August 5, 2009

Bipolar Mood Tracking

We are currently researching various Mood Tracking Systems which we will publish shortly. Patients and doctors alike can potentially benefit from the use of active mood charting. Our initial evaluation includes two web based systems, ChronoRecord and MoodTracker and one client/server system, bStable. If you have used one of these Mood Tracking tools or others please add your comments to this post. Our goal is to provide our readers with a good foundation from which they can explore the usefulness of these systems for themselves, friends or loved ones. Read more...
Posted by Michael Lane at 2:32 PM | Comments (2)

August 20, 2007

Antioxidants Being Studied as Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

Clinical Psychiatry News featured an article outlining the research of Dr. Michael Berk, which was presented at the Seventh International Conference on Bipolar Disorder. Dr. Berk focuses on possible treatment of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia with antioxidants. The article is heavy on brain chemistry terms and theory, but still a good read about an exciting possible new treatment. This research is motivated by the studies that suggest oxidative stress plays a role in both of the disorders and they even show deficits of certain antioxidant enzymes. Glutathione, specifically, acts as a defense against oxidative damage and is connected to the Read more...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 12:46 PM | Comments (8)

August 9, 2007

Dark Therapy: A Possible Treatment For Bipolar Disorder

Insight Journal, which is an online resource maintained by the National Center for Health and Wellness, provided a short article on a possible new complementary treatment for bipolar disorder - dark therapy. It's fairly well known that "light therapy" is sometimes used to help those suffering from depression, especially seasonal affective disorder. This type of mood disorder occurs when people are sensitive to the changes in natural light through the seasons. They are exposed to bright lights for certain amount of time each day, and research has shown that bright light can activate the production of serotonin. A depletion of Read more...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 10:43 AM | Comments (4)

July 30, 2007

A Move To A More Holistic Approach In Bipolar Disorder, a UK based news and resource site relating to pharmacology issues, included a piece on the changing outlook of bipolar disorder in the psychiatric community. In this article they discuss how more professionals and patients are realizing that a holistic approach - an approach that deals with more than just the primary symptoms of the disorder and treats the "whole" person - is of greater benefit and may "revolutionize patients' prospects". The article includes references for the information listed. The article points out that a holistic approach makes sense because bipolar disorder affects so many areas of one's life. Read more...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 11:26 AM | Comments (2)

July 17, 2007

Family-Focused Therapy For Bipolar Disorder

Many family therapy pioneers began their work with patient's suffering from psychotic disorders and severe mental illness. Murray Bowen, possibly one of the most well known frontiers of family therapy began his work with schizophrenic patients. During his time, he actually began hospitalizing entire families so that the "system" could be treated. This was highly innovative therapy, yet much too extreme. Those drastic measures of the Bowen days have paved the way for a newer approach to family therapy with severe mental illness, which some refer to as family-focused therapy. The Wall Street Journal included an interesting piece on how Read more...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 12:34 PM | Comments (8)

June 26, 2007

Omega-3's May Be Helpful in Treatment of Childhood Bipolar Disorder

Omega-3 fatty acids have been gaining a lot of support as complementary treatments for many psychiatric and medical disorders. Fish oil is one of the richest sources of these omega-3's and now psychiatrists think they may be beneficial for children suffering from bipolar disorder and ADHD. The Chicago Tribune featured an article last week discussing the great benefit this may have, especially now. There has been a great increase in diagnosis of both ADHD and bipolar disorder in children. And often times these children are prescribed several drugs originally intended for adults. Many argue against this because research has shown Read more...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 11:25 AM | Comments (8)

April 14, 2007

Study Shows Intensive Psychotherapy Helps In Bipolar Disorder

In this second write-up we've done on the results from the largest federally funded bipolar study ever conducted the University of Colorado reports that patients who receive psychotherapy in addition to medication get better faster from bipolar disorder's debilitating depression and stay better longer. Part of a $26.8 million effort, the study found that adding intensive psychotherapy to a bipolar patient's medication treatment made them one and a half times more likely to be clinically well during any month of the study year, compared with a group that didn't receive intensive therapy, according to CU-Boulder psychology Professor David Miklowitz, the Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 10:31 AM | Comments (4)

