Mania and Nitrated Meats – Nancy

A recent study has found some evidence of a link between mania and nitrated meats (meat sticks, beef jerky, turkey jerky, and possibly other foods such as hot dogs).  Research in bipolar has focused on genetic links, but diet is also thought to have significant impacts on mood disorders.  The new study is quite small and used survey data followed …

Making A Daily Plan

Making A Daily Plan

Consider the value of “boring”. Steve Jobs reportedly once said “I’m a big believer in boredom” –meaning maybe that if life is quiet and predictable enough you may have time to think, time to daydream, and time to make new decisions and choices. For people living with bipolar, boring can be a tough goal.  But structure is everything when it …

circadian rhythm

Circadian Rhythms – Nancy

A new study from the UK has shown that disruption in the daily rhythms (circadian rhythms) of work and rest is clearly linked to mood disorders and major depression, as well as other concerns: lower subjective happiness, feelings of loneliness, and mood instability. Circadian rhythms are the natural paths our lives take, with patterns of work during daylight hours and …

Famous People

Famous Bipolar People – Nancy

Why are there so many famous bipolar people? Will a diagnosis of bipolar make you famous?  Probably not, at least not immediately.  Nonetheless, it is a reality that a surprising number of famous people, contemporary and historical have a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of bipolar. Winston Churchill, Isaac Newton, Ernest Hemingway, and other household names are included in this inventory.  …

what is a manic episode

What is a manic episode? – Nancy

What is a manic episode?  Recognizing a true manic episode is critical to the diagnosis of bipolar 1 disorder.  It is not merely feeling energetic, or high-spirited.  During a manic episode, one may not be able to work, may avoid or seem fearful of family members and other close associates, and may require hospitalization.  Similar, but at a milder level, …

stigma in mental illness

Stigma in Mental Illness – Nancy

An interesting opinion piece in the New York Times this past week highlights unintended consequences of the ways in which we talk about mental illness and the strategies we use to reduce stigma around it. Dr. Lisa Pryor, a mental health care practitioner in Australia comments that increasing discussion, publicity and stigma reduction around “moderate” mental illnesses like anxiety and …

Breastfeeding and Mood – Nancy

A young mother noticed a relationship between breastfeeding and mood. as she begins to wean her son from breast-feeding she is experiencing a return of occasional irritability which disappeared towards the end of her pregnancy. We know that there is a strong effect of breast-feeding on many hormone levels and thought we would check into the literature. What does the …

Checking Up Versus Building Intimacy

Moodsurfing has often focused on improving the quality of intimate relationships, in a therapy session today I explored with a young woman the difference between checking up on her partner and building a more intimate and connected relationship. Early in a relationship it is pretty common to have anxiety about the other person. Are they really committed to the relationship, …

internet addiction

Internet Addiction Increases Suicidality – Nancy

Internet addiction increases suicidality, according to a recent meta-analysis that looks at 25 published studies on the topic.  Definitions of internet addiction, and other related disorders such as internet gaming disorder are still in flux, and the subject of much debate, but the broad outlines of a serious disorder are gradually being filled in. Several studies have documented links between …

pregnancy and depression

Pregnancy and Depression

Bipolar Network News just published a set of articles on pregnancy and depression which are a useful update of the research in this important area. Other recent articles on moodsurfing about pregnancy include one by Nancy on apps for depression in pregnancy, an article summarizing a controversial study suggesting a link between antidepressants in pregnancy and autism, an article on the subject …

Undiagnosed Hypomania

Undiagnosed Hypomania – Nancy

How big a problem is undiagnosed hypomania?  By some estimates as many as 50% of people being treated for depression may have hypomania (similar to mania, but milder) episodes as well. A recent article in Psychiatric Times encourages doctors to maintain an increased level of suspicion about the possibility of hypomania in patients who are receiving treatment for a range …

Present Moment Awareness with ACT

Present Moment Awareness with ACT – Nancy

Present Moment Awareness in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a way of learning to live outside of your head.  So often we spend time and energy thinking about how we wish our situation was, or (even more often) trying to avoid thinking about how it isn’t what we wish it was. ACT encourages us to start by Accepting what …

Depression Increasing

Depression Increasing – Nancy

Is depression increasing? Major depression diagnoses have risen by as much as 33% according to a report by insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield.  These numbers may be under-reports since they do not include the uninsured, and even among insured people there is significant under-diagnosis. Particularly concerning is the rise in depression among adolescents and young adults. Rates have increased as much …

Resistance Training

Resistance Training for Depression – Nancy

Exercise is good for depression, but what kind of exercise is better and how well does it work, is resistance training better than aerobic exercise? The prestigious journal JAMA Psychiatry has published a lengthy meta-analysis of 33 studies looking into the effectiveness of resistance training (RET) in reducing depressive symptoms.  RET includes exercises such as weight training, push ups, etc., …

Motivation to Exercise

Motivation to Exercise Tips and Studies – Nancy

Exercise is good for you but how to find the motivation to exercise? Exercise helps you live longer, defeat depression, eat healthier, and just generally feel better.  But it’s not easy to get going.  Everybody pretty much knows that, too.  Exercise takes motivation that is hard to maintain, and you have to keep exercising, not just do it every once …

absence of posts

Absence of Posts

Several long time followers of moodsurfing have noticed the absence of posts written by me on this site. This is not due to a lack of concern or interest. In fact, for the last three months I have been writing a workbook with Gina focused on helping people with bipolar two, cyclothymia and other bipolar disorders (not bipolar one). Some …

functional symptoms

Physical Symptoms without Physical Disease – Nancy

A new website designed for people experiencing physical symptoms that are not traceable to physical disease offers clear, scientific information, and also hope for those patients who sometimes spend years in the medical system trying to get relief for pain and other symptoms only to be told that nothing is wrong. The site refers to these symptoms as “functional symptoms.” …

Probiotics – Nancy

Probiotics may reduce re-hospitalization rates for acute mania episodes. In a small, but well-designed study researchers have found a clear effect of administration of certain strains of probiotics in reducing re-hospitalization for patients who have been hospitalized for acute mania.  The probiotics did not have an effect on mood, but there was a significant reduction of re-hospitalization for patients receiving …