Hypomanic Episode

296.40 Bipolar I Disorder, Most Recent Episode Hypomanic

When an individual experiences a discrete episode of persistent and pervasive emotional hypomania, this term may be applied.
  1. A distinct period of persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood, lasting throughout at least 4 days, that is clearly different from the usual non depressed mood.
  2. During the period of mood disturbance, three (or more) of the following symptoms have persisted (four if the mood is only irritable) and have been present to a significant degree:
    1. inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
    2. decreased need for sleep (e.g., feels rested after only 3 hours of sleep)
    3. more talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking
    4. flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing
    5. distractibility (i.e., attention too easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant external stimuli)
    6. increase in goal-directed activity (either socially, at work or school, or sexually) or psychomotor agitation
    7. excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (e.g., the person engages in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments)
  3. The episode is associated with an unequivocal change in functioning that is uncharacteristic of the person when not symptomatic.
  4. The disturbance in mood and the change in functioning are observable by others.
  5. The episode is not severe enough to cause marked impairment in social or occupational functioning, or to necessitate hospitalization, and there are no psychotic features.
  6. The symptoms are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication, or other treatment) or a general medical condition (e.g., hyperthyroidism).

Note: Hypomanic-like episodes that are clearly caused by somatic antidepressant treatment (e.g., medication, electroconvulsive therapy, light therapyshould not count toward a diagnosis of Bipolar II Disorder.

Reprinted with permission from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth Edition. Copyright 1994 American Psychiatric Association



Stress and the Balanced Body

Stress causes so many negative reactions in our body chemically, which in turn brings forth symptoms such as poor sleep or insomnia, mood swings and depression, and anxiety. Worse yet, most of us are so used to running ourselves ragged and altering our chemistry with stimulants such as caffeine (as I write this I’m sipping on my morning cappuccino) that we fail to notice we’re burnt out until it’s almost too late.

Case in point, I didn’t pay attention to what stress was doing to my body until the bags under my eyes showed up and decided to stay. It was vanity that made me stop and pay attention and wonder, what’s going on?

Let’s get real: this isn’t about being less stressed. Stress isn’t going to go away. This is about figuring out how to better support your body so it can cope.

First, let’s look at what this stress thing is all about. Your adrenal glands respond to stress – they’re responsible for what we call the “fight or flight” mechanism of our body. The adrenal glands ready our body in case we need to run from a predator, our in this case deal with everyday high tech stress. Our healthy adrenal glands respond by releasing adrenaline, which makes us more alert and focused, and cortisol, which converts protein to energy and releases our stored sugar, glycogen, so our bodies have the fuel needed to respond quickly. (Excess cortisol leads to belly fat, by the way. But more about that another time!)

However, this process was meant to be a means by which we would handle an immediate threat. We were not meant to sustain the adrenal reaction to stress over a duration of time, or as consistently as we do in our modern technological always on lives.

Adaptogens are natural products proposed to increase the body’s resistance to stress, trauma, anxiety and fatigue.

… Now, many of my friends don’t believe in supplementing their body’s needs by taking natural products such as vitamins and minerals. You know, we’re supposed to get our nutrition from our food. While I agree in theory, I have to say there are several counters to that traditional belief. First, what do you eat every day? Are you eating a healthy, nutritious and well balanced diet? What about the food you’re eating, is it fresh, raw , and nutrient rich? Do you remember that Total cereal commercial where they showed how many bowls of that “other cereal” you’d have to eat to match the “total nutrition” in just one bowl of Total? Yeah… better start eating and make a permanent reservation for the Rainbow Grocery produce aisle!…

So, back to adaptogens. If you’re interested in getting your body back under control, this is your first place to start. I take 2 capsules of New Chapter’s Stress Advantage immediately when I get up in the morning. It’s important to take it right away because your stress level and your bodies “alert level” has a baseline that is set when you first get up. It’s kind of like the National Security Alert Advisory being set each morning. Take two and cut your feeling of stress and anxiety off right away. This particular formula strengthens the cardiovascular, adrenal and immune system response to stress by means of the world’s most powerful adaptogens from Chinese, Indonesian, Indian, and Russian traditional medical systems. Better yet, New Chapter makes their formulas are from whole-food complex vitamins and minerals certified as being made with organic ingredients. This means a better quality, more effective product for faster and more noticeable results. I noticed a significant effect in how I felt just a few days after taking it (2 in the AM, 1 in afternoon).

Meanwhile, when you’re under stress, you burn through your bodies resources like crazy, namely your vitamins and minerals. You should be taking a daily vitamin, and I suggest using only those made by the highest quality. I lean to Nature’s Sunshine for pretty much all my nutritional supplements, and you now know I’m also a fan of New Chapter. Check out New Chapter’s Every Woman or Every Man daily supplement. Their daily formulas deliver nutritive and energizing probiotic vitamins and minerals as well as stress-balancing and free-radical scavenging herbs cultured for maximum effectiveness. (Probiotics are the good bacteria that you’re hearing about in all the yogurt commercials lately.)

