Bipolar, Not So Much

Post-release Updates


Supplementary Materials by Chapter

7: Is it All in the Genes?

9: Daily Rhythms

10: Light and Dark

11: Managing Insomnia

12: Getting Active

16: Coming Soon: Bipolar and Technology

19: Mood-Lifting Stabilizers: The Full Details

21: Medications for Breakthrough Episodes

23: Anxiety, Concentration, and Sleep

24: Natural Healers

25: Live Long and Minimize Side Effects

27: Good Therapy

30: For Friends and Family



Updated 8/13/17 by Chris Aiken, MD


“Perfect book for the patient. Great information and many pearls, including how to help your doctor help you. I highly recommend it.”
Robert M. Post, MD, Head, Bipolar Collaborative Network, former Chief of the National Institute of Health's Biological Psychiatry Branch

“An easy-to-read analysis... filled with pragmatic, valuable information...A remarkable addition to the growing genre of mental health [books].”
—Library Journal

Available through WW Norton and Amazon.

Post-release Updates

We’ll keep you updated here as new research continues to improve our understanding of mood disorders. Follow more updates on Facebook facebook-logo-png-20.jpg.

[2/10/17] Mind Diet. We’re encouraged that the brain-foods we recommended in Chapter 14 have recently been put to the test by talented researchers. Bottom line: it worked as well as an antidepressant for depression, and improved memory and reduced the risk of dementia by up to 50%.

[12/10/16] Brisk Awakening and Dark Therapy. Our lifestyle chapters introduced these concepts, and new research has further refined them and confirmed that the benefits they bring are indeed significant.

[10/8/16] Cariprazine (Vrylar). This atypical antipsychotic treats bipolar and unipolar depression.

[9/22/16] CocoaVia. This flavanol extract of dark chocolate improves age-related cognitive decline.


[Return to Contents]



Chapter 7: Is it All in the Genes?

Companies which offer psychiatric genetic testing:




Molecular Testing Labs

Pathway Genomics


[Return to Contents]


Chapter 9: Daily Rhythms

Preventing Jet Lag


[Return to Contents]



Chapter 10: Light and Dark

Dawn Simulators

Naturebright L6060 Per2 LED. A good all-in-one model. Its long-lasting LED lights provide a good spectrum of color, and it’s highly adjustable so you can position it for the best wake-up time. It doubles as a bedside reading lamp with a night mode setting to reduce blue light.

Lighten Up. This low-cost option ($20-40) plugs in to an existing lamp to convert it into a sunrise alarm. That’s great if you want to keep the aesthetics of your bedside light. The major down-side is that it does not work with LED or compact fluorescent bulbs.

Smart Bulbs. These programmable lights are controlled through a smartphone and can be programmed to create a dawn simulator. The iphone app Sunrise and Sunset for Hue works with the Phillips Hue system. Other options include Belkin’s WeMo and GE’s Link.

Smartphone Apps. Several apps are available which can help you wake up by turning on the flashlight on your smartphone. Unfortunately, most turn it on suddenly rather than gradually, so they aren’t true dawn simulators. One exception is Rise & Shine for iphone, by Peter Matthews. These apps won’t work if your phone is in standby mode, so you’ll need to keep your phone plugged in to keep the battery alive.

More options are reviewed here.

Funny Alarm Clocks

See them in action on this youtube video.

Amber Lenses has a variety of attractive models.

Uvex makes the most affordable models, and Consumer Reports found the Uvex lenses offered the best protection:

Ultraspec 2000 in the SCT Orange lens, model #S0360X. These are large enough to fit over your glasses but can be worn comfortably on their own. Available on Amazon and Airgas.

SKYPER in the SCT Orange lens, model #3S1933X. These are a bit more stylish but won’t fit over your glasses.

To put your lenses to the test, look at a blue object while wearing them.If it still looks blue, the lenses are not working as intended.

Low-Blue Lights has an array of products to reduce blue light.