April 11, 2007

TrueHope EmpowerPlus - and Compliants about Unproven Nutritional Supplements for Bipolar Disorder

At we make efforts to write about all the important developments in the complementary treatments that are being proven as effective in helping treat bipolar disorder. We aren't concerned about what company sells the effective treatments - but we absolutely care that they are truly proven effective as indicated by duplicated and well designed research studies performed by independent organizations. We don't want to see anyone harmed by products or services, and we don't want to see our community members waste their money. We want the companies that sell any type of product (complementary therapies or medications) to be Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 11:29 AM | Comments (2)

April 6, 2007

Intensive Psychotherapy More Effective For Treating Bipolar Depression

Patients taking medications to treat bipolar disorder are more likely to get well faster and stay well if they receive intensive psychotherapy, according to results from the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD), funded by the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The results are published in the April 2007 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. Bipolar disorder is a debilitating illness marked by severe mood swings between depression and mania that affects 2.6 percent of Americans in any given year. "We know that medication is an important component in the treatment Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 6:39 PM | Comments (2)

March 8, 2007

Omega-3 Increases Grey Matter, May Explain Why Omegas Seem to Help Moods

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish like salmon and sardines, are associated with increased grey matter volume in areas of the brain commonly linked to mood (depression and possibly bipolar disorder) and behavior according to a University of Pittsburgh study. Findings will be presented today by Sarah M. Conklin, Ph.D., postdoctoral scholar at the Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine Program in the department of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, at the American Psychosomatic Society's Annual Meeting, held in Budapest, Hungary. Animal research has shown that raising omega-3 intake leads to structural brain changes. In a separate study presented by Dr. Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 8:02 AM | Comments (4)

December 17, 2006

Health Insurance Company Offering First Ever Bipolar Disease Management Program

Aetna Behavioral Health, a leading diversified health care benefits companies, introduces the industry first Bipolar Disease Management Program. This voluntary program plans to better treat clients suffering with bipolar disorder by giving information and care management; all in hopes of increasing medication and treatment adherence, and in turn reducing relapse. Read more...
Posted by Michelle Roberts at 11:43 AM | Comments (13)

October 21, 2006

Bipolar Disorder and Sleep

Excerpt The following is an excerpt from the book Bipolar II by Ronald R. Fieve, M.D. Published by Rodale; October 2006; $22.95US/$29.95CAN; ISBN 1-59486-224-9 Bipolar Disorder and Sleep "How many hours do you sleep on average at night, and what is the quality of your sleep?" are two of the first questions I ask every patient on the initial interview and all subsequent follow-up visits. While the hypomanic usually gloats over how little sleep he needs, getting by on 3 to 4 hours a night, the lack of quality sleep can wreak havoc on his mood and decision-making abilities. Sleep Read more...
Posted by daedalus at 5:22 AM | Comments (6)

June 10, 2006

Free Online Game to Reduce Social Stress, Improve Self Esteem

As we've reported in the past, research indicates that people who have bipolar disorder are more likely to suffer from social stress and have difficulty interpreting facial expressions. Additionally, research is suggesting that if you can lower the levels of social stress then people who have bipolar disorder will be less likely to relapse, and more likely to have good outcomes. There have also been research that suggests that bipolar disorder who have lower social stress have a lower risk of developing bipolar disorder. There is a new free internet-based game that has been developed by psychiatric researchers at McGill Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 7:10 PM | Comments (4)

September 12, 2005

Omega-3 oils (EPA) Promising

EPA Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils) -- EPA is short for eicosapentaenoic acid -- have, in another study, been shown to have some promising effects in people who have bipolar disorder. Omega-3 oils have been used as a complimentary treatment for the depressive phase of the disorder and it has been noted for not precipitating a manic episode, as some antidepressants can. In this study 12 individuals with bipolar I disorder that were being treated as outpatients were given 1.5/2 g/day of omega-3 fatty acid EPA for around 6 months. 8 of the 10 who followed up for at least Read more...
Posted by at 12:07 PM | Comments (0)

