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 …

Facebook Friends May Save Your Life

Facebook friends may help you live longer. This is the surprising result of a recent study that received a lot of attention, and which some of you may have thought was a marketing ploy. However, the study was published in the prestigious journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Here is a summary of the study and the findings …

Depression and Reward Insensitivity

Why do some people get depressed and what can be done about it? Studies of brain response to rewards suggests that there is a strong link between depression and reward insensitivity. People who are at risk of depression literally don’t react to rewards in  same way as other people. A large study of adolescent girls without any history of depression found …

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 …

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 …

Smartphone Mood Tracking Startup

One of the most powerful ways of improving the outcomes of psychiatric treatment for depression is mood tracking, but for many reasons keeping detailed and daily records of mood changes is difficult and relatively few people in treatment use this technique. We’ve written before about significant evidence that suggests that smartphones can provide data automatically that can be used to …

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 …

Online Therapy for Insomnia Reduces Depression

“If only I could get a good night’s sleep my mood would be much better.” Many people who suffer from chronic depression are aware of the relationship between the quality of their sleep and their levels of mood and anxiety. A study published in the April 2016 addition of the British journal, Lancet Psychiatry, supports this view. 1100 internet users (aged …

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 …

Self Affirmations by Songify

A good friend and colleague suggested a new technique for “self affirmations.” A technique which makes something that can seem ponderous, but is also a powerful technique for positive change, seem like a lot more fun… Self affirmations are things that you tell yourself about yourself and the world. In psychological terms, they are about reshaping our constant internal dialog through …