Bipolar Advantage

Another online resource that folks may appreciate is Bipolar Advantage, a program dedicated to helping people function at their highest potential during all mood states and levels.  Their trademark is changing the discussion from “Bipolar Disorder” to “Bipolar IN Order”, where the student learns to thrive during manic and depressive episodes, and to consider the advantages of their states of …

Bipolar Marriage – Nancy

Americans with bipolar are more likely than Europeans to marry someone with a similar diagnosis, according to a study by Robert M. Post, MD, of the Bipolar Collaborative Network, Bethesda, Maryland, and the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, George Washington University.  Post and colleagues recruited volunteers with bipolar I from four cities in the USA and three cities in …

At the Crossroads of Anxiety and Bipolar – Nancy

Anxiety and panic attacks are some of the “comorbidities” (concurrently occurring disorders) that folks with bipolar have to contend with.  Another concern is the complicated relationship between bipolar and post-traumatic stress disorder. Social anxiety is often found in conjunction with bipolar.  Although many people think bipolar is characterized by the extraverted and friendly attitude often experienced during hypomanic episodes, the …

risk calculator for youth

Risk Calculator for Youth – Nancy

New research may lead to a risk calculator that can help predict which young people at risk of bipolar go on to develop either bipolar 1 or bipolar 2. Young people with a history of depression and some features of bipolar (a brief period of being energized, for example, that doesn’t meet criteria for hypomania) are at risk for developing …

Famous People

Famous Bipolar People – Nancy

Why are there so many famous bipolar people? Will a diagnosis of bipolar make you famous?  Probably not, at least not immediately.  Nonetheless, it is a reality that a surprising number of famous people, contemporary and historical have a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of bipolar. Winston Churchill, Isaac Newton, Ernest Hemingway, and other household names are included in this inventory.  …

stigma in mental illness

Stigma in Mental Illness – Nancy

An interesting opinion piece in the New York Times this past week highlights unintended consequences of the ways in which we talk about mental illness and the strategies we use to reduce stigma around it. Dr. Lisa Pryor, a mental health care practitioner in Australia comments that increasing discussion, publicity and stigma reduction around “moderate” mental illnesses like anxiety and …

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 …