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, …

Stress Levels in Dogs Match that of Their Owners

A recent study from Sweden has uncovered a correlation between stress levels in dogs and in their owners.  Though small, the study found some suggestive results, and the researchers believe that the dogs are mirroring levels of stress in their owners, not the other way around. The study looked at 25 border collies and 33 Shetland sheepdogs, all of them …

CBT Effective for Internet Addiction – Nancy

Internet gaming addiction is a growing concern internationally, and the number of patients complaining of serious problems that result from their uncontrolled internet use is on the rise.  A recently published study from Germany looked at Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) as a strategy to help these patients regain control of their internet use. The study took 143 men who had …

Crime and Children – Nancy

How do we teach children to be confident, compassionate and resilient?  How do we keep our kids safe without scaring them too much?  In the past generation, the USA has developed a real obsession with protecting our children from violent crime.  Many of us are old enough to remember the first appearances of pictures of missing children on milk cartons.  …

Stanford Mood Disorders Education Day

Stanford University will be hosting a Mood Disorders Education Day for families, communities and “Moodsurfers” themselves.  The event is free, including a light breakfast and lunch, but you must pre-register to attend.  Here’s the link for registration.  The organizers say that the event usually fills up quickly, so it’s better to register early.  Also, they request that you notify them …

Two Minute Meditation for Energized States – Nancy

Meditation sounds like such a good idea, but who has time?  Especially when you’re energized and it feels like the world is your oyster.  Colors are brighter and light and shadow so much richer – who has time for meditation?  And yet, it’s when we’re in those high energy states that we know risky behavior is just around the corner.  …

Attachment Behavior – Nancy

Does a stable romantic relationship give you a sense of security, or is it a source of anxiety?  Do you have a partner who gets anxious at any potential separation between the two of you?  Adult romantic relationships often reenact behaviors learned in infancy called attachment behavior. Attachment behavior theory looks at how infants develop relationships with their primary caregivers …

Gardening Therapy – Nancy

Can gardening play a role in mental health recovery and maintenance?  A growing body of evidence and experience is showing strong positive results in getting people to make a closer connection with plants and growing things as part of treatment for a wide variety of conditions.  From just taking Alzheimer’s patients on a walk through a garden to a six-month …

Anger – Nancy

Can getting angry ever be good for you?  Is anger a cause or a symptom of mental illness? Do men get angry more often than women?  Does anger always have to be a part of life? Aristotle is quoted as saying: “Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the …

Maternal Depressive Symptoms – Nancy

Interventions to reduce maternal depressive symptoms, especially during infancy may have lasting effects on child neurological development.  A longitudinal study recently published in the Netherlands has found that children whose mothers exhibited depressive symptoms during their infancy have measurable reductions in brain size even by age 10.  These findings provide evidence for an observed link between maternal depression and ADHD …

Evolutionary Value of Depression – Nancy

People often ask if there is some evolutionary or adaptive advantage to depression, perhaps hoping that there is at least some reason behind the painful experience.  There are certainly some reasons to speculate about possible evolutionary advantages of depression, but it is difficult to structure research to give definitive answers to things that happened far in the past. First, we …

Creativity and Mental Illness – Nancy

A link between creativity and mental illness has been a long-standing area of conjecture, and there have been some recent attempts to research such a link, with varying results.  The first major problem is that there is no real agreed-upon definition of “creativity”, and therefore no way to pinpoint people in the general population who have it (or more of …

Media Consumption and Stress – Nancy

A well-documented link between media consumption and stress may be exacerbated by a “cycle of distress” in which individuals who feel greater stress and even trauma from watching televised coverage of violent events such as a mass shooting, are more likely to worry about such events re-occuring in the future, and therefore more likely to consume more media accounts of …