SomniLight has reading lamps with low blue light, and the Per2 LED dawn simulator has a low blue light feature for nocturnal reading as well.

f.lux is a free download for windows computers which will adjust the blue light in your monitor as the sun rises and sets. Candlelight by Oliver Denman performs the same function for Macs.

iPhone and iPad: the Night Shift setting (under Settings, Display & Brightness) reduces blue light from your device during the evening hours you specify. Choose “More Warm” on the settings to maximize the reduction.

Androids: search for the Twilight app to filter out evening blue.

Kindle: Blue-shade is a feature on newer Kindles which reduces blue-light for nighttime reading. It is available on Fire HD 10, Fire HD 8 and Fire tablets. Alternatively, ereaders with no backlight (e.g. Kindle’s Paper) emit no light at all, and could be used with a low-blue reading light such as those featured above.


[Return to Contents]




Chapter 11: Managing Insomnia

Breath2Relax: This app guides you through breathing exercises that can help sleep and anxiety.

CBT-i Coach: This free app will guide you through the full behavior therapy for insomnia (it was paid for with tax-dollars, as the VA hospitals use it to treat insomnia in returning soldiers).

CBT for insomnia can be learned through:

Online programs: Shuti, CBTforInsomnia

Workbook: Overcoming Insomnia by Jack Edinger

Or, for free, Dr. Aiken’s brief guide.


[Return to Contents]



Chapter 12: Getting Active

Apps which help you track the effect of daily activities on your mood include Ginsberg, MoodKit and MoodTools. A good workbook is Overcoming Depression One Step at a Time by Michael Addis and Christopher Martell.


[Return to Contents]




Chapter 16: Coming Soon: Bipolar and Technology

Apps for Mood Charting

Moodlog: The simplest option. Tracks depression, mania, and, if desired, sleep and medications.

DBSA WellnessTracker: This app was developed by the National Support Group for Depression and Bipolar, and tracks depression, mania, and everything else you could imagine. This includes lifestyle factors, physical health, medications, and labs. Fortunately, many of these are optional so you can keep it simple, and it has good definitions for all the symptoms, which makes it a great place to start if you’re just learning how to recognize them.

ThriveSync: Almost as comprehensive as the DBSA WellnessTracker, this app tracks depression, mania, anxiety, irritability, self-care, and allows free-entry journals.

Triggers: This one is not specifically for bipolar, but is great if you like to customize things. You can create your own names for the symptoms and stresses you track, as well as lifestyle factors that might influence those symptoms.

The bottom line: We recommend MoodLog for simplicity, and DBSA WellnessTracker for those who like to follow a lot more than just depression and mania.

For paper versions, see Dr. Aiken’s or Dr. Phelp’s guide to mood charting.

Automatic Mood Monitors helps monitor your mood in the background through smartphone activity, much as a pedometer counts your steps. You can sign up for free through their research program.


[Return to Contents]




Chapter 19: Mood-Lifting Stabilizers: The Full Details

Drug interaction checker


[Return to Contents]



Chapter 21: Medications for Breakthrough Episodes

Thyroid and Mood


[Return to Contents]




Chapter 22: Anxiety, Concentration, and Sleep

Preventing Jet Lag





[Return to Contents]



Chapter 23: Natural Healers

Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil)

N-acetylcysteine (NAC)






Light Box


[Return to Contents]



Chapter 25: Live Long and Minimize Side Effects

Partnership for Prescription Assistance, Together Rx, and RxAssist can connect you with programs that provide free medication. These programs are not available for generic medications and individuals above a certain income level.

GoodRx will search for the lowest price of a medicine at local pharmacies. Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Costco and other pharmacies often have lists of low-cost generic options.


[Return to Contents]



Chapter 27: Good Therapy

Referral database


[Return to Contents]



Chapter 30: For Friends and Family

Parenting Guides

Triple-P Parenting and Love and Logic are two programs we recommend. A third, which focuses specifically on depression, is Parenting Strategies.

When families disagree about treatment


[Return to Contents]