There is no stigma to taking needed medication

Potential risks should be measured against the benefits of relieving symptoms of the disorder

There is no stigma to taking needed medicationMany people respond to a psychiatric diagnosis and medication recommendations by saying that they are simply “not a pill person”. It seems that the idea of having to take a pill every day is a daunting thought to some and a sign of weakness to others. In truth, there is no such thing as a…

Depression more common, and costly, than you think

A little known fact about depression is that it is a systemic disease rather than simply a mood disorder

Depression more common, and costly, than you thinkWe likely all know someone affected by clinical depression. Few of us, however, completely understand the magnitude, or severity of the condition, its chronic nature, or all of the symptoms that go along with it. Depression is more than a simple case of the blues. Everyone experiences sad days, or periods when life isn’t going…

Suffering paranoid disorder is like living a nightmare every day

Imagine living your life in a perpetual state of belief that someone is trying to hurt you

Suffering paranoid disorder is like living a nightmare every dayImagine living your life in a perpetual state of belief that someone was trying to hurt you, or destroy your career. Or, imagine believing, despite consistent denial, that your spouse was being continuously unfaithful. For some people, this is the nightmare of everyday life. Not because someone really is trying to destroy their life, or…

Mental illness can exacerbate marital problems

Although separation and divorce are always painful, it may be the best option for some couples and their families

Mental illness can exacerbate marital problemsIn the unstable world of mental illness, it is not surprising that existing marital problems can complicate things further, or that new marital tensions can be created. Many of my patients who come to me with anxiety or depression also have significant problems in their marriages. Whether they recognize it or not, these difficulties are…

Insecure about your body image?

Negative body image could be precursor to more serious illnesses, including anorexia, bulimia and body dysmorphic disorder

Insecure about your body image?Most people experience occasional periods of dissatisfaction with the look of a certain body part or feature. Although this is discouraging, it is normal – particularly in our culture where we are barraged daily with media images of men and women with ‘perfect’ bodies. While some self-critique is to be expected, there are instances when…

Warning signs someone you love is experiencing mania

The individual experiencing mania is unable to realize the impact of his or her behaviour

Warning signs someone you love is experiencing maniaHave you ever noticed a friend or family member go through what appears to be a total personality change? Perhaps he or she was slightly introverted but suddenly became the extroverted life of the party. Or maybe a quiet friend suddenly became a high speed talker. This can sometimes be the dramatic face of mania…

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…