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Your Mental Health

Cannabis and driving

Aug 26, 2015 / 5:00 am

After many senseless deaths and serious injuries as a result of alcohol impaired driving, Canada has implemented strict laws prohibiting driving under the influence of even a relatively small amount of alcohol. In BC, it is well publicized that a blood alcohol content of even 0.05 could result...

Munchausen syndrome

Aug 5, 2015 / 5:00 am

One of the more difficult mental illnesses to discover or treat is known as Munchausen syndrome. Munchausen syndrome occurs when an individual with a very deep need for attention pretends to be sick in order to get comfort, sympathy and treatment from medical professionals. Often, people...

Life satisfaction & outlook

Jul 29, 2015 / 5:00 am

It may not come as a surprise to you, but research shows our life satisfaction and risk for depression are linked. Yes – those with a high degree of satisfaction or contentment with their lives are also at a lower risk for depression while those with a more pessimistic outlook are also the...

Positive impressions of aging

Jul 22, 2015 / 5:00 am

What do you think about getting older? Are you looking forward to your senior years; to wisdom, self-realization and the chance to look with satisfaction at the life you have created? Or are you dreading the years that make up the latter part of your life? Are you fearful of a changing physical...

Depression and anxiety

Jul 8, 2015 / 5:00 am

It is common to hear people say that certain psychiatric diagnoses are purely a product of our culture – that conditions like depression or anxiety only exist here in the Western world. Although it is true that different cultures may perceive or label mental health in different ways, new...

'Chemo brain'

May 27, 2015 / 5:00 am

If you or someone you love has gone through the trial of chemotherapy for treatment of cancer, you have no doubt heard about many unpleasant side effects. Nausea, tenderness, hair loss, weakness and fatigue are just a very few common side effects during treatment. The list of difficult symptoms...

Untreated bipolar disorder

May 20, 2015 / 5:00 am

Bipolar disorder can be difficult to diagnose. Hallmark symptoms of moodiness and irritability are common to many other conditions and it is rare for the disorder to present in an immediately obvious manner. Occasionally, an individual with bipolar disorder will present with psychotic symptoms...

Character leads to success

May 13, 2015 / 5:00 am

Do you remember being disappointed about something as a kid and having a well-meaning adult tell you not to worry – that disappointments build character? Those words of wisdom are not always welcomed when in the throes of some childish catastrophe, but they are wise nonetheless. Author...

Brain myths

May 6, 2015 / 5:00 am

In spite of our easy access to information in this technological age - or perhaps partly because of it – myths about the human brain abound. You have undoubtedly heard people say that we use just a fraction of our brain. Imagine how much smarter we would be if we were only able to...


Apr 15, 2015 / 5:00 am

When we see news stories involving very bizarre or inexplicable behaviour, it is common to pause and think, “that person is psychotic.” I hear this comment frequently from people when talking about strange or unsettling behaviour. The statement may indeed be correct, but there are a...

Schizophrenia medication

Apr 8, 2015 / 5:00 am

Schizophrenia is a very serious and disabling mental illness. Troubling symptoms including hallmark psychotic hallucinations and delusions tend to develop in the prime of life and can lead to detachment from reality and a near total loss of ability to function in society. With appropriate...

Obesity and mental illness

Apr 1, 2015 / 5:00 am

We’re all aware of the rising epidemic of obesity in North America. A quarter of all Canadian adults are clinically obese as well as one in 10 Canadian children and many more are overweight. We know obesity is associated with all sorts of health problems and can even lead to premature...

Hair pulling

Mar 25, 2015 / 5:00 am

Have you ever been gripped by an irresistible bad habit – like children who suck their thumbs or those who can’t stop biting their nails? Many of us have some quirky habit we can’t seem to shake. Something we do when we’re absentmindedly watching TV or when we’re...

Keep learning new things

Mar 11, 2015 / 5:00 am

Did your parents ever tell you to “learn something new every day”? It’s a common little catch phrase with a singsong ring to it that lends itself to being made into a jingle. As with many phrases that have become cliché, it got that way because of the truth within...

Purpose in life good for your brain

Mar 4, 2015 / 5:00 am

Perhaps it goes without saying, but having a strong sense of purpose in life is good for you. Purpose in life is defined as a psychological tendency to derive meaning from life’s experiences and possess a sense of intentionality and goal directedness. Many studies have already shown...

Get the most out of psychiatric care

Feb 25, 2015 / 5:00 am

It’s not easy to get an appointment to see a psychiatrist. With current shortages patients are often faced with a wait time of many months which can feel like a very long time when struggling with a mental health issue. Here are a few simple tips that will help you get the most from your...

Postpartum obsessive thinking

Feb 18, 2015 / 5:00 am

Over the past few years public awareness has increased dramatically about the prevalence of postpartum depression. We now understand the postpartum period is a time of great transition and chemical upheaval that puts new mothers at highly increased risk for the development of psychiatric...

Treating tics

Feb 11, 2015 / 5:00 am

Roughly one percent of the population experiences Tourette Syndrome (TS), a distressing condition that begins in childhood and is characterized by motor and vocal tics. Although first described in 1885, this neuropsychiatric condition is still not fully understood. We do know it typically begins...

Time well spent

Feb 4, 2015 / 5:00 am

Maybe it sounds trite, but the way you spend the majority of your time is the best indicator both of what you are passionate about and what direction your life is heading. A lot of lip service is paid to the notion of ‘following your dreams’ or ‘pursuing a passion’. We...

Common myths about psychiatry

Jan 28, 2015 / 5:00 am

Myths and stereotypes have always been part of the perception surrounding psychiatry – in part because mental illness was a taboo subject and something most people knew very little about. Today it is coming more and more out of the shadows and many of the old assumptions have disappeared....

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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