Suicide: The Enigma

Suicide remains a sad mystery in many ways.  Those left behind can never really know what was in their loved one’s mind at the last.  We blame ourselves, and we deal with all the guilt, anger and grief that the act leaves behind, but we can never completely understand what leads someone to take their own life. Willa Goodfellow, in …

Link Between Screen Time and Depression

Link between screen time and depression?  It’s complicated A new longitudinal study looking at video gaming and social media use at age 11 compared with the same subjects’ responses to a questionnaire about depressive symptoms three years later at age 14 has come up with some complex data. Boys who played video games daily reported fewer depressive symptoms three years …

Gut Brain Connection

Do the trillions of microbes living in the human digestive system affect our mental health and affect – for better or worse – brain or mood disorders? As recently as seven years ago, the idea that gut bacteria played a role in mental health was considered “crazy”, but in the past few years, more and more research has shown possible …

Alexi Pappas

How do you recognize the symptoms of depression?  Isn’t that something everyone should know?  We’ve all learned how to recognize the symptoms of Covid 19, right?  And other diseases have organizations that do public education about them, like cancer, heart disease, etc. Alexi Pappas, writing in the New York Times, says that everyone should be taught to recognize the symptoms …

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., …

Fatigue Depression and Sleep

Fatigue, Depression and Sleep

One of the curious quirks of how our brain works has to do with how it responds to situations associated with fatigue, depression and sleep. Usually the brain regulates sleep well. Every night, after we have been awake for the appropriate amount of time, our brain responds to signals from the “clock” cells in the pineal gland and to the …

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 …