General Articles

DBSA Facebook Guest Post

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

We just did a guest post on the Depression and Bipolar Disorder Alliance Facebook Page entitled “Confessions of a Bipolar Dummy.” Please check it out and post a comment, if you feel so inclined.


Mental Health Hero

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Joe Kraynak Mental Health HeroHey, Chato Stewart just named me Mental Health Hero of the Month, complete with a goofy caricature of me. Check it out at Mental Health Hero.


A Shot to Cure Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Monday, September 24th, 2012

injection PTSD

I recently came across an article about a Chicago doctor who claims to be able to cure PTSD through an injection — a procedure referred to as stellate-ganglion block (SGB). After poking around a little, I discovered that this is old news. Back in December, 2011, Katie Drummond published an excellent article about it in Wired magazine entitled “Navy Gives Neck Injections A Shot At Curing PTSD.”

Granted, this is off-topic on a bipolar blog, but I think any research that points to a cure for a mental illness is worth noting.

Doctor with injection photo available from Shutterstock


Brain Quote

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

If the human brain were so simple we could understand it, we would be so simple we couldn’t.

–Emerson M. Pugh as quoted by George E. Pugh, The Biological Origin of Human Values, 1977


Looking for a Sponsor

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

I’ve been in touch with a translator who wants to translate Bipolar Disorder For Dummies for printing and distribution in Iran. Wiley’s partner in Iran won’t do the book unless it has a sponsor to cover the printing costs, which as I understand it are about $1,400 to $1,500.

We’re checking with AstraZeneca, but haven’t had much luck yet. Does anyone have any ideas? We’re thinking of doing a fundraiser via our blog and Facebook page, but I’d rather have one entity put up the total amount of money and deal directly with Wiley’s partner, Ketab-e Avand Danesh.


“Unlisted” Impressions

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Unlisted Schizophrenia Documentary Film DVD CoverLast Thursday, my wife and I attended a viewing of Dr. Delaney Ruston’s documentary film Unlisted followed by a panel discussion. The film and panel discussion focused primarily on schizophrenia, but individuals with bipolar disorder and their families face similar struggles.

I was very impressed by the keynote speaker, Dr. Alan Breier, MD, who passionately and compassionately described the struggles of people living with schizophrenia. He called schizophrenia the “quintessential human experience,” because it affects the two qualities most responsible for making a person feel human:

  • The ability to work
  • The ability to love

How Were You Diagnosed?

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

doctorIn Bipolar Disorder For Dummies, we point out that as part of the initial work up for bipolar disorder you really should have a complete physical first to rule out any potential medical issues. Other possible diagnoses that may be considered by your doctor include the following:

  • Thyroid malfunction
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Diabetes
  • Mononucleosis
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
  • Lupus
  • Cancer
  • Cushing’s Syndrome
  • Hepatitis
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Medication or other substances that could have triggered symptoms

Sometimes we wonder whether doctors, including psychiatrists, follow the proper protocol in diagnosing bipolar disorder. Before diagnosing you and prescribing any medication, did your doctor perform a physical exam or refer you to an internist/specialist and/or order various tests to rule out medical issues that may have been causing symptoms of mania or depression?

What was the diagnostic process like for you?

Doctor image available from Shutterstock.


Part II of How’s That Working for You?

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Bipolar behaviorPart II of How’s That Working for You?

Tuesday’s post asked those with bipolar to weigh in on what works and what doesn’t. This week, family and friends of those with bipolar get their chance to weigh in on the same question in a different context. As a friend or loved one of someone who has bipolar disorder, what has helped you deal best with the situation in terms of helping yourself and your loved one?

I’ll kick off the discussion of what has and hasn’t worked for me in the past.


College Campuses Experiencing More Mental Health Needs

Friday, January 7th, 2011

mental health on campusIn an article in The New York Times entitled “Mental Health Needs Seen Growing at Colleges,” Trip Gabriel explores the increasing demand for mental health services on college campuses across the country.

The college years have always been vulnerable to mental health issues – partially due to the stresses of academic demands and the transition to living more independently and partially because late adolescence/early adulthood is the most common time to see full blown first breaks of major mental illnesses, including depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

But in recent years it has become clear that more and more students are coming to campus with previously diagnosed psychiatric conditions and taking medications. While this may be a sign of over-diagnosed and over-medicated youth, I see it in a more positive light for three possible reasons:


Manic Christmas

Monday, December 27th, 2010

My wife experienced a manic episode on Christmas Eve and ended up in the hospital near my home town of Chicago. Every day, she has been getting better.

Current plans are to pick her up tomorrow and bring her back home to Indiana. Please send positive energy and prayers her way. Me and the rest of my family could use them, too.

Wishing you all the best.


Bipolar Beat


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Candida Fink, M.D. and Joe Kraynak are authors of
Bipolar Disorder for Dummies.


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