Battling the myths and stereotypes of psychiatry

Dr. Paul Latimer helps minimize some of the misconceptions about seeking psychiatric help

Battling the myths and stereotypes of psychiatryIt seems that practically every person who comes in for treatment has a different idea of what constitutes psychiatry and what they should expect when seeing a psychiatrist. Many stereotypical impressions of psychiatry arise out of television shows or books. In these stories, patients are portrayed lying prostrate on a couch, delving into the deep…

Brain scan studies shed light on ADHD

It's increasingly clear that ADHD is not just the result of bad parenting, but a disorder with biological and genetic contributors

Brain scan studies shed light on ADHDBrain imaging is advancing research into the biological underpinnings of many psychiatric conditions. And as we understand more, we find new directions for effective treatments. In attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), some of this research points toward new treatments that don’t rely solely on the traditional stimulant medications. One study using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)…

Weight gain common side effect of some psychiatric medications

Lack of energy, lack of motivation and sedating medications are all contributing factors

Weight gain common side effect of some psychiatric medicationsAn unfortunate reality sometimes associated with mental illness and its treatment is unwanted weight gain. Some psychiatric illnesses such as mood disorders and anxiety disorders can cause changes in appetite and motivation that can lead to weight gain on their own. However, weight gain is also a fairly common side effect of some psychiatric medications.…

Using genes to attack disease with precision

Pharmacogenomics, a mixture of the pharmaceutical and genetic sciences, holds vast potential for health care

Using genes to attack disease with precisionPharmacogenomics is a long word that describes an area of health research with vast potential for future medicine. Now part of most new clinical trials, it's a mixture of the pharmaceutical and genetic sciences. It involves the study of how a person’s genes affect the way the body responds to drugs. The hope is that we…

Busting myths about our brains and how we learn

We use all of our brain, not just 10%; educational toys don't work; preferred learning styles ineffective in performance

Busting myths about our brains and how we learnIn spite of easy access to information in this technological age – or perhaps because of it – myths about the human brain abound. You have likely heard people say that we use a fraction of our brain. The theory goes something like this: Imagine how much smarter we would be if we could figure out a…

Some promising treatments for Alzheimer’s

As research continues, it is likely that more and more effective treatments will be developed

Some promising treatments for Alzheimer’sOne of the first questions to arise after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease almost always deals with treatment. People want to know what treatments are available, how they work, what they will mean in terms of symptom improvement and the length of time left for the patient to live independently. Three medications available for Alzheimer’s…

How to get the most out of psychiatric care

The more prepared and open you are as a patient, the more you will get out of an appointment

How to get the most out of psychiatric careIt’s not easy to get an appointment to see a psychiatrist, who are in short supply. Patients often face wait times of many months, which can feel like a very long time when struggling with a mental health issue. So when you do get an appointment with a psychiatrist, its essential that you be prepared. Here…

Guidelines for a driver suffering ADHD

Following these simple guidelines and your doctor’s treatment advice should help you to be safe on the roads

Guidelines for a driver suffering ADHDPretty much everyone remembers learning how to drive. What exhilarating freedom there is to get behind the wheel and be the one to decide on the destination and to no longer need parents as chauffeurs! Yes, learning to drive is a memorable time. Of course, with freedom comes responsibility and driving can be dangerous as…

Having children if you have a mental illness

The key is to think ahead and make sure the necessary resources and support are in place

Having children if you have a mental illnessDeciding to have children is a big step for any couple and those who have a history of mental illness have a few added difficulties to surmount along the way. Today I would like to discuss some of the important questions a couple should ask themselves when they decide whether or not to have children…

The link between genes, the environment and depression

Further research is needed to discover all the genetic and environmental factors involved in depression

The link between genes, the environment and depressionFor many years, researchers have suspected the existence of specific genes that make certain individuals more susceptible to depression than others. The suspicion arose when it became obvious through observation that some people seem to be more sensitive to stress than others and some develop depression regardless of the events in their lives. There are…

Goals, interests key to achieving success and happiness

Developing interests and setting goals is the first step to leading a more fulfilling and rewarding life

Goals, interests key to achieving success and happinessIf I were to ask you what motivates you to get up in the morning, would you have some specific answers for me? Would you list your job, your family, some particularly enjoyable activity or a goal you are working toward? Frequently, my patients tell me they have no reason to get up in the…

Education has positive impact on your mental health

Studies show that higher levels of education increase the likelihood of being happy and healthy in later years, and improve self-esteem

Education has positive impact on your mental healthResearch has provided another reason to stay in school, pursue post-secondary education and continue learning – education is good for our mental health. In earlier columns, I have highlighted the importance of keeping the mind fit in order to prevent Alzheimer’s as we age. Education (formal and informal) is a good way to do this.…

Why you need to talk to your teens about sex

Early sexual activity puts children at risk of pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases – and it can damage them emotionally

Why you need to talk to your teens about sexThe sexual behaviour of teenagers can strike fear in the hearts of most parents. Media reports and documentaries routinely tell us that today's teenagers are more sexually active, at younger ages, than ever. It's not uncommon for 13- and 14-year-old kids to experiment sexually. But what does this mean and what are the implications, if any,…

The psychiatric implications of thyroid disease

Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause psychotic symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations, plus depression

The psychiatric implications of thyroid diseasePsychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety disorders are often mistaken for physical illnesses because of shared or confusing symptoms. Making a correct diagnosis can be tricky. But sometimes the situation is reversed – a physical illness is mistaken for a psychiatric one due to overlapping symptoms. One excellent example occurs in the presence of…

Don’t turn away when you see potential for suicide in others

As many as 90% of people who commit suicide experience depression, substance abuse or other mental health disorders

Don’t turn away when you see potential for suicide in othersSuicide is the darkest and most tragic face of mental illness – but we can reach out and help. When a person cuts his or her own life short out of desperation to end mental and emotional suffering, there is little that can comfort families and loved ones. One in 25 Canadians will attempt suicide during their…
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