September 6, 2005

Interpersonal & Social Rhythm Therapy Effective

University of Pittsburgh Study Results Published in Archives of General Psychiatry PITTSBURGH, Sept. 1 - A treatment program that stresses maintaining a regular schedule of daily activities and stability in personal relationships is an effective therapy for bipolar disorder, report University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers in September's Archives of General Psychiatry. Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT), a novel approach developed by the University of Pittsburgh researchers, was effective in preventing relapse over a two-year period, particularly in patients who don't have other chronic medical problems such as diabetes or heart disease. IPSRT is based on the idea Read more...
Posted by at 12:45 PM | Comments (3)

August 30, 2005

Self Help Support Groups

Creating websites and placing posters in schools are just some of the ways self-help support groups (SHSGs) could reach young people with a mental illness, according to a study just completed at the University of Western Sydney. Dr Ann Dadich spent three years researching such groups and found many were not being fully accessed by those who most needed them - young people. Instead, young people were more likely to self-diagnose, research their illness through the Internet, or talk to friends about their problems. "Collectively, SHSGs offered young people support...but not all young people regarded the groups as supportive," says Read more...
Posted by at 12:40 PM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2005

Family Support Helps Bipolar Teens

University of Colorado at Boulder Study Suggests Strong Family Support Helpful in Treating Teen Bipolar Disorder Bipolar adolescents, saddled with mood swings far more severe than the raging hormones and mood changes common to healthy teens, may have a strong ally in their fight to control the disease. Preliminary results from studies conducted at the University of Colorado at Boulder show that teen-agers who were treated with a combination of mood-stabilizing medication and family-focused therapy showed improvements in depression and mania symptoms. Behavioral problems also improved during the combined treatment, according to CU-Boulder psychology Professor David Miklowitz, who led the Read more...
Posted by at 12:02 PM | Comments (1)

August 11, 2005

Talk Therapy For Suicide Prevention

A new study in the Journal of American Medicine shows that short-term cognitive-behavioral therapy intervention can significantly reduce suicide risk and depression severity in a population of high-risk subjects who have previous histories of attempted suicides. People with bipolar disorder have a significantly increased risk of suicide as compared to the general population - meta-analysis studies estimate that about 1/3 of all people with bipolar disorder will attempt suicide at least once, and 10-15% will succeed in taking their own life (Source: TAC Briefing Paper on Suicide). People with Bipolar II have been reported to have higher risk of suicide Read more...
Posted by julia.d at 9:07 AM | Comments (5)

July 29, 2005

Wake and Light Therapy for BP Depression

A new review article from a special committee from the International Society for Affective Disorders (ISAD) discusses the evidence for chronotherapeutics (light and wake therapy) in treating both unipolar and bipolar depression. The suggestions of this review article concerning the efficacy of chronotherapeutics could lead to new, larger research trials of these therapies for bipolar patients. According to the article, about 60% of depressive patients (either bipolar or unipolar subtype) improve rapidly with sleep deprivation therapy. This can involve a single night of total sleep deprivation, or a partial (second half of the night) deprivation period. Similar numbers of positive Read more...
Posted by julia.d at 10:13 AM | Comments (1)

July 2, 2005

Melatonin Agonist For Bipolar Disorder

A melatonin agonist may be able to treat those suffering from bipolar disorder. Agomelatine (Valdoxan) is the first melatoninergic antidepressant and it has been shown to be effective in treating major depressive disorder. This has led researchers to the conclusion that it might be useful in treating bipolar disorder. "The new agent works on the melatonin 1 and melatonin 2 receptors and also has 5-HT2c antagonist properties, as do selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), said Dr. Calabrese, a professor of psychiatry, at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. He added that the hope is that a melatoninergic agent would be Read more...
Posted by at 1:05 PM | Comments (4)

