How to keep your aging mind sharp

Research supports the ‘use it or lose it’ theory of mental ability

How to keep your aging mind sharpJust as we need to exercise our bodies to keep them healthy as we age, we must also exercise our minds to keep them from deteriorating. Research shows that people who engage in more activities that stimulate the mind have sharper cognitive functioning as they age than people who do not challenge their brains. In…

Early intervention important when fighting depression

If you are depressed you should not procrastinate and you should not settle for partial treatment

Early intervention important when fighting depressionIn the fight against depression, time is the enemy. Early intervention is critical when treating this chronic disorder and it often determines the success of treatment. What many people are unaware of is that depression can be a progressive disorder that gets worse as time goes on. Not only does the person experience more severe…

Patients can suffer from multiple mental disorders

It is important for physicians to thoroughly screen for all conditions if the patient is to be treated properly

Patients can suffer from multiple mental disordersThere are two difficulties in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness: the fairly common occurrence of more than one diagnosis at the same time in the same patient, and the similarities and overlapping symptoms of many psychiatric disorders, making it difficult to make a clear distinction or choose appropriate treatment methods. These difficulties may…

Suffering from chronic pain? Don’t give up hope

Many people have ongoing pain where there is no obvious injury, or continue to have pain at the site of an injury long after it has healed

Suffering from chronic pain? Don’t give up hopeChronic pain impacts the lives of many Canadians every day. Thousands wake up every morning to pain, deal with it throughout the day and don’t even escape its clutches as they sleep. Neuropathic pain is a very common chronic condition that poses a challenge for doctors. It's the result of a primary lesion or dysfunction in…

Is a hypochondriac faking it?

A hypochondriac is suffering a disorder of the mind rather than a disorder of the body

Is a hypochondriac faking it?Almost every physician has got one – the person who repeatedly comes in with a concern about having or getting a serious illness. They obsess about health related issues and behaviours and may frequently check their body for signs of illness. Physicians often complain these patients, with their unending problems, are a nuisance and clog…

Women are twice as likely as men to experience mood disorders

Not only are women more likely to have a mood disorder, but women experience different symptoms than men

Women are twice as likely as men to experience mood disordersAlmost anyone can attest to the fact that men and women are different in many ways. Scores of books – which have achieved varying degrees of success and acclaim – have been published that attempt to quantify and explain the differences. In the field of psychiatry, gender differences are an important phenomenon as men and…

Severe shyness can be an indication of several anxiety disorders

Even with treatment, people with these disorders will not become the life of the party

Severe shyness can be an indication of several anxiety disordersShyness is something many people experience both as children and adults. Most of us probably feel somewhat unsettled when we meet new people or are expected to give a presentation to our peers. However, severe shyness can be a hallmark of several anxiety disorders and can cause real problems in work and social settings. Social…

Booze can trip up psychiatric diagnosis

When intoxicated, people often exhibit signs that can resemble psychiatric conditions

Booze can trip up psychiatric diagnosisWe’ve recently been covering topics involving the effects of substance use on psychiatric conditions. This week, we complete the series by touching on the effects of alcohol abuse on mental health. As with other mind-altering or inhibition lowering drugs, alcohol makes an initial psychiatric diagnosis very difficult. When people are intoxicated, they often exhibit signs…

Smoking alleviates psychiatric symptoms

Smoking cigarettes seems to have a positive effect on some of the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia

Smoking alleviates psychiatric symptomsSome of you might be wondering exactly what smoking has to do with psychiatric illness or mental health at all. You’re not alone; this topic has not been widely discussed or considered in psychiatric circles until fairly recently. However, as new research emerges it becomes clear that the two subjects are more linked than we…

Coping with borderline personality disorder

For the two per cent of Canadians with this disorder, life is chaotic – often moving from one crisis to the next

Coping with borderline personality disorderAngry outbursts, unstable relationships and mood swings could describe symptoms of several psychiatric conditions. Bipolar disorder, discussed in last week’s column, is just one of them. Another particularly troublesome condition often associated with these traits is borderline personality disorder (BPD). For the two per cent of Canadians with this disorder, life is chaotic – often…