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Your Mental Health

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....

Therapy apps

Jan 21, 2015 / 5:00 am

Is there an app for that? This little line has aptly defined the recent age of smart phones, tablets and related technological toys. We truly do carry our ‘life in our pockets’ these days and chances are, if you’ve thought of it there is an app for it. Psychiatry and mental...

Pill pusher?

Jan 14, 2015 / 5:00 am

I have often heard myself and other doctors referred to as pill pushers. In my experience this is usually from someone who disagrees with treatment recommendations that involve medication – and the term is always used pejoratively. Many patients will not accept the use of psychiatric...

Coordination could go a long way

Jan 7, 2015 / 5:00 am

Last week I talked about the difficulties that exist across Canada in accessing psychiatric services. The realities of finding a suitable psychiatric referral in a timely manner are often frustratingly difficult. The issue has been addressed by the Mental Health Commission – which has...

Better access to psychiatric services needed

Dec 31, 2014 / 5:00 am

If you have tried to get a referral to see a psychiatrist in recent years, you may not be surprised to learn that it can be difficult. In our region the wait time for an appointment is typically greater than six months. Across Canada, access to psychiatric services is proving to be an issue...


Dec 24, 2014 / 5:00 am

Sex. It’s such a driving focus in our society and even our species that it can be hard to imagine anyone could be entirely satisfied without it. Although uncommon, asexuality is experienced by roughly one percent of the population according to a Canadian study published in 2004. An...

Childhood neglect and mental health

Dec 3, 2014 / 5:00 am

Research has made a clear causal link between early childhood neglect and lifelong mental health issues. We have long seen correlations between childhood emotional damage and lifelong issues such as lower IQ, attachment disorders and mental illness. Intervention to date has primarily...

Marriage after a brain injury

Nov 26, 2014 / 5:00 am

There has been much research in recent years about the devastating and lifelong impact of brain injuries. New research continues to bring to light the dangers of concussions and we hear about personality changes and symptoms similar to mental illness that can result when a person’s brain is...


Nov 19, 2014 / 5:00 am

Do you find it annoying to hear the sounds of someone else chewing or slurping? This is a pet peeve for many people – but for some, small sounds like these pose a big problem. Individuals experiencing a condition called misophonia or selective sound sensitivity syndrome can become anxious...

Pet effect needs more research

Nov 12, 2014 / 5:00 am

A study published a couple of years ago makes an important point about the importance of thorough scientific research to prove any kind of therapeutic product or treatment. I have written in the past about the psychological and physical benefits of pet ownership. Almost anyone who has...

Depression - what is it good for?

Oct 15, 2014 / 5:00 am

Many times I have talked about the prevalence of depression. Of all the psychiatric conditions, depression and anxiety are by far the most common and major depression is thought to affect roughly eight percent of the population at some point in life. Compare that with the less than one percent...

Autism genes complex

Oct 8, 2014 / 5:00 am

Yet again, genetic research is teaching us so much more about the way things work in the human body and taking us down unexpected paths. For the past couple of decades we have suspected genetic involvement in the cause of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Over the past couple of years,...

ADHD - not just for kids

Oct 1, 2014 / 5:00 am

It’s a disorder almost everyone associates with hyper kids who can’t sit still in a classroom, but for 90 percent of kids with ADHD, symptoms continue to cause problems throughout adulthood. Although the name, attention deficit disorder, implies the condition is primarily a problem...

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...

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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