Life Lived as a Bipolar – Stuart Jessiman

Introducing myself, my name is Stuart Jessiman. I’m British, I come from London and I am Bipolar. I was diagnosed in Paris five years ago after seeing a Psychologist following a particularly hypo-manic period that nearly saw the collapse of my marriage and work. People react differently when diagnosed with bipolar. Strangely, this diagnosis far from shocking me gave me a quite profound sense …

Mindfulness Based Substance Abuse Treatment Works

Relapse is common after substance abuse treatment, indicating that there is a clear need for effective followup options. A new study has found that cognitive-behavioral relapse prevention (RP) and mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP) are both effective aftercare interventions for substance abuse treatment, but that the latter may have an especially enduring effect as far as reducing drug-use days and heavy …

“Hitting Bottom” and Substance Abuse Recovery

I’ve always been a bit ambivalent about the idea that sometimes, an alcohol or substance abuser needs to “hit bottom” before they can get well. For one thing, there aren’t that many people in our practice who have decided to stop drinking or using drugs as a result of a classic “hitting bottom” experience. For another thing, the whole idea …

Quitting Smoking Improves Mood

A study published in the British Medical Journal reports that quitting smoking had a simillar positive effect on mood as an antidepressant. The researchers did an analysis of 26 studies using a technique called a “meta-analysis” and looked at changes in mental health (anxiety, depression, mixed anxiety and depression, quality of life, positive affect, and stress) at ≥6 weeks’ post–smoking cessation …

What about Marijuana for Depression or Bipolar Moods?

Since we practice in San Francisco, which was at the forefront of the move to decriminalize marijuana, we find that many of the people with depression or bipolar have smoked, or are smoking, marijuana as a way of treating their depression. Over the years we have developed a general impression of marijuana as a psychotropic (mood affecting) agent.It has been …

Herbal Supplements Often Not What They Claim

A recent study concluded that herbal supplements are often not what they claim to be. The study was published in the journal BMC Medicine and it got front-page coverage on the New York Times website. Using DNA analysis, researchers tested 44 products from a dozen companies. The DNA signatures were compared with samples obtained from horticultural greenhouses. The study was summarized in the New …

On the Borderline

I am writing a presentation for the UCSF Bipolar Program on the topic of the relationship between Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder and I thought I would jot down some of my thoughts in a quick post. Borderline personality disorder involves a “pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity” which begins by early adulthood …

Compulsions, Addictions and Secrecy

I got an urgent call yesterday from somebody that I’ve been seeing for several years.  His fiancee had just left him.  They had been having problems for several months, problems mostly rooted in his ambivalence about commitment.  She went on his cell phone and found evidence that he had been having flirtatious conversations with seven different woman over the last …

Marijuana: Reefer Madness

Psychosis Risks with Marijuana Use This article is taken from Bipolar Network News. “At a recent conference Robin Murray, a researcher based in London, gave a talk about the potential adverse effects of tetrahydrocanabinol (THC). Considerable data indicate that chronic long-term smoking of marijuana is associated with the doubling of the risk of psychosis. Moreover, if a marijuana user has a …

Changing Bad Habits: Helpful Resources

If you talk to anyone who has worked to help people with serious bad habits (smoking, sex addiction, gambling, drug use) they will probably end up mentioning the “Stages of Change” model of Prochaska. The notion that people don’t just “flip a switch” and change was pretty revolutionary at the time, and the useful notion of stages of change: from …