Stopping Medications – How and When to Do It

Most people with depression and/or bipolar think about stopping medications at one point or another. The results can be disastrous or good depending, in part, on the motivation for change and how it is done. As with any major life decision, it is best not to approach the decision with too much of a sense of urgency. If you’re feeling …

Bipolar Depression Light Therapy

Bipolar Depression Light Therapy

The news that bipolar depression light therapy may be effective is good news and follows a series of studies this past year highlighting the importance of treatments that affect circadian rhythms by manipulating light and dark in treating mood disorders. Bipolar depression is one of the hardest conditions to treat effectively. Antidepressant medications may have significant side effects, including inducing …

Bipolar at Work

Bipolar at Work – Nancy

Bipolar At Work: Disclosure and Accommodation Federal law provides important protections for workers who are coping with disabling mental or physical illnesses in the workplace.  Know your rights, and plan carefully for whether, when and how to request accommodations and disclose special needs at work. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against anyone with a health-realted disablitiy in …

Mood Planning – Gina

Mood planning is an activity that is closely aligned with the goal of this website: helping people to live creatively with moods.  Having a plan in place ahead to time for when you notice warning signs or full symptoms of mania can minimize the negative impact a mood episode can have on your life. I often work with patients in …

Mood Spectrum

Author and psychiatrist James Phelps presented a thought provoking presentation about the notion of a mood spectrum (from very unipolar to very bipolar) and how that idea is changing the way that clinicians work with people with depression. The title of the presentation was “A More Nuanced View of Hypomania” but the talk itself is broader than that. The spectrum …

Online Group Therapy – Bipolar 101 – Gina

Gateway’s Bipolar 101 – Online Group Therapy Last week we started the Bipolar 101 Group at Gateway Psychiatric, the second time we’ve hosted this group. It was inspiring to see how a sense of community and connection can develop so quickly in an online meeting.  I regularly hear of the value that support plays in the lives of people I …

Elon Musk is Bipolar

Elon Musk is Bipolar – Twitter

Elon Musk is bipolar, according to a series of articles based on an exchange on Twitter. Responding to another tweet he said, “The reality is great highs, terrible lows, and unrelenting stress…” “I’m sure there are better answers than what I do, which is just take the pain and make sure you really care about what you’re doing.” He was …

Bipolar 101 Group Fall 2017

We are excited to announce a repeat of the very successful Bipolar 101 Group Fall 2017 is being offered at Gateway Psychiatric Services. The group is co-facilitated by Gina Gregory and Peter Forster. Do you want to learn more about bipolar disorder and connect with others who may have experienced similar symptoms to you? Gateway Psychiatric will be hosting an …

Impatience Warning

Sometimes I wish that my depressed patients had more impatience. Eagerness for change when you have been depressed for a long time can be a good thing. But if you have bipolar depression, impatience is not always a useful emotion. This past week, several people began expressing impatience with their progress. A couple of them expressed the view that I …

Fall 2017 UCSF Bipolar Psychoeducation Group

The UCSF bipolar psychoeducational group starts on August 7, 2017. It runs for 8 weekly sessions, Mondays 12pm to 130pm. Most commercial insurance accepted. I often describe this group as “an advanced class about bipolar disorder for people who have bipolar disorder.” I have attached a flyer and a draft schedule. Please feel free to give/show either to your patients. There is also …

Ride the Tiger

Ride the Tiger is a wonderful PBS documentary that covers a lot of important information about bipolar in an entertaining and informative one hour program. One of my patients strongly recommended it. Treatment Stories about treatment, the good, the bad and the ugly. Self Care The importance of self care. A brief introduction to some useful ideas. The Genetics of …

Mindfulness: No Gain without Pain?

Mindfulness is one of those practices that seems to, quite perversely, be most important to practice at times when it is most difficult to do. A successful interior designer with bipolar disorder who has been on a mild run of hypomania for a month or so told me, in a roundabout way, about how people around her were getting a bit exhausted …

Treatment Controversies

Treatment controversies abound in psychiatry. An earlier post about a conversation I had with a patient’s therapist in which it seemed that both therapist and patient agreed that being encouraged to come in for an early appointment was a kind of punishment, sparked an interesting dialog with one of this blog’s many dedicated readers. The reader wrote – As one who has experienced that …

Radical Acceptance and Coping with Bipolar Disorder – Gina

What is radical acceptance? Radical acceptance is an approach named by Marsha Linehan, PhD who created Dialectical Behavior Therapy that is about completely and totally accepting something, stopping the fight against reality, and ultimately, suffering less. Things will regularly happen in our lives that are outside of our control, such as having a diagnosis of bipolar disorder or experiencing a …

Shame and Guilt After Mania – Gina

Addressing Shame and Guilt After a Manic Episode I have witnessed the immense pain caused by the shame and guilt experienced by people with bipolar disorder following a manic episode.After a manic episode, most have engaged in behaviors that they regret. The resulting shame and guilt can contribute greatly to symptoms of depression that follow an episode. Understanding techniques and …

Bipolar 101 Online

We are putting our Bipolar 101 course online. The first portion of that 9 part course is going to be available free on our sister site, Gateway Psychiatric Services, but here is a preview of one section entitled “What is Bipolar?” Future sections will address self care, medications, other therapies, and a host of other issues and concerns.