Herbal Medicine

A recent study on the use of cannabis extracts to treat mental illness got us started thinking again about the whole field of herbal and “natural” medicine.  Cannabis is currently experiencing an explosion of interest and some robust research is being done.  However the interest is running far ahead of the available data about real uses and effects of various …

Men and Depression

Dr. Jed Diamond has a website called Men Alive that looks at men’s health in new ways.  Depression, stress management, anger and love are all life experiences that play out very differently for men and for women.  Yet depression, in particular is often viewed as a “women’s” problem, and notably more than twice as many women as men are diagnosed …

Going to the Beach to Relieve Depression?

How about if there was scientific evidence to support the notion that a sauna, or a nice, hot bath, or spending time lying in the sun on the beach is good for your mental health?  Moodsurfing is always on the alert for evidence related to alternative treatments such as music, meditation, and nutritional supplements, so this article caught our collective …

Screen Time, Teenagers, and Depression

Is there a link between teenagers’ use of electronic devises and depression? Well, it’s complicated. A new study analyzing data from high school students in Montreal has found a significant link between increased “screen time” and an increase in depressive symptoms.  Interestingly, the increase in depression is linked to television and social media use, but not to video gaming.  Researchers …

Vulnerability – Nancy

Vulnerability!  If your first response is “Ummm, no, thanks”, you’re not alone.  Vulnerability sounds like something we want to get away from, not something to cultivate.  Yet researcher Dr. Brené Brown of the University of Houston has done considerable study of this topic and her findings are that being or becoming vulnerable to risk, to emotional upset, to shame and …

Learned helplessness – Nancy

“What’s the use”.  “It won’t work anyway”.  Do you find yourself thinking hopelessly and helplessly about your own situation, unable to find any constructive steps to take to move forward? Learned helplessness is what psychologists call it when a patient believes strongly that no action they can possibly take will make their situation better.  It’s the “dark side” – or …

Smartphones and Depression – the Story Continues

Moodsurfing has reported on several studies and programs in the past that attempt to use smartphone data to improve mental health.  Now, an AP report from early January updates some of this research. Smartphone users generate a huge amount of data, which, if correctly analyzed, could provide life saving information about early onset of depression, warning signs for a manic …

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 …

Breastfeeding and Mood – Nancy

A young mother noticed a relationship between breastfeeding and mood. as she begins to wean her son from breast-feeding she is experiencing a return of occasional irritability which disappeared towards the end of her pregnancy. We know that there is a strong effect of breast-feeding on many hormone levels and thought we would check into the literature. What does the …

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 …

Clutter Stress Depression

My post about getting things done sparked a lively interest and a bit of controversy. One of the careful readers of this site sent me a link to an article about clutter causing stress, particularly in women. New study shows a link between depression and the amount of stuff in your home. Interesting. I was curious that I didn’t know …

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 …