Lastly, there are the basics. Drink plenty of water so that your body can flush toxins and stay hydrated. Try to get consistent good sleep each night for approximately 8 hours. I’m not going to debate “how much you need” here. Just try to sleep more and in the same consistent time frame. Lay off the caffeine, and if you can’t manage that, at least layoff in the afternoon so you don’t affect your sleep. Eat well—fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and whatnot. Stay away from things in packages and boxes that are laden with preservatives and have been enriched, bleached, and modified, especially with fake sugars.

If you try out this program, please let me know how it works for you!

A Word of Caution: Remember, these statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products, and my advice, are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. As with any dietary or herbal supplement, you should advise your health care practitioner of the use of this product. If you are nursing, pregnant, or considering pregnancy, you should consult your health care practitioner prior to using this product.


Kick that cold. Prevent the flu. Do what I do!

My friend Tara is getting married on Friday. True to her hectic schedule and high stress (read: frequent flyer exposed to many different germies) she’s come down with a cold.

I wish I would have shared my tried and true secret with her before, and saved her from the cold in the first place. Instead, let’s hope we’ve got her better in a hurry!

What I do: A couple of days before I travel, I start taking Wellness Formula. It’s a great combo I’ve found that has all the cold kicking, immunity boosting herbs, vitamins and minerals in it.

I actually carry a small bottle in my backpack (which I always have with me!) so I can take them if there’s any hint of feeling something. I keep a bottle at work, and another at home, and take them when I think about it in general (an ounce of prevention is betta…!).

Some of the ingredients which are key in fighting colds and boosting your immunity so you don’t get them in the first place are:

Astragalus: Immuno-stimulatory, Stamina/Chi.
This herb increases the body’s production of interferon, which protects cells from viral and bacterial lung infections. Astragalus also enhances the body’s production of immunoglobulin and stimulates macrophages. It can help activate T cells and natural killer cells. Several studies also show that astragalus proffers heart-protecting effects, including protection against oxidative damage.

Echinacea: Antibiotic, Lymph, Blood Purifier/Builder, Immune.
This herb enhances immunity and stops the cold and flu viruses from reproducing once they gain access to a cell. German research has shown that echinacea stimulates immune-system cells called macrophages (cells that consume disease-causing microbes).

Elderberry: Flu, Infection, Cough, Cold Sores, and Skin Conditions.
In one study, researchers gave elderberry syrup to some members of an Israeli kibbutz during a flu epidemic. Those who took the syrup recovered faster than those who did not.

Garlic: Colds, Yeast And Bacterial Infections, Normalizes Blood Pressure.
Numerous scientific studies support herbalists’ claims that garlic is a “natural antibiotic.” Researchers have found it to be particularly good for fighting strep infections.

Schisandra: Coughs, Night Sweats, Insomnia, Thirst, Physical Exhaustion, Stress.
In a Russian study, children in the town of Chirchik who were given this herb were more resistant to a flu epidemic that swept through their town.

Siberian Ginseng: Energy, Stress, Endurance, Depression, Senility, Nerves.
When researchers surveyed residents of the cold regions of north-eastern China, they found that those who took this herb regularly got far fewer colds and reported fewer cases of bronchitis.

Also see my personal reference page of the historical uses of Herbs, Vitamins & Minerals, and Flower Essences.

The information on this site has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is not intended to prescribe, diagnose, or cure. Please consult your healthcare practitioner with any questions. The statements regarding our products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information on this Web site or in emails is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Informational material and representations have been provided by the manufacturers of the listed products.


Sick and tired of being sick and tired.

My skin has been breaking out lately. I’ve also been traveling internationally and my digestive system has suffered (yeah, you know what I mean). I just don’t feel like myself. Catching colds, though I never used to get sick. And just not quite 100%. Low energy. You know the feeling.

So I’ve decided I’m going to a full body internal cleanse. I’m going with Blessed Herbs’ kit because they make it so easy. Everything is packaged up for you, and the program is well thought out cleansing each of the body systems progressively.

Interested? Check out the Blessed Herbs Internal Cleansing Kit here.

I’m going to start out with fresh made juices and raw fruits and vegetables and go from there.
I’ll keep you informed as to my progress. First, a week of waiting for the cleanse to show up!


The Best Method to Lose Weight

Fen-Phen, Slim Fast, DexaTrim, TrimSpa, South Beach, Atkins, The Zone, Weight Watchers, Low Fat, High Protein, Cardio, Weight Training, Pilates, and the list continues. Seems like everyone you talk to wants to lose at least 5 pounds, and little wonder why when there are an estimated 65% of Americans who are overweight or obese according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Continue reading