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 …

But Hypomania is Great!

Sometimes I feel like the Grinch. This past week I found myself in the uncomfortable position of suggesting that it might be good to moderate the hypomania one of my patients was experiencing. I also got a somewhat frantic call from the therapist of another mutual patient, the therapist was asking, “how does this end… he really doesn’t want to …

Talking to Yourself

Sometimes talking to yourself is a sign of health. Those of you who have been following this blog for a while, know that I am very impressed with how mood shapes our reality. One day I wake up and the world is bright and filled with hope, and the next day, nothing works, nothing feels right, and there is no …

Magic

It’s hard not to believe in magic when you have the experience of mood shifts. What can be more extraordinary and more magical than waking up one day, after a long stretch of struggles and pain, and seeing the world transformed all of a sudden into something positive and hopeful and vibrant and alive. This is about as close to …

Mood and Reality: Mood’s Ability to Shape Perception and Interactions

We have been thinking for a while about how mood powerfully creates our reality. And how hard it is to hold on to a consistent sense of the world as moods change. Mood affects what we notice and remember and how we see it. It also affects where our thoughts naturally tend to go. We ran across an intriguing article …

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 …

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. …

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 and Food

Many people have an intuitive sense that a good diet is a foundation stone of good mental health. We don’t disagree, although the evidence for dietary manipulation’s effectiveness is not overwhelming. There are a couple of things that we have noticed over the years about food and its effect on mood that might be useful tips. For one thing, simple …

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. …