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…

Schizophrenia a frightening and misunderstood disease

Schizophrenia, which affects one per cent of the population, is the result of an organic problem in the brain

Schizophrenia a frightening and misunderstood diseaseSchizophrenia is a frightening disease that is not well understood. Although it has been well characterized in some movies such as A Beautiful Mind, this illness is more often thought of in vague and uncertain terms. Some would say they think a person with schizophrenia is ‘crazy’, or that they have multiple personalities, or that…

Psychiatric links at the heart of fibromyalgia’s pain

Psychiatric symptoms commonly associated with fibromyalgia make the condition worse for those who experience pain and depression or anxiety

Psychiatric links at the heart of fibromyalgia’s painFibromyalgia has stumped health-care professionals for years. Patients experience chronic and sometimes excruciating pain with no obvious physical reason. It's long been understood that fibromyalgia is somehow connected with co-existing psychiatric conditions. New research has examined this relationship more closely. Fibromyalgia is the existence of widespread pain throughout the body. In order to be diagnosed…

Advice for pregnant women with psychiatric illnesses

Although there are potential risks involved with taking medication, there are very real risks if important psychiatric medication is stopped

Advice for pregnant women with psychiatric illnesses  Women with psychiatric conditions enter into murky territory when it comes to making decisions about their treatment during pregnancy. As a general rule, women are advised not to take any medications during pregnancy and for many this is not a big sacrifice. Forgoing the use of aspirin or cold medication might make for a…

Vascular dementia: spotting the signs, addressing the causes

Vascular dementia is caused by a series of small strokes that damage the brain

Vascular dementia: spotting the signs, addressing the causesDementia is one of the more frightening conditions to affect us as we get older. We expect our bodies to become weaker as we age, but we hope that our minds remain sharp and we are able to interact with the world around us. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia to affect…

Tips to becoming a successful step-parent

Step-parenting is a sensitive role, often fraught with difficulties, but the myth of wicked step-parents is not valid and can be overcome

Tips to becoming a successful step-parentBlended families involving second marriages and step-parenting are common in Canada. Step-parenting is a sensitive role, often fraught with difficulties. From the time we are small children reading nursery stories, step-parents are portrayed in a negative light. In particular, storybook step-mothers are often wicked and unfair, and this myth sometimes sticks with us as we…

Healthy body, healthy mind: a double payoff for exercise

The mental health benefits of exercise are well documented, and even moderate sadness and feelings of anxiety can be improved

Healthy body, healthy mind: a double payoff for exerciseNot only is exercise good for our bodies, it’s also good for our minds. Most people with a regular exercise routine will tell you that it makes you feel good physically and is a helpful way of reducing stress, improving confidence and self-esteem, and increasing energy. It adds to a general sense of well-being. Although most fitness…

Do you suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

PTSD is a psychiatric condition that can develop after experiencing traumatic events

Do you suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?Traumatic Stress Disorder, once called shell shock, is a psychiatric condition that can develop after experiencing or witnessing life-threatening or traumatic events. Military action is the most commonly discussed experience that can lead to this disorder, but it can occur after natural disasters, terrorist incidents, accidents or violent assaults. This disorder has likely been around…
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