Spring Forward?

Those of us in the United States tried to remember what happens to the clock with daylight savings time using the phrase “spring forward and fall back.” In California daylight savings time has been accompanied by a week of the sunniest weather in a couple of months. For whatever reason, in our practice at Gateway Psychiatric there has been a sudden uptick …

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 …

Spring Mania

Spring Mania – Nancy

Spring Mania – Fact or Fiction? People struggling with mood disorders frequently find their moods tied to the rhythm of the seasons.  Spring heralds an upswing in energy and cheerfulness, while autumn and winter mean “down” times for many.  As the northern hemisphere enters the Spring season, people with bipolar symptoms are cautioned to watch out for signs of mania …

How High is High?

We met a few days ago with one of our favorite people. She’s a writer and an artist and she has been gradually reducing some of her medications to see whether the combination of more diligent self-care and a lower dose of medications can lead to better quality of life and a return of some of her creative capacities. This …

Elon Musk is Bipolar

Elon Musk is Bipolar – Twitter

Elon Musk is bipolar, according to a series of articles based on an exchange on Twitter. Responding to another tweet he said, “The reality is great highs, terrible lows, and unrelenting stress…” “I’m sure there are better answers than what I do, which is just take the pain and make sure you really care about what you’re doing.” He was …

Mindfulness: No Gain without Pain?

Mindfulness is one of those practices that seems to, quite perversely, be most important to practice at times when it is most difficult to do. A successful interior designer with bipolar disorder who has been on a mild run of hypomania for a month or so told me, in a roundabout way, about how people around her were getting a bit exhausted …

Impulsivity – Gina

Impulsivity is something everyone has experienced. We have all had moments when we have said something impulsively that we regret or have gotten carried away with an idea. Sometimes the consequences of an impulsive action are minimal.  But that is not always the case. Impulsive decision-making is more common in people with bipolar. And this increase is not just something seen …

Pace Yourself for More Manageable Moods

I have been doing a lot of thinking about how to pace yourself so that you can capture some of the energy and creativity associated with being mildly energized while not getting so involved that you burn out or edge into full-fledged mania. There’s nothing quite so exciting as entering a time of increased energy and ideas after a long …

Dangers of Mania

A cheerful young woman comes in for a consultation and soon we come to a topic that can be remarkably frustrating for all: trying to explain the dangers of mania. She is only mildly manic. It’s true she often gets into arguments that don’t really make much sense and she has been smoking more marijuana and hooking up with an …

Hamster Brain

A young woman who has been making good progress tackling the problem of severe depressive episodes suddenly is having trouble managing the opposite end of the mood spectrum.  She gets energized and is consumed with getting stuff done. She is unable to stop until she is exhausted and she crashes. I call this state of mind “hamster mind” because it is like the …

Hypomania and Success

During the 1990s clinical psychologist John Gartner was planning on writing a book about religious movements started by manic profits, but he began to be distracted by the energy and excitement swirling around him as people became immersed in the Internet “bubble”. He decided instead to write a book about the relationship between hypomania and success in the business world (The Hypomanic …

Travel and Mood

Travel and mood are very much related. Often a trip is associated with a significant change in mood. This can be due to many factors. Getting out of a rut, experiencing new locations and meeting new people can bring you out of the depression. However there is also the possibility that travel may disrupt circadian rhythms in a way that leads …

Memory and Cognitive Problems

Memory and/or cognitive problems are the rule rather than the exception in people with mood disorders1. There are a number of reasons for this and figuring out the best approach to these problems is tricky. Mood episodes (episodes of mania, hypomania or depression) appear to be harmful to the brain. Studies find that those with the largest number of episodes …

Hypomania and Sensory Experience

More than a decade ago, Dr. Suzanne Black, who occasionally writes posts on this blog, got me interested in the sensory experiences associated with hypomania.In our Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the only reference to these is under the heading of “distractibility.” And, indeed, sometimes people who are experiencing intense and profound sensory experiences everywhere they look and listen, may have trouble …

Fall Mania

I had been gearing up to write my usual set of posts about seasonal affective disorder, and then this afternoon I met with a young woman who has had a clear and consistent pattern of getting hypomanic in the fall. We talk a lot about winter and fall depression. And, for many people, as the days get shorter and darker …