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 …

Getting Things Done

One of the perennial challenges for anyone with problems with depression or mood swings, and perhaps for anyone in our increasingly busy and frantic world, is how to not get overwhelmed by work and personal tasks.It is a challenge and we have historically relied on two sources of wisdom when we counsel people who are struggling with this:1.  David Allen’s …

Welcome to the Jungle

Welcome to the Jungle is a nice addition to the large list of bipolar self help books. Hillary Smith has written a book for the young person dealing with a new diagnosis. The information is up to date, but the tone is informal, and respectful of the mix of feelings that many people have facing a new diagnosis of bipolar …

Bipolar Books – Marbles

Bipolar books are coming out with greater frequency. I’m hoping to focus on some of the more creative examples in this site. I’m happy, once again, to post a sample of a wonderful book by Ellen Forney called Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me. This is a delightful cartoon book that was a New York Times bestseller. I’m hoping that …

Bipolar Suicide Film – Here One Day

I just attended the screening of a remarkable documentary at the Institute for Psychiatric Services meeting in San Francisco. The film is called Here One Day. It is an incredibly personal story by documentary film maker Kathy Leichter, about her mother, and her mother’s struggle with bipolar. The film is a tribute to a remarkable woman, who’s bipolar disorder both …

Foundations of Wellbeing

Rick Hanson’s Foundations of Wellbeing online seminar has helped many people enjoy better, richer, happier lives. As regular readers of this blog know, we very much like Rick Hanson’s books and other writings, and now he has created a wonderful online seminar. We don’t usually make such a big deal about programs, but we think this is going to be …

Mood Charting Part 1

“My medications work for a while and then they just stop working…” “I have tried everything and nothing works…” “I have been in treatment forever but I just never seem to get better…” In our experience these very common concerns are often symptoms of an everyday problem in psychiatric treatment of mood disorders: it is very hard in a traditional …

Yoga for Mood and Health

Many of our patients with chronic mood disorders report that beginning yoga and doing it consistently has been associated with periods of remarkable stability. There are studies supporting yoga as an evidence based approach to the treatment of depression. But it is hard to figure out where to begin. At the end of this page are some additional resources. One …

Reduce Your Social Stress

Regular readers of this blog know that I really like the writings of Rick Hanson (he has a wonderful email list called “Just One Thing” and a new book that is an excellent resource for personal transformation called Hardwiring Happiness). For the last couple of months, however, his posts have seemed a bit repetitive. Just in time for the New …

Blog for Mental Health 2014

One of the benefits of blogging is that you run into interesting people and ideas. If you blog on WordPress you also get regular information about others who are doing the same thing. This past week I learned about a group of bloggers who are all working to reduce stigma and increase understanding of mental health – the Blog for …

Bay Area Bipolar Educational Group

Dr. Descartes Li (see interview in our “Conversations” section) is starting another Psycho-Educational Group for Bipolar Disorder this spring. We are happy to encourage all readers in the Bay Area to find out more information about these excellent groups. The group is an especially good option if you still suffer from mood swings, or have questions about managing your meds (and …

Sleep Therapy and Depression

What would you do if you could double the effectiveness of your antidepressants? Let’s say that this new treatment also had no known side effects, and was completely safe. That is what four studies have suggested could happen if people who were started on antidepressants received cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTi). However, this treatment is not widely available. We …

Winter Leads to Spring

Someone shared with us a wonderful video about John O’Donohue, a Celtic poet, philosopher and writer. In it we found this quote that resonated very much with our experience. It is about winter. And depression. And how life blossoms from the seeming dreariness of a period of fallowness. We think you might appreciate it. If you like this clip we …