Insomnia and Technology: Helpful or Not?

Sleep and insomnia are one of the most posted topics on Moodsurfing!  Just try typing “sleep” onto our search box and see how many posts come up.  Sleep is one of the basic building blocks of health and management of mood swings.  And sleep is problematic for many, many people. So what is the best way to deal with insomnia?  …

What is Biofeedback? – Nancy

Biofeedback is a stress management technique that uses devices that give you information about your body’s physiologic response to stress. The idea is to provide you with information that would ordinarily be outside of your conscious awareness, such as your body temperature, blood pressure, or heart rate.  Generally, there are three stages of biofeedback: Developing increased awareness of the body …

Building Healthy Habits – Gina

Building healthy habits can be very important in managing mood. Regular sleep, exercise and diet can play a key role in reinforcing a stable mood. As a result, I regularly work with clients to identify healthy habits they would like to form and steps they can take in doing so. Most of the the time they are core habits such …

App Predicts Mood in Bipolar

App Predicts Mood in Bipolar – Nancy

A new smartphone app predicts mood in bipolar according to a recent series of studies. The mobile phone app shows promise for identifying early warning signals for users of mood episodes, based on a user’s keyboard behavior, such as typing speed and message length. The app does not consider the content of messages typed by users on their phones, but …

Digital Phenotyping

Data Mining for Mental Health – Digital Phenotyping

Digital phenotyping is Tom Insel’s fancy term for using some of the vast amount of data that our cell phones collect about our behavior to try to inform assessments of mental health diagnosis, symptoms and risk. Two years ago an article in JAMA Internal Medicine highlighted significant deficiencies in the way that smartphone-based conversational agents like Siri or Cortona responded to …

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 …

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 …

Technology and Bipolar

Colin Depp recently gave a presentation on technology and bipolar as part of the excellent International Society for Bipolar Disorders monthly (free) video lecture series. You can find out information about these video lectures on the ISBD website. I encourage you to sign up to get updates. Back to Dr. Depp’s lecture. He discussed a number of topics of interest to people …

Sleep Apps Reviewed by the New York Times

Apps to monitor and improve sleep were recently reviewed in the New York Times. Using an app to try to improve your sleep is a strategy that many people try. Some have found that it can be helpful in the long run, and it helps to use a well designed program. The New York Times reviewed SleepBot (available free on Android …

Kip Health – App for Collaboration

This week one of my fellow psychiatrists in San Francisco and one of my patients both suggested that I check out Kip Health, startup designed to improve collaboration between patients and their mental health providers. The App is in beta and so it is bound to change over time. For example, right now it is free for both mental health …

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for Bipolar

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for bipolar may reduce anxiety and bolster emotional stability As with many psychiatric disorders, bipolar disorder isn’t impossible to treat but it has its own unique and unremitting way of seriously wearing down a patient’s resolve. Mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) for bipolar joins a handful of therapies that can help. A kind of yo-yoing of …

Mindfulness Apps Updated

Mindfulness Apps Updated We have updated our mindfulness links based on a nice review in the New York Times. The reviewer suggests starting with one of the two apps (both available on iPhone and android) that has a complete program for beginners – Calm or Headspace. We particularly liked the fact that the reviewer pointed to the very personal aspects …

Apps and Links Updated

I have just been a couple of hours updating the apps and links page on this site. There are a lot more choices for mood charting including many more that are available on both android and iPhone. I’ve also been using three different apps concurrently for the last two months to get a sense of what it’s like with different mood …