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Your Mental Health

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...

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...

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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