June 29, 2005

Physical Health Needs Attention

According to the BBC, "experts believe poor physical care contributes towards a three times higher rate of premature death among those with severe mental problems." Specific statistics estimate that those with severe mental illness have five times the risk of diabetes, and twice the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory disease, when compared to the general population A lack of care for physical health, often manifest in lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, and hygiene, puts this group at higher risk for disease and illness. A proposed solution is a "holistic approach" to treatment plans of those with illnesses such as Read more...
Posted by julia.d at 8:35 AM | Comments (0)

June 28, 2005

VNS Therapy Approved in Europe

Cyberonics have received approval to start selling vagus nerve stimulation therapy (VNS) in the member countries of the European Union for treating epilepsy and depressive disorders. Bipolar disorder is one of the disorders that vagus nerve stimulation can treat. In the United States, FDA agreed in December 2004 to review the Model 103/104 PMA-Supplement through the Real-Time Review process. Cyberonics anticipates submitting that PMA-Supplement within the next six months. "Cyberonics is pleased to offer the next generation of VNS Generators to our epilepsy and depression customers in Europe," commented Robert P. ("Skip") Cummins, Cyberonics' Chairman of the Board and Chief Read more...
Posted by at 11:49 AM | Comments (7)

June 26, 2005

Physical Activity Has Benefits for the Mentally Ill

A recent study was done concerning the medical costs for the mentally ill. The researchers compared those who were sedentary to those who lived an active lifestyle and found that there was a significant difference in medical costs for the two groups. "Scientists from the United States conducted a study 'to determine whether leisure-time physical activity is associated with lower direct annual medical expenditures among a sample of adults with mental disorders. Using the 1995 National Health Interview Survey and 1996 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, differences between medical expenditures for sedentary and active persons were analyzed using t-tests'" (, 2005). Read more...
Posted by at 2:53 PM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2005

Diet lowers Depression

It is hard to believe that a simple change in diet could relieve (or lessen) the symptoms of depression that one has. Two of the nutrients found in nuts, fish, and beets may do just that. Omega-3 and Uridine have both been found to produce changes in rat behavior when they were put on at least 30 days of a consistently high diet in these nutrients. The rats were put through a standard depression test that gave researchers insight into how the rats were feeling. "Rats forced to swim in chilled water with no way to escape will become hopeless Read more...
Posted by at 8:49 PM | Comments (2)

June 13, 2005

Curing Onself through Writing

The Times newspaper in London recently wrote a story of a man named Jason Pegler who discovered that he was bipolar at age 17 and who is now 30. Pegler has had several manic episodes during this period and has spent more than a year in hospitals during this time. Pegler wishes to break down the stigma associated with having a mental illness and found that the best thing for him was chronicling his experiences with bipolar disorder. As Pegler states in the article, "When someone comes out of the illness, their first thought should be 'Someone's going to help Read more...
Posted by at 11:37 PM | Comments (11)

Brain Stimulation Alternatives for Depression

When one hear's about brain stimulation therapy they initially think of ECT or electro-convulsive therapy, but new types of brain stimulation therapies are coming out. They include rTMS, MST, VNS, and deep brain stimulation. Of course, all of these acronyms are meaningless without an explanation. rTMS is repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, MTS is magnetic seizure therapy, VNS is Vagus nerve stimulation, and deep brain stimulation is just that. Although these procedures sound foreboding their therapeutical potential is undeniable. In rTMS therapy "A magnetic coil is placed over the patient's scalp (specifically the left prefrontal cortex). The field passes unimpeded through Read more...
Posted by at 12:57 AM | Comments (1)

May 26, 2005

Fatty Acid levels in Brain Linked to Depression

New Study Links Levels Fatty Acid Levels To Depression Bethesda, MD -- A group of researchers from Israel has discovered that rats exhibiting the signs of depression have increased levels of the omega-6 fatty acid, arachidonic acid, in their brains. The details of their findings appear in the June issue of the Journal of Lipid Research, an American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology journal. During recent years, omega-3 fatty acids have enjoyed increased popularity as numerous studies have shown that supplementing diets with fish oil (a natural source of this polyunsaturated fatty acid) does everything from reducing the risk Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 9:02 PM | Comments (1)

April 15, 2005

Vitamins for Bipolar

While I suspect the claim that vitamins can help for psychiatric disorders (especially for Omega 3 vitamins - a group of vitamins that have had quite a bit of academic research support for helping in brain disorders, from such places as Sheffield University in the UK). All the research I've seen, however, on things like vitamin C, Niacin, etc. - in treatment of mental illness have all turned out negative (we have some of both the positive and the negative info on the "Other Treatments" web page. Specific information on EMpowerplus and Synergy & Truehope is here. This month Discover Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 1:26 AM | Comments (8)

March 14, 2005

Resetting the Brain - Bipolar

Time magazine has a good article on transcranial magnetic stimulation - that, while focusing primarily on depression, at least provides a positive update on the proceedure. Resetting The Brain - Can a pulsing magnet really change a personality? Doctors--and patients--are cheered by early tests "Martha, a mother of two from Connecticut, has suffered from depression for the better part of two decades. She has been to psychiatrists and psychologists and tried dozens of medications, but nothing seemed to work very well or for very long. Then last June she heard about an experimental treatment being tested at the New York Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 6:17 PM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2005

Childhood Bipolar Guidlines

Treatment guidelines for kids with bipolar disorder published A Cincinnati Children's Kowatch led effort Early diagnosis and treatment is important for children and adolescents with bipolar disorder, according to new treatment guidelines. The guidelines were sponsored by the Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation (CABF), a national parent advocacy group, and were drafted by a scientific consortium led by Robert Kowatch, M.D., director of the Pediatric Mood Disorders Center at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. "These new guidelines were formulated by a group of leading experts in child psychiatry and are the most up-to-date and comprehensive set of guidelines for the Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 8:24 PM | Comments (3)

February 18, 2005

Omega 3 helps with Depression (Study)

Another study was recently completed that supports the theory that consuming higher than average levels of Omega-3 fatty acids (as found in Salmon, walnuts, sugar beets, etc.) helps to lessen depression. In fact, this new research at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital indicates some food ingredients may be as effective as traditional antidepressants in bolstering mood. Although the connection has so far only been explored in rats, the results are encouraging and shouldn't be too surprising, according to Dr. Bruce Cohen, president and psychiatrist in chief at McLean Hospital. In a similar study released in 1999, Dr. Andrew Stoll, director of the Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 4:41 PM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2004

Bad and Good News on Bipolar Disorder Treatments

A recent report published by Decision Resources, Inc., suggest that the number of people receiving treatment for bipolar disorder will grow significantly over the next decade ( from 55% to 65% growth in the United States by 2013; from 40% to 50% in Europe by 2013; and from 40% to 50% in Japan by 2013). The report goes further, however, and forecasts that new generic drugs (that are generally much less expensive than brand name drugs) will result in significantly lower drug treatment costs. According to the new Pharmacor study entitled "Bipolar Disorder," sales of anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, and antidepressants will Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 7:56 AM | Comments (4)

October 2, 2004

Abilify approved for Bipolar Disorder Mania

Bristol-Myers Squibb (bmy) and partner Otsuka Pharmaceutical received approval of Abilify, a drug for the treatment of acute bipolar mania, from the Food and Drug Administration. Abilify was previously approved in 2002 by the FDA to treat schizophrenia. Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 8:02 AM | Comments (4)

August 27, 2004

Transcranial Maganetic Stimulation Looks Hopeful for Bipolar Disorder

repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or rTMS - May be helpful for Bipolar Disorder From Canada's Toronto Star comes this news that suggests rTMS may be helpful for Bipolar Disorder. The News story suggests that "The 61-year-old St. Catharines man says he "lost everything" after he developed bipolar mood disorder. Despite trying several different medications and numerous rounds of electroshock therapy, nothing seemed to stabilize his wild and debilitating mood swings. At one point, he was so despondent, he tried to kill himself. Then Schmidt learned of a new approach available in Hamilton that showed good results with hard-to-treat (or treatment-resistant) Read more...
Posted by szadmin at 2:36 AM | Comments (18)