Herd Instinct in Humans: The Source of Anxiety and Depression?

Jeffrey Kahn has written a fascinating book (Angst: Origins of Anxiety and Depression in Oxford Press) suggesting an evolutionary source for much of human psychopathology. He gave a Grand Rounds presentation at UCLA in February of 2015 that outlined some of his theories and that presentation has been the subject of a vigorous discussion online. In essence, Jeffrey argues that …

Hypomania and Success

During the 1990s clinical psychologist John Gartner was planning on writing a book about religious movements started by manic profits, but he began to be distracted by the energy and excitement swirling around him as people became immersed in the Internet “bubble”. He decided instead to write a book about the relationship between hypomania and success in the business world (The Hypomanic …

Welcome to the Jungle

Since Welcome to the Jungle is a book about bipolar written for young adults. And since most people are diagnosed with bipolar as young adults, often thrown into a world of confusingly contradictory information, needing to suddenly understand a complicated condition, and make important self care decisions, when they have only recently started living independently, we thought this book could …

Welcome to the Jungle

Welcome to the Jungle is a nice addition to the large list of bipolar self help books. Hillary Smith has written a book for the young person dealing with a new diagnosis. The information is up to date, but the tone is informal, and respectful of the mix of feelings that many people have facing a new diagnosis of bipolar …

Bipolar Education Program

Doctors often do a poor job of educating their patients about their health problems. That is particularly troubling when you are talking about a condition as complicated as bipolar. We have been working on an educational program for this site based on the Barcelona psycho-education program for bipolar, to be called Bipolar 101. The Barcelona program has clearly been shown, …

“Normal” Sleep

One of the justifiable criticisms of psychiatry is that it has a tendency to define a relatively narrow range of behavior as normal. We often tell the psychiatry residents to watch out for this tendency, and try to avoid it. Certainly sleep medicine is at least as prone to this tendency as psychiatry, as we are reminded by a fascinating …

DSM5

In the next few days the American Psychiatric Association is meeting in San Francisco and will announce the latest version of its diagnostic and statistical manual: DSM5. Tom Insel, the Chief of the National Institute for Mental Health, created quite a stir last week by seeming to announce that the new diagnostic manual was an emperor with no clothes. The …

Forum Technical Problems

For some reason, this week, when I have tried to access the discussion forum, I have been unable to do so, using my Google Chrome web browser. I know that earlier this week, there were a lot of problems with Internet access generally because of an ongoing war between spammers and an anti-spam service, but I am not sure if …

ACT

The “hot” thing in the therapy world these days is something called ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy). The radical notion behind ACT is that therapy should not be primarily about reducing symptoms (like depression) but rather increasing our ability to have a valued life (a life that is based on our deepest values) even though we have symptoms. And, by …

Bad Memories

Unstable moods and bad memories seem to go together. In the clinic where many of us work we have noticed how often it is that folks who we see with bipolar have had traumatic experiences in childhood. Why that happens is speculation. But we do know that dealing with those experiences can be very, very hard, and, potentially, life transforming. …

Making Good Relationships: 4 Behaviors Predictive of Divorce

In a previous post we talked about our view that what is most important in successful long term relationships is not so much who we choose but how we build the relationship (of course, if you choose someone without morals or who is seriously disturbed, this doesn’t probably apply to you). But we deferred discussing what it takes to make …

Resilience

Why are some people able to move through difficult situations, and others seem to get stuck in them? A lot of what distinguishes people who lead successful lives from those who struggle has to do with how much we are affected by negative events. There isn’t really much we can do to avoid setbacks (even the fabulously successful people have …

Self Compassion

I once worked with a lovely woman who had a personal assistant who yelled at her all day.  She hurled insult after insult, screaming loudly in her ear things like—You’ll never get that done! There you go again, you idiot! Give it up, you’re never going to amount to anything! This is pointless, you may as well throw in the towel! …