Stopping Medications – How and When to Do It

Most people with depression and/or bipolar think about stopping medications at one point or another. The results can be disastrous or good depending, in part, on the motivation for change and how it is done. As with any major life decision, it is best not to approach the decision with too much of a sense of urgency. If you’re feeling …

Darkness Treats Mania?

Bright light is one of the most rapidly effective treatments for depression and may be helpful for depression even in people without a clear seasonal pattern (winter depression). A recent study suggests that it may also be true that darkness treats mania. The portion of the light spectrum that affects circadian rhythms the most strongly is blue light, which is …

Heat for Depression

Many people with depression have found Bikram Yoga to be an extremely helpful way of improving their mood and we are strong proponent of the value of yoga in general. The new article in the prestigious psychiatric journal JAMA Psychiatry raises the possibility that the heat in Bikram Yoga may also be helpful. In this study 30 patients were randomized …

Prefrontal Cortex and Limbic System

A very bright young man who has a great potential as the therapist but who is wrestled with chronic depression for years and has developed a pattern of avoiding doing things that he knows he has to do in order to move ahead with his life led me to talk again about the relationship between depression, the limbic system (or emotional …

Treating Mother’s Depression Helps Kids

Sometimes the very best way that mothers can help their children is by helping themselves. Fascinating study just published in the American Journal of Psychiatry by renowned psychologist Myrna Weissman adds to an extensive literature showing that maternal depression affects children in negative ways and that treating maternal depression can have profound benefits for the kids. In this article a …

Starting Bipolar Treatment – Dr Suzanne A . Black and Mr. Stuart Jessiman

Through the Door : The Initial Consultation – Part I I arrive at the door of an address of an English speaking psychologist in Paris given to me by my wife – This is someone I don t want to see.; but, my increasingly erratic, increasingly violent behavior is threatening my marriage , job and basic sense of well-being . …

Summer Vacation: Taking a Break from Therapy

Maybe because it’s summer, and everybody’s thinking about vacations, or maybe it’s just a coincidence, but we’ve been spending a lot of time talking with people these past two weeks about taking a break from treatment or drastically cutting back on treatment, etc. All of it has us wondering about how to think sensibly about these types of decisions. After …

Does Psychiatric Treatment Work?

How well do psychiatric treatments work? Aren’t psychiatric medications just placebos? Does psychotherapy really do anything? These are the kind of questions that mental health clinicians run into all the time. Dr. Maximilian Huhn and colleagues from the Munich Technical Institute (Huhn – reference 1) have conducted a major review of the data. They evaluated results from 852 clinical trials involving …

Specialized Treatment for Bipolar is More Effective

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. A recent article from the excellent Bipolar News Network, summarizes a study that showed that specialized treatment for bipolar was more effective than usual care and actually saved money (the cost savings from avoiding hospitalization more than paid for greater outpatient treatment costs). Patients who had been hospitalized for a first episode of mania were …

“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 …

Autism Spectrum Disorder: An inside look to CATs

Recently there has been discussion about alternative treatments for Autism Spectrum Disorder.  The acronym CAT is used to describe these complimentary and alternative treatments. CAT is a great approach to treatment for individuals that are concerned with potential negative effects of taking medication. Some examples of CATs include melatonin, RDA/RDi multivitamin/mineral, massage therapy, acupuncture, exercise, music therapy, and animal-assisted therapy. …