Archives for Anxiety


Bipolar Story: Dealing with Bipolar II in College

Candida and I also host , where people share their stories of living with bipolar disorder. Visitors can post comments on each story. Recently, Maddie posted her comeback story, sharing her experience of living with Bipolar II in college, being diagnosed, and successfully returning to her studies.

Maddie's tale is very inspirational and well-written. Definitely recommended reading for any college students who suffer melt-downs, which unfortunately is all too common. We encourage you to read Maddie's story,...
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Son Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 5th Grade Now Adult

Gwen writes...

My son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the 5th grade. He is now about to turn 21. He cuts and he cannot hold a job or finish a class at the local community college.

His bipolar disorder seems to be more depression-based than manic, or maybe the lithium and Abilify he takes helps the mania but doesn't treat the depression.

Are there any medications recently developed which can help the depression? I know there is a study underway looking at this problem, but I can't find out much about it. Sam took the initial test and they said that he qualified, but is no longer interested in participating in the research.
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Alternative Treatments

Using Mindfulness for Bipolar Disorder

By Shamash Alidina, author of Mindfulness For Dummies

Mindfulness is a meditation therapy that uses self-control techniques to overcome negative thoughts and emotions and achieve a calmer, more focused state of mind – a moment-to-moment awareness with qualities of kindness, curiosity, and acceptance.

Mindfulness was originally an ancient eastern approach to wellbeing that has been found, through recent psychological research, to be a powerful way of managing a range of mental health conditions.

The great thing about mindfulness is that it's not only a technique you practice now or then, but a way of living your whole life, moment by moment. People who practice mindfulness regularly find they are more focused, calm, and better able to cope with the challenges of life.

Observing thoughts instead of reacting to them

In mindfulness, you learn to see thoughts as just thoughts rather than as facts or situations you must react to. Thoughts commonly come and go in the mind, and if you treat all thoughts as true and assign them all the same level of importance, you're more prone to feel down in the midst of negative or self-judgmental thoughts and highly elated in the midst of positive thoughts. This rollercoaster ride of emotions and energy often seems to trace the same path as bipolar disorder's ups and downs.
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Alternative Treatments

Rewiring Your Brain through Mindfulness

If brain chemistry can affect thoughts and behaviors, can thoughts and behaviors affect brain chemistry and perhaps even rewire the brain?


An accumulating body of evidence supports the notion that non-medical interventions – especially mindfulness – can create changes in the body and brain that help reduce distress and improve brain function in a variety of ways.

MindfulnessA mental state of heightened awareness, free of distraction, and more conducive to deliberate thought and action.
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Bipolar Disorder Medication Spotlight: Benzodiazepines for Anxiety

Over the past year or so, this sort-of-biweekly series has shined the spotlight on a host of medications used to treat the two poles of bipolar disorder. The medications and medication classes we have covered so far include lithium, anti-seizure medications (including Depakote and Lamictal), antipsychotics and atypical antipsychotics (including Zyprexa and Seroquel), SSRI antidepressants (including Prozac and Paxil), SSNRI antidepressants (including Cymbalta and Effexor), and the older Tricyclics and MAOI's for treating depression.

This week, we shift gears to start our coverage of medications not exactly designed for treating mania or depression but that nevertheless may come in very handy for treating symptoms that often accompany bipolar disorder and may contribute to its severity – symptoms such as anxiety and sleeplessness. Today, we examine anxiolytics (pronounced ang-zee-oh-li-tiks), sometimes referred to as tranquilizers – medications used to alleviate anxiety and calm the nerves. The main family of anxiolytics is made up of the benzodiazepines – commonly referred to as " benzos."
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