Bipolar Medication

Body Shaming Weighing You Down?

People with bipolar disorder often struggle with weight gain, because it's a side effect of so many medications used to treat depression and mania. Compounding the issue is the fact that the more you worry about weight and try to "shed the pounds" the harder it may be to lose weight. Meanwhile, all you accomplish is feeling bad about your body. I recommend a different approach, one that focuses on health and happiness and banishes body shaming.
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Interview on Side Effects of ADHD Meds

Tune in tomorrow, Wednesday, June 8 @ 11:30 AM eastern time, when I'll be interviewed on SiriusXM Dr. Radio (Channel 110) about the side effects of ADHD meds (partnering with the nonprofit  that works to inform the public about risks and benefits of all types of medications).

It's a short interview — 30 minutes — and people will be calling in with questions.

If you're interested, check it out and let me know what you...
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Lady Dynamite Hits All the Right Notes on Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder—mental illness in general—has not fared well in popular culture. "Crazy" patients and "crazier" doctors populate story lines based on stereotypes and stigma. The last few years have seen some evolution toward more realistic portrayals and narratives, including the movie Silver Linings Playbook and the Broadway musical Next to Normal, telling human stories of illness rather than just punchlines. Add to this burgeoning cannon a new Netflix comedy, Lady Dynamite, by the comedian Maria Bamford.
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Advocacy

Mental Health Care Is Health Care

May is Mental Health Awareness month, and today is Child Mental Health Awareness Day. Our goal, as healthcare providers, family members, and people living with mental illness, is to spotlight the presence of mental illness in our communities and to spread the word that these are identifiable and treatable medical and neurodevelopmental conditions which are not cause for shame.
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Advocacy

Bipolar Excuse or Explanation: Does It Matter?

My wife, Cecie, has bipolar disorder. Recently, she got into some trouble at work over a policy she violated. Not that it's anyone's business, but I'd better explain what she did (with her permission, of course), so you don't imagine something worse than it is. Cecie is a teacher. She brought her new puppy to school for a couple days and had two (high school) students take it outside the school building (located in a very safe area) without signing out. She received a written reprimand over the incident, which I personally think was a little over the top, but so be it.
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Advocacy

Stop Trying to Stop Enabling Bipolar Behavior!

Sandra lives with bipolar disorder. I am her psychiatrist or p-doc or shrink (as in Dr. Fink, the shrink). Sandra (not her real name), and I have worked together for many years. At today's appointment, she is moving a little slowly due to some back pain, but she tells me that her mood and energy have remained steady. That is outstanding news, because until a couple of months ago she was experiencing a terrible mood episode that rocked her life—a difficult mixed episode (mania and depression), along with substance use and memory and thinking problems. Her symptoms disrupted relationships with her family and worsened existing financial troubles. But, fortunately, her mood and energy level have not wavered to any clinically significant degree. Today she smiles and tells me about her volunteer work and playing tennis with a friend. Then she stops, and she cries softly and asks me how to help her parents understand what is wrong with her. While the good news is that many people in Sandra's life are starting to grasp that bipolar disorder is the problem (and that Sandra is not the problem), her own family of origin shuns and shames her, telling her that they have been advised to "stop enabling" her "bad behavior." They will not let her come to stay with them, and she has been excluded from family events. Sandra is heartbroken.
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Bipolar Depression

Depression and Bipolar Disorder Linked Biologically to Cardiovascular Disease

The American Heart Association has released a statement (circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2015/08/10/CIR.0000000000000229.abstract) identifying major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder in adolescents as specific risk factors for the early development of cardiovascular disease. Their review of numerous studies shows consistently higher risks of cardiovascular disease in adolescents with mood disorders compared to those without. Increased rates of heart disease in adults with depression and bipolar disorder have been well documented, but this is the first full examination of the data in young people with mood disorders.
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