Luminette Light Therapy Glasses

Weak circadian rhythms, seasonal mood symptoms, and disrupted sleep and daytime fatigue are common problems for people with depression and bipolar, the Luminette light therapy glasses may be a key part of a practical strategy to counteract these problems. Light therapy (very bright light, usually in the morning) has been shown to improve seasonal and non-seasonal depression in people with …

Online Group Therapy – Bipolar 101 – Gina

Gateway’s Bipolar 101 – Online Group Therapy Last week we started the Bipolar 101 Group at Gateway Psychiatric, the second time we’ve hosted this group. It was inspiring to see how a sense of community and connection can develop so quickly in an online meeting.  I regularly hear of the value that support plays in the lives of people I …

Campfire – Online Support

Isolation.  Seems like we should have conquered that by now.  With all our high tech tools, friending, connecting and tweeting, how can anybody be lonely anymore?  Yet isolation and loneliness are real problems, burdening people who struggle with the ordinary stresses of life, and exacerbating mental and physical illnesses. The Internet is not a solution to all our problems, it’s …

New Spouse by Friday

I’ve been working with a very successful attorney who has been struggling to find a way to stay in his marriage for a couple of years.  The heart of the matter is that his wife had a serious health problem, which is now resolved. Through the process of dealing with this health problem she probably became depressed and certainly became …

Bipolar 101 – The Basics and Beyond

Bipolar 101, an online course hosted by Gateway Psychiatric begins March 17, 2017: Bipolar 101 – The Basics and Beyond. The class is based on the acclaimed Barcelona Bipolar Disorders Program. Bipolar 101 – An online course will cover topics such as: “What is Bipolar?” – What do we know about the causes and what are the implications of this information. …

Lady Dynamite – Maria Bamford

Maria Bamford is Lady Dynamite in Netflix’s original comedy series which debuted in 2016. Maria Bamford is also a woman with bipolar moods whose comedic work often revolves around the experience of living with bipolar. In her work she talks frankly about being hospitalized, mania, depression and obsessive thoughts. I am indebted to the wonderful magazine (available in both print …

Pregnancy and Mental Health

Pregnancy and mental health problems – how to reconcile the two – are often topics of discussion on this website and in my clinical practice. In the past we have often referred people to  Vivien K. Burt, MD, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Clinical Psychiatry and the Director of the Women’s Life Center at UCLA and the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for …

Mindfulness Apps Updated

Mindfulness Apps Updated We have updated our mindfulness links based on a nice review in the New York Times. The reviewer suggests starting with one of the two apps (both available on iPhone and android) that has a complete program for beginners – Calm or Headspace. We particularly liked the fact that the reviewer pointed to the very personal aspects …

Mind Maps and Post Its

Stuck with a problem that you can’t figure out? Having trouble generating ideas? One of the things that the mind is very good at is coming up with potential pitfalls. And all of us have found ourselves trapped with recurring negative thoughts that make it hard to do any creative thinking. Sometimes changing the process or framework for thinking about …

DBT for Bipolar Group

We are very happy to pass this information on about a great group for people with bipolar being offered in the bay area by an expert in the psychosocial treatments for bipolar: Dr. Jenifer Culver. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Skills Group for Individuals with Bipolar Disorder in Los Altos, CA. The Next group begins September 2015. This group focuses on teaching …

UCSF Bipolar Group

The UCSF bipolar psychoeducational group starts on September 14, 2015. This group is lead by bay area bipolar expert Descartes Li, MD. It runs for 8 sessions, Mondays 12pm to 115pm. Most commercial insurance is accepted. Dr. Li describes this group as “an advanced class about bipolar disorder for people who have bipolar disorder.” For regular readers of this blog it …

Mindfulness for Bipolar – Eric

Could mindfulness meditation be a viable treatment for bipolar disorder? What are the aims of modern-day meditation? Transcendence? Inner peace? Maybe a sort of vague, on-and-off tingling around your body where you think your chakras should be? With mindfulness meditation, there really aren’t any guarantees. In fact, just having any expectations, or the experience of “anticipation,” runs counter to the …

Parity Website

We ran across information about a new website that is drawing attention to the issue of mental health parity and that is dedicated to helping people get the behavioral health treatment they need – Paritytrack.org. The essence of the federal law that requires mental health parity in insurance coverage is not that mental health needs to have a certain level of …

Blog Recommendation

A longtime reader of this blog sent us an email – “I wanted to share one of my favorite blogs. I first found out about the author and blog through his amazing article right after Robin Williams’ suicide. I feel he writes what I feel but can’t put into words on my mental health. Best, Geraldine.” http://letsqueerthingsup.com/2015/06/22/mental-health-recovery-isnt-always-daisies-puppies-and-rainbows-and-thats-ok/ Geraldine has bipolar …

Bipolar Depression Webinar

Bipolar Depression with Dr. Peter Forster and Dr. Kelsey Schraufnagel Please join us for a Webinar on June 24th, 2015 at 9:00 am PT. For many people with bipolar, it is depression that is the source of most of their difficulties. Considerable controversy has surrounded to the question of how to treat bipolar depression. New medications offer the hope of …

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 …

Mindfulness Apps

Mindfulness apps have intrigued us for years. The New York Times recently two mindfulness apps. I was pleased to see that the ones they chose were the two apps that we find are the most popular these days: Headspace and Calm.com. I’ve updated the webpage that lists a number of apps and links that you may find helpful. But I thought …

CBT for Insomnia Reduces Suicidal Thoughts

CBT for insomnia (CBTi) is clearly preferable to taking sleeping medications for most people. Studies show that cognitive behavioral therapy is associated with greater improvements in sleep quality than sleeping medications, and that those improvements are more durable, and, particularly in the elderly, sleeping medications are associated with significant adverse effects, including an increase in mortality. But it can be a hard …