Mood Trends

  Mood trends are useful to track in order to prevent a full blown episode of depression, hypomania or mania. I think of them as equivalent to the idea of a falling or rising barometer. Before satellites and modern weather forecasting, whether the barometer was rising or falling was the best predictor of the weather. If the barometer was rising …

Bipolar Type 4

We’ve recently been re-reading some of the works of Hagop Akiskal, one of the most important writers about Bipolar of the last 50 years.  He is particularly focused on identifying sub-types of bipolar as well as exploring the relationship between bipolar and creativity.  We were particularly struck with his description of type 4 bipolar.  This is someone (he says usually …

Cognitive Recovery from Mania

Cognitive recovery from mania or depression seems to lack behind the improvement in mood symptoms. In our experience full cognitive recovery may take up to three months after the mood symptoms have remitted. One way of thinking about this is that an episode of mania, or depression, upsets the normal function of the brain and it takes a while for …

Smartphone Apps for Bipolar

How good are smartphone apps for bipolar? A 2015 journal article provides details of a careful review of 82 apps providing either information or tracking tools. There were a range of resources available… 32 apps provided information 35 apps offered symptom monitoring 10 apps included screening and assessment tools 4 apps offered community support 1 app provided treatment of some …

Support a Loved One with Bipolar – Gina

Many family members I speak with struggle with the question of how to best support a loved one with bipolar. As a loved one, it can be incredibly stressful to battle with unknowns, one’s own anxiety and feelings of helplessness. People are understandably eager for information that can equip them with tools to help. I have found there are numerous things …

Mania Warning Signs in the Eyes – Gina

Recognizing Mania Warning Signs, Even in the Eyes Knowing and understanding warning signs of depression, hypomania and mania can be crucial in accessing the resources and supports needed at different times in your life. Warning signs can vary across individuals but there are also many warning signs that are thought to be more universal such as changes in sleep. The …

Pace Yourself for More Manageable Moods

I have been doing a lot of thinking about how to pace yourself so that you can capture some of the energy and creativity associated with being mildly energized while not getting so involved that you burn out or edge into full-fledged mania. There’s nothing quite so exciting as entering a time of increased energy and ideas after a long …

Celebrating World Bipolar Day 2017

  On March 30, 2017 we will be celebrating World Bipolar Day as a platform to provide global education, open dialogue and improved sensitivity about bipolar disorder. Stigma can play a huge role in access to care, and the way an illness can impact our relationships, work and engagement in the world. World Bipolar Day is about battling stigma and …

Mixed Depression and Anxiety or Bipolar ?

A young man who recently graduated from chiropractic school came in for a second opinion. He has had a many year history of depressive episodes with prominent anxiety symptoms. Is this mixed depression and anxiety? This past summer, he went to see a new psychiatrist to get help with another episode of depression. The psychiatrist started him on Lexapro (a serotonin …

Recovery from Bipolar

Planning for Recovery from Bipolar I recently came across a great account from a man living with Bipolar Disorder, Steven Propst. In an insightful and direct way, he describes what recovery has looked like for him and helpful steps in finding it for yourself. By examining the importance of accepting his diagnosis, gathering information to cope with his ups and …

Factors Linked to Bipolar Cycle Acceleration – Arnrow

Factors Linked to Bipolar Cycle Acceleration– Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim conducted a study consisting of 210 participants (53.3% women) with bipolar I (68.1%) and bipolar II (31.9%)  to identify factors linked to bipolar cycle acceleration (rapid cycling). They found the following factors (listed in order of importance): Severity of episodes – there was a higher chance …

Bipolar Downshifting – Suzy B

She wakes up from a fitful sleep and within an instant knows the day will be hard. Lying on the bed for a moment she stares at the bathroom door. It’s the first port of call, but for what? Because that’s what you do. You go to the bathroom and prepare for the day before moving on. It’s what you …

Bipolar 101 – The Basics and Beyond

Bipolar 101, an online course hosted by Gateway Psychiatric begins March 17, 2017: Bipolar 101 – The Basics and Beyond. The class is based on the acclaimed Barcelona Bipolar Disorders Program. Bipolar 101 – An online course will cover topics such as: “What is Bipolar?” – What do we know about the causes and what are the implications of this information. …

Loving Someone Bipolar

Loving someone bipolar can seem like an overwhelming challenge at times. A quick survey of the internet combined with years of conversations with loved ones struggling to navigate the sometimes stormy waters, yields a great diversity of perspectives. Julie Fast, a well known bipolar writer, describes her experience living with her partner during a manic episode… Years ago, my much-loved …

Dangers of Mania

A cheerful young woman comes in for a consultation and soon we come to a topic that can be remarkably frustrating for all: trying to explain the dangers of mania. She is only mildly manic. It’s true she often gets into arguments that don’t really make much sense and she has been smoking more marijuana and hooking up with an …

Darkness Treats Mania?

Bright light is one of the most rapidly effective treatments for depression and may be helpful for depression even in people without a clear seasonal pattern (winter depression). A recent study suggests that it may also be true that darkness treats mania. The portion of the light spectrum that affects circadian rhythms the most strongly is blue light, which is …