Doomscrolling

Media Use and the Pandemic We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again:  media use is not always good for you.  Now we have the pandemic-related phenomenon of “doomscrolling”, going obsessively through your feeds again and again, reading the bad news and skipping the good. Why do that?  Well, 2020 has put a lot of stress on everyone.  From …

Depression Strength

How do you address stigma about depression? Depression is an illness, and it’s an illness that’s not easy to cope with.  But in addition to the illness itself and how awful it makes you feel some days, you also have to deal with people – from the closest family to the most casual stranger – judging you for not being …

Is Depression Prevention Possible?

Heredity and childhood trauma are two known risk factors for depression, but these can’t be modified in adults.  Are there specific actions that could be taken by at-risk individuals that would make depression prevention possible?  Much of the research available so far does not search for a wide variety of possible factors, instead focusing on a hypothesized intervention, e.g. exercise …

Dietary Interventions Control Mood Swings

Dietary interventions for bipolar and major depression A modified diet including high omega-3 and low omega-6 fatty acids has shown “exciting” findings in a small study looking at adjunct treatments to control mood swings in bipolar patients.  Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine randomized 41 patients, some to receive a high omega-3, low omega-6 diet, and some to receive …

Mood Homeostasis and Depression

MoodSurfing advocates identifying strategies for managing moods without medications, not because we think medications are bad, but because they do have potential adverse effects. We think that some of these strategies are very helpful, but the psychiatric establishment has not always agreed. A recent study1 provides evidence that choosing activities to stabilize mood can have a big impact on mental …

Depression is Depressing

Are you supposed to be happy? Depression can be a really depressing thing to talk about and often we are told not to bring up “depressing” topics in conversation, even with close friends and family members.  People struggling with depression are expected to put on a cheerful mask and not spread their sadness around to others. How can we learn …

recognizing depression

Recognizing Depression – Nancy

Seems like recognizing depression ought to be easy, and that it’s so widespread that it can hardly be hidden, but the reality is that many people with major clinical depression are not diagnosed, or are given insufficient treatment to address the realities of their situation. Major depression is defined as an episode in which for at least two weeks one …

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 …

Depression Increasing

Depression Increasing – Nancy

Is depression increasing? Major depression diagnoses have risen by as much as 33% according to a report by insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield.  These numbers may be under-reports since they do not include the uninsured, and even among insured people there is significant under-diagnosis. Particularly concerning is the rise in depression among adolescents and young adults. Rates have increased as much …

Resistance Training

Resistance Training for Depression – Nancy

Exercise is good for depression, but what kind of exercise is better and how well does it work, is resistance training better than aerobic exercise? The prestigious journal JAMA Psychiatry has published a lengthy meta-analysis of 33 studies looking into the effectiveness of resistance training (RET) in reducing depressive symptoms.  RET includes exercises such as weight training, push ups, etc., …

Perfectionism and Depression

Perfectionism and depression are opposites that often seem to attract each other, and the combination can be a great challenge for anyone trying to “live creatively with moods.” Depression enhances our brain’s natural tendency to see problems in the world around us… it shines a spotlight on every imperfection. It is a perfectionist’s nightmare. Perfectionism Perfectionism itself is not necessarily …

Noticing Your Power

The mind is naturally drawn to threats and often acts as though the world is filled with powerful dangers, this bias towards threat-seeking makes the practice of noticing your power essential. Without conscious effort we run the risk of acting in ways that are self-destructive. This is the powerful insight of psychologist Jim McCullough about people who have experienced repeated …

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 …

Exercise Prevents Depression

A study of 34,000 healthy adults followed for 11 years shows that exercise prevents depression. The authors of the study found that the dose of exercise needed to optimally prevent depression was surprisingly low. Just 15 – 20 minutes of aerobic exercise per day was effective. The study is the largest prospective study to date to show the benefits of …

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 …