Online Resources

There is so much information on the internet. And so much misinformation. How to find good answers to your questions? This is a very selective list of resources that we have found helpful – Medications UpToDate – This is an online medical textbook that is updated continuously. It is the resource we use when we have questions. It also includes …

The End of Summer

Every year we notice two weeks that seem to affect a number of folks who have had seasonal depressions. The first period is the “End of Summer” – a foreshadowing of the coming fall that happens in late August or early September (depending on the weather, we guess). The second period is the “Beginning of Winter” – which usually takes …

Bipolar Brains

After years of trying, a group of researchers down at UCLA (led by Lori Altshuler) may have succeeded in identifying important changes in brain function that are associated with bipolar moods. They have found two specific areas of the brain that show pretty consistent changes associated with bipolar. One area (the orbitofrontal cortex) is generally less activated in bipolar, no …

NAC (n-acetyl-cysteine)

We were impressed by a recent study of n-acetyl cysteine as a treatment for marijuana dependence. It was a well designed study from a very reputable research group and the results were significant: the number of clean urines in the group getting NAC was twice as high as in the placebo group. It got us more interested in the agent …

Medications

Getting the right medicine, medication side effects, fear of being dependent on a medication, medications that stop working mysteriously… psychiatric medications evoke in us as many reactions as do psychiatric disorders… and psychiatrists. What we propose to do on this page is to try to collect and organize information that we have found helpful in thinking about psychiatric medications. As …

Doctors Part 2

Once you have found a good doctor (see Doctors Part 1 for thoughts on finding doctors), how can you make sure that you get the best help from that doctor (or doctors). Here are a few thoughts collected from our experiences working with many people over the years – 1. Plan ahead. It is almost always a good idea to …

Supplements – Overview

Supplements are drugs that are found in nature (note: supplements don’t have to be any more “natural” in terms of how they are made than prescription drugs). Because they are found in nature they are not, in the United States, subject to review and approval by the Food and Drug Administration. Also, because they are found in nature, they tend …

Watch the Mood Waves

One of the best ways of helping people MoodSurfing successfully is to look closely at the shape of their mood waves. Often when we talk to someone about this idea they are perplexed. Waves are waves right? If you have a depression wave then you should do one thing and if you have a manic wave you do something else. …

Music and Mood

People naturally turn to music to change or improve their moods. There are surprisingly few studies on this. But those studies that do exist confirm what we already know, music can definitely affect our mood. Enough of the science, if we know music affects mood, how can we use that knowledge to “moodsurf” better? One thing that we have discovered …

Kay Jamison

If you do much thinking about moods and how they affect us, you eventually run into Kay Jamison. She has dedicated her life to understanding mood and its impact on us. She teaches at Johns Hopkins, but she is not just an academic, she is also a brilliant writer and compelling lecturer. She is the co-author of the best one …

Mood Charting Part 2: Monitoring Mood

What is monitoring and mood monitoring? Monitoring is way of becoming aware of what is happening in a certain circumstances. For example, a parent may monitor how much milk the child is drinking, a person who is dieting may monitor what they are eating or a person exercising may monitor how much they exercise a day. All these people have …

What is Hypomania?

What is hypomania (“a little mania”) and what changes when you are hypomanic? Depending on where you sit it can be the most desirable state conceivable or a mood that is terribly destructive to relationships. We often say that hypomania is a symptom that rarely motivates people for treatment, but often motivates a spouse or partner to insist on treatment. …

The Super Mood Stabilizer

From time to time we run across people who seem to do everything wrong, in terms of typical MoodSurfing strategies, but who nevertheless is living a very creative and successful life. Very often the reason they can get away with it is because they have the “Super Mood Stabilizer” – a sense of purpose, a clear sense of what they …