pregnancy and depression

Pregnancy and Depression

Bipolar Network News just published a set of articles on pregnancy and depression which are a useful update of the research in this important area. Other recent articles on moodsurfing about pregnancy include one by Nancy on apps for depression in pregnancy, an article summarizing a controversial study suggesting a link between antidepressants in pregnancy and autism, an article on the subject …

Undiagnosed Hypomania

Undiagnosed Hypomania – Nancy

How big a problem is undiagnosed hypomania?  By some estimates as many as 50% of people being treated for depression may have hypomania (similar to mania, but milder) episodes as well. A recent article in Psychiatric Times encourages doctors to maintain an increased level of suspicion about the possibility of hypomania in patients who are receiving treatment for a range …

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 …

Mariah Carey has Bipolar

Mariah Carey Has Bipolar – Nancy

Singer-songwriter Mariah Carey has bipolar according to an interview with People magazine, carried on their April cover.  Now in her late 40’s, Carey says that she did not seek treatment for many years, thinking she only had severe insomnia. Now, she is in therapy and taking medication for bipolar II disorder and continuing to work in the studio on her …

bipolar light therapy

Bipolar Light Therapy – Timing and Effect – Nancy

Bipolar light therapy can improve mood and daytime alertness.  Light therapy is often used as an adjunctive treatment for patients who experience residual depressive effects while taking lithium or valproate as mood stabilizers.  Light therapy can also be useful for those who need to minimize medications, such as pregnant women or the elderly. A study conducted at the at Northwestern …

World Bipolar Day 2018

World Bipolar Day 2018 – Nancy

It is time for our reminder about World Bipolar Day 2018. World Bipolar Day is celebrated each year on March 30, the birthday of the artist Vincent Van Gogh, who may have had a bipolar condition.  Nowadays, it gives us an opportunity to speak out, to raise awareness and to eliminate social stigma around bipolar conditions. The theme of the …

Preventing Mood Episodes

Preventing Mood Episodes – Nancy

A recent article in Bipolar News reminds us of the value of preventing mood episodes, even if that means aggressive treatment. By reducing the number of bipolar episodes a patient may experience, preventative treatment can protect the brain from the damaging effects of such episodes.  Preventative treatments with multiple medications have been shown to be very effective but the medication …

binge eating and bipolar

Binge Eating and Bipolar – Nancy

In our practice we often see a link between binge eating and bipolar.  Recent studies are showing that there is a link between emotional eating and bipolar disorder, with as many as 10% of bipolar sufferers also struggling with eating disorders, a much higher percentage than in the general population. The Mayo Clinic, which has studied the link between binge …

Returning to Work

Returning to work after a period of increased symptoms of depression or bipolar can seem daunting. And, indeed, there are major challenges to be dealt with. If you are returning to work, you are in a happy minority of people with bipolar or recurrent depression. Congratulate yourself! Or at least that is what the, admittedly incomplete, evidence suggests. Trying to …

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 …

Raising Healthy Children

Raising Healthy Children

Raising healthy children is always challenging, a source of joy but also a source of anxiety. And having depression can add to the challenge. And yet many, many women that we have worked with have had successful pregnancies and raised wonderful, healthy, happy children. One key to success is paying attention to how mood can influence not only ourselves but …

Bipolar at Work

Bipolar at Work – Nancy

Bipolar At Work: Disclosure and Accommodation Federal law provides important protections for workers who are coping with disabling mental or physical illnesses in the workplace.  Know your rights, and plan carefully for whether, when and how to request accommodations and disclose special needs at work. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against anyone with a health-realted disablitiy in …

Mood Planning – Gina

Mood planning is an activity that is closely aligned with the goal of this website: helping people to live creatively with moods.  Having a plan in place ahead to time for when you notice warning signs or full symptoms of mania can minimize the negative impact a mood episode can have on your life. I often work with patients in …

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 …

Online Group Therapy – Bipolar 101 – Gina

Gateway’s Bipolar 101 – Online Group Therapy Last week we started the Bipolar 101 Group at Gateway Psychiatric, the second time we’ve hosted this group. It was inspiring to see how a sense of community and connection can develop so quickly in an online meeting.  I regularly hear of the value that support plays in the lives of people I …

Elon Musk is Bipolar

Elon Musk is Bipolar – Twitter

Elon Musk is bipolar, according to a series of articles based on an exchange on Twitter. Responding to another tweet he said, “The reality is great highs, terrible lows, and unrelenting stress…” “I’m sure there are better answers than what I do, which is just take the pain and make sure you really care about what you’re doing.” He was …

Impatience Warning

Sometimes I wish that my depressed patients had more impatience. Eagerness for change when you have been depressed for a long time can be a good thing. But if you have bipolar depression, impatience is not always a useful emotion. This past week, several people began expressing impatience with their progress. A couple of them expressed the view that I …

Ride the Tiger

Ride the Tiger is a wonderful PBS documentary that covers a lot of important information about bipolar in an entertaining and informative one hour program. One of my patients strongly recommended it. Treatment Stories about treatment, the good, the bad and the ugly. Self Care The importance of self care. A brief introduction to some useful ideas. The Genetics of …