness, from a feeling of stigma about not being able to “snap out of it” to a sense of comfort engendered by a more “biological” paradigm.  Later, …

Six Important Things to Manage Bipolar

Here’s an interview published by the website BP Hope, a colleague site of Moodsurfing.  This expert researcher who also experiences mood disorder gives her top six coping strategies for dealing with bipolar.  Her insights are both sharp and encouraging: there is a lot anyone can really do to make a life with bipolar be a better life. Kay Redfield Jamison, …