More Happiness

We all need to be reminded about ways that we can bring more happiness into our lives. Rick Hansen has devoted his professional life to understanding the neuroscience of happiness and has created a set of tools that can help. His course “The Foundations of Wellbeing” has helped many people I know to experience more pleasure and joy in daily life, to have …

Coping with Political Uncertainty

Many of the people that I work with on a regular basis have been experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety related to the recent election results. Unfortunately, mental health professionals are no better as news analysts than the so-called professionals. I have been struggling a little bit trying to figure out what to say to these people. Coping with Political …

Psychotic Experiences in Normal People

Worldwide Study Finds some People without Mental Illness Report “Psychotic” Experiences Psychiatrists tend to assume that certain experiences are a clear sign of mental illness. These experiences include psychotic experiences such as hallucinations (hearing voices, seeing visions) and delusions (beliefs that are contrary to “consensual reality” for example the belief that one is being plotted against, or that thoughts are being …

Anxiety and Bipolar

For many people with bipolar anxiety is a bigger problem than mood swings. It is not that unusual for someone with bipolar to report that their first “symptom” of a psychiatric nature was the onset of anxiety early in childhood. Let’s take a look at this information again… 90% of people with bipolar have an anxiety disorder diagnosis. 2/3rds have had …

Bipolar IN Order

Free Eight Steps To Bipolar IN Order Video Course Tom Wootton posted an announcement that should be of interest to many people who are seeking to live creatively with moods. His new Free Eight Steps To Bipolar IN Order video course is available for you to take right away. Tom’s courses have helped thousands to live better and more fulfilling lives. https://www.bipolaradvantage.com/lp/bipolar-order-video-course/

Fall Preparation

Northern Hemisphere Fall Preparation If you live in the northern hemisphere, and particularly if you live in the United States, this is an appropriate time to prepare for the coming fall and winter seasons.  The yellow school buses trundling through the streets taking kids to school, the commute has once again jumped up by a factor of two in the Bay Area, …

Instagram Photos Reveal Depression

Smartphones are collecting information about us all of the time. As we post pictures and text online what are we revealing about how we feel, our moods over time? This is a Brave New World for those who created online services that are designed to substitute for, or enhance, our everyday, in person lives. A study published in March of …

Predicting Depression Recurrence

For people with a history of unipolar depression (episodes in the past of clinically significant depression, but no history of periods of being energized – mania or hypomania) who are no longer experiencing a clinical depression, is it possible to predict whether they will have another episode in the near future? Noted psychiatric researchers Lewis L. Judd, MD, Pamela J. Schettler, …

Depression and Inflammation Interactions

There has been a lot of interest in the last year in the idea that information or activation of the body’s immune system, might be a cause and/or consequence of depression.  One theory argues that depression might be an inflammatory disorder, more than a disorder of altered neurotransmitter levels. Certainly there’s a fair amount of information that some people with …

How to Nap

For many people with depression the idea of taking a nap makes a lot of sense. On the other hand, staying in bed at the wrong times of day can be associated with worsened depression and increased fatigue. An article in June in the New York Times entitled, “How to Nap” seemed like an interesting introduction to the topic. In …

Nutritional Supplements for Depression

It is time to update the information on this site about nutritional supplements that may be effective for people with depression. An April 2016 review of the literature by Jerome Sarris published in the American Journal of Psychiatry concludes that there is moderately strong data supporting the effectiveness of some supplements for reducing symptoms of depression. This review, which not …

Mindfulness Warnings

A recent visitor to this site sent us this link and some thoughts about mindfulness… This article about the dangers of mindfulness was posted by a friend of mine from smartrecovery.  I just thought I would pass it along, definitely going to store this in the back of my mind for later. The cases discussed were relatable to my experience …

Best Treatment for Chronic Insomnia

What is the best treatment for chronic insomnia? The American College of Physicians has just published the results of a careful review of all of the research in this area. The preferred treatment for insomnia is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBTi) which we offer through this website – read about it at the bottom of this page. In their review, ACP …

Children of Bipolar Parents

A series of presentations at the 2015 meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry point to the importance of helping the families of parents with bipolar disorder. Juan David Palacio reported that children of parents with bipolar I disorder are at high risk for a number of psychiatric disorders, including bipolar spectrum disorders and substance use disorders. They …

Children at Risk for Depression

James Hudziak, and other researchers, presented information suggesting a strategy for improving brain health, and reducing anxiety and depression in children at risk for these conditions at the 2015 meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. We have previously mentioned in this blog another excellent resource for information on bipolar, Bipolar Network News, and this information is summarized …

Free Treatment/Research Study for Bipolar I Disorder

Announcement: Readers of this blog who are in the bay area may be interested in a free group treatment study offered through UC Berkeley Psychology Department which is designed to build skills to promote a healthy, balanced emotional life and is open to people with a Bipolar 1 diagnosis: We would like to let you know about a group treatment …

Kevin Briggs and the Golden Gate Bridge

I am away at the annual meeting of the Northern California Psychiatric Society this weekend and while taking a break from the presentations I wanted to try to come up with a quick post that might be relevant to this blog. Probably the most moving part of the weekend was last night’s presentation by Kevin Brigg, who for many years …

Mindfulness Changes Brain Connections

Whereas there is relatively good evidence that mindfulness meditation has beneficial effects on health and mental health, the mechanism of action for the changes seen in mindfulness practitioners has been a little bit obscure. An article published online in Biological Psychiatry in January 2016 provides us with important information about how mindfulness meditation works. In particular it correlates changes in brain …