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Your Mental Health


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...

Depression and smoking often linked

Mar 26, 2014 / 5:00 am

If you suffer from depression, odds are good that you have also smoked at some point in your life. Unfortunately, those with depression also seem to have a much harder time kicking the habit than smokers who are not depressed. It has long been known there is some relationship between depression...

Importance of Alzheimer's treatment

Mar 19, 2014 / 5:00 am

Canada’s population is aging. This is not news, but seems to be a fact our politicians overlook in setting long term policy and priorities for our country. An area where we need to be particularly proactive is in healthcare. I have written at various times about the looming healthcare...

Sleep apnea and depression

Mar 12, 2014 / 5:00 am

Sleepiness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and irritability - these symptoms really could be part of the description of many disorders. They are common in depression and also happen to be hallmarks in a sleep disorder called sleep apnea. Not only do they share some symptoms, but sleep apnea...

Auditory Processing Disorder

Mar 5, 2014 / 5:00 am

From time to time, I am asked by parents about Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) as a possible cause for their children’s attention problems or difficulties at school. Since this condition doesn’t get a lot of coverage, I thought it would be a good topic to cover in this...

Bullying and suicide

Feb 26, 2014 / 5:00 am

By now we all know that schoolyard and cyber bullying is a serious subject with serious consequences for those involved. Preventing and stopping bullying continue to be important priorities in our quest to provide physical and emotional safety for our children. Bullying among children is...

Psychotic disorders have familial risks

Feb 19, 2014 / 5:00 am

It has long been observed that children of parents with schizophrenia and other disorders involving psychosis seem to be more likely than average to develop similar disorders themselves. Research has also shown there is a familial link, but to date there has been little study into the...

Why does depression persist?

Feb 12, 2014 / 5:00 am

Depression is one of the unfortunate conditions affecting a fairly large percentage of the human population for which there is no obvious evolutionary advantage. The common occurrence and persistence of a trait like clinical depression with such negative effects early in life is difficult to...

Gender differences & aggression

Feb 5, 2014 / 5:00 am

Are men really more aggressive than women? Certainly, that is the prevailing perception – but what does science tell us? A study conducted 30 years ago at Stanford found that psychological differences between the sexes are generally minimal with the exception of aggression. Since then,...

Addiction and psychiatric treatment

Jan 29, 2014 / 5:00 am

When it comes to treating individuals with both a mental illness and a co-existing addiction, people benefit most from a combined treatment approach. More than half of those who seek help for addiction to alcohol or drugs also experience a mental illness. Similarly, between 15 and 20 percent of...

Why does schizophrenia exist?

Jan 22, 2014 / 5:00 am

Schizophrenia and manic-depressive illness (or bipolar disorder) are arguably the two most important conditions in psychiatry; the distinction between the two originated in 1919 with the work of E. Kraeplin. There are, however, serious doubts about whether these are really two distinct disorders...

Mental health first aid

Jan 15, 2014 / 5:00 am

We’re all aware of the obvious benefits of taking a first aid course. Even if it’s not required for our work, many of us take some first aid training so we’re able to help if our child, family member or friend starts choking or takes a fall and injures themselves. Anyone who...

Keeping your New Year's resolution

Jan 8, 2014 / 5:00 am

Well the holiday dust has finally settled. The cupboards