Perfectionism and Depression

Perfectionism and depression are opposites that often seem to attract each other, and the combination can be a great challenge for anyone trying to “live creatively with moods.” Depression enhances our brain’s natural tendency to see problems in the world around us… it shines a spotlight on every imperfection. It is a perfectionist’s nightmare. Perfectionism Perfectionism itself is not necessarily …

Persistence Despite Depression

There are two characteristics that seem to define people with bipolar and depression who do well, one of them is persistence despite depression, a trait which is described well in the post Trust the Process by a favorite blogger, Bipolar on Fire. The other is a willingness to “do what it takes,” meaning a commitment to wellness even if it may …

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 …

Morning Ritual Improves Mood

A Morning Ritual Improves Mood

A morning ritual improves mood – For people who are trying to live creatively with moods, how the day starts can have a powerful impact. And the morning ritual is an effective way of changing that experience. Researchers have found that organized patterns of behavior (rituals) help our brains cope with uncertainty and reduce anxiety.  So if you’re not sure …

Exercise Prevents Depression

A study of 34,000 healthy adults followed for 11 years shows that exercise prevents depression. The authors of the study found that the dose of exercise needed to optimally prevent depression was surprisingly low. Just 15 – 20 minutes of aerobic exercise per day was effective. The study is the largest prospective study to date to show the benefits of …

Suicide Survivor Day

Suicide Survivor Day for Loved Ones

Suicide Survivor Day is the one day a year when people affected by suicide loss gather around the world at events in their local communities to find comfort and gain understanding as they share stories of healing and hope. Discover more about Survivor Day. UCSF and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention are hosting an important event for suicide survivors on November …

App for Depression in Pregnancy – Nancy

Moodsurfing has looked at smartphone apps for depression and those for bipolar disorder and a new study is available that looks specifically at a smartphone app for depression in pregnancy. Mental health in pregnancy is a topic that can raise real anxiety in people’s minds, in part because so much divergent information is readily available on the internet and from family …

Smartphone Apps for Depression

Are smartphone apps for depression effective? Two articles published in 2017 by a group of Australian and American researchers examined the question of whether smart phone apps for depression and anxiety are effective. In both articles the authors comprehensively analyzed the world medical literature for research articles that evaluated the effectiveness of smart phone delivered interventions for either depressive symptoms …

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 …

Contagious Moods

A well designed study of adolescents suggests that there are contagious moods. This study follows on earlier research suggesting that surrounding yourself with more “contented” or “discontented” people affects how likely you are to feel contented. The new research involved groups of junior-high and high-school students who took part in depression screenings and answered questions about their best friends, many of whom were …

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 …

An Epidemic of Fatigue

Several of my patients reported odd changes in their sleep and  their energy level this past week, as though there was an epidemic of fatigue going around. They noted that their sleep was a bit more disrupted and that they didn’t feel as rested in the morning and, for the first time in months, they began taking afternoon naps. Going …

Sadness Benefits

Are there sadness benefits? It often seems as though the work I am supposed to do is to eliminate all negative emotion on behalf of the people who come to me for psychiatric help. But is that possible, and if it were possible would it be a good thing to do? Are there sadness benefits that would be lost if …

Depression Is Often Untreated

Depression is often untreated, according to the results from the federal government’s National Health and Nutrition Examination study. The vast majority of Americans with depression didn’t seek help from a mental health professional Only 35% of people with severe depression and 20% of those with moderate depression said they had sought help from a mental health professional, according to the report …

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 …

Biological Basis of Depression

A recent review article in the American Journal of Psychiatry examines data from many functional neuroimaging studies in order to define more clearly the biological basis of depression. Abnormalities in two sets of neural circuits seem to be the most consistent findings in people with depression: Serotonin anxiety and distress circuits that connect the amygdala and several locations in the medial …