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Your Mental Health

Optimism - a helpful human bias

Sep 24, 2014 / 5:00 am

Pretty much everyone can tell you if they are a “glass is half full” or “glass is half empty” person. Do you tend to look on the bright side of things? Or pick out the negative aspects of most situations? If you are an optimist, you’re not alone. Research has shown...

Where did my sex drive go?

Sep 17, 2014 / 5:00 am

It’s not something most people are comfortable expressing in a group… but most adults experience periodic ebbs and flows in their libido and sometimes the ebbs are more frequent or last longer than we care to admit. Many different things can affect a person’s sex drive and...

Alcohol is a deadly force

Sep 10, 2014 / 5:00 am

Although it’s an important part of our social culture, alcohol is also a deadly force in this world. According to a report released by the World Health Organization earlier this year, alcohol is more deadly than AIDS, tuberculosis or violence. Actually, at 2.5 million alcohol related...

Empathy on the decline

Sep 3, 2014 / 5:00 am

Empathy is one of the finer human traits. We like to think of it as a hard-wired aspect of our humanity and one of the things that sets us apart from some other species – our ability to understand and care about the feelings of others. Certainly, it is very important in the function of a...

Higher death rate in mentally ill

Aug 13, 2014 / 5:00 am

Seriously mentally ill individuals have a much higher death rate than the general population. On the surface, this may just seem like a probable consequence of having a serious mental illness. For example, much attention is paid to the increased suicide risk among those with major depression,...

Exercise is good for your brain

Aug 6, 2014 / 5:00 am

Newsflash – physical exercise is good for you. Obviously, we all know this and have been given many reasons why lacing up the walking shoes or heading to the gym on a regular basis are beneficial activities. In past columns I have even mentioned that exercise can also be great for reducing...

Does bipolar disorder contribute to violence?

Jul 30, 2014 / 5:00 am

Are mentally ill people more likely to be violent? That is certainly the impression you could get from media reports, crime shows and the exaggerated stories of some. A typical horror story often begins with a ‘mentally unstable’ individual launching into a series of heinous violent...
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Workplace mental health in the spotlight

Jul 16, 2014 / 5:00 am

I have written about mental health in the workplace in the past and highlighted the importance for employers to realize that mental health problems affect people in all areas of life including the workplace. Mental illness hits companies hard every year in terms of lost productivity and...

Does pill colour matter?

Jul 9, 2014 / 5:00 am

When we pick up a prescription or over-the-counter medication, most of us feel it will simply be effective or not based on its medicinal ingredients and how they have been shown to work on the condition we’re trying to treat. In general, this assumption is true. This is why we have such a...

Dentistry fears

Jul 2, 2014 / 5:00 am

Does the thought of climbing into a dentist’s chair send shivers up your spine? Do you get a queasy feeling even contemplating a routine cleaning or filling? Well, you’re not alone. Dental fear is one of the most common fears out there -- as many as 75 percent of adults experience...

Asthma and suicide

Jun 25, 2014 / 5:00 am

The association may sound like a stretch – but did you know that asthma and suicide seem to be linked somehow? Research has shown that children with asthma have a much higher mortality rate than their peers. In addition, they have a greater than two-fold increase in completed suicide than...

Smoking and Alzheimer’s disease

Jun 11, 2014 / 5:00 am

Although it’s hard to imagine why anyone would need more reasons to kick a nicotine addiction, data suggests heavy smoking in midlife significantly ups your chances of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. In this study, researchers evaluated the records of more than 21,000 men...

Depression recurrence in teens

Jun 4, 2014 / 5:00 am

I have long talked about the chronic, recurring nature of depression. It is generally a condition that lasts throughout a person’s adult life and when left untreated it often develops with more frequent and severe episodes as time goes on. One study out of Duke University in the...

Love a powerful pain reliever

May 28, 2014 / 5:00 am

In the past I have written about the similarities between love and chemical addiction. When an intense romantic love relationship ends badly, our brain chemistry responds with activity in areas associated with impulsive, reckless or obsessive behaviours. One study out of Stanford...

Mental health system hard for parents

May 21, 2014 / 5:00 am

I have written before about the sometimes daunting experience people can have when navigating our mental health care system. For many people, it is difficult to determine which services are available and appropriate and how to access them in order to receive the best care possible during a...

Psychiatry – difficult but rewarding

May 14, 2014 / 5:00 am

I am fortunate to spend my working days in a career I find both fascinating and fulfilling. Medicine is a field in which there are virtually endless possibilities and within which a person can change focus without too much difficulty. Psychiatry is one of the final frontiers within medicine. We...

Mental health law

May 7, 2014 / 5:00 am

One of the areas in mental health treatment fraught with the most uncertainty and emotion is the area of involuntary hospital admission. In most areas of medicine, an adult can choose whether and when to be treated. Of course this is true when it comes to mental illness as well, but there are...

Hoarding a distinct disorder

Apr 23, 2014 / 5:00 am

Over the past couple of years, hoarding has captured the fascination of many. First it was featured on several major talk shows and then of course a television series dedicated entirely to the strange behaviour of hoarding. Video footage of rooms piled to the ceiling with old newspapers, food...

Placebo

Apr 16, 2014 / 5:00 am

For years, the placebo effect has baffled doctors and scientists. People taking inactive medications really do get better to a certain extent and there has been much questioning as to why this happens and exactly what triggers the power of the placebo. Placebos are used in virtually all clinical...

Obesity gene affects brain function

Apr 2, 2014 / 5:00 am

We all know it’s not good for us to gain too much weight. Health consequences such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke are very well documented and warnings abound. Some evidence also shows that obesity could be linked to negative mental health outcomes as...



About the author...

Paul Latimer has over 25 years experience in clinical practice, research and administration. After obtaining his medical degree from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, he did psychiatric training at Queen's, Oxford and Temple Universities. After his residency he did a doctorate in medical science at McMaster University where he was also a Medical Research Council of Canada Scholar. Since 1983 he has been practicing psychiatry in Kelowna, BC where he has held many administrative positions and has done numerous clinical trials. He has published many scientific papers and one book on the psychophysiology of the functional bowel disorders. He is an avid photographer, skier and outdoorsman.

 

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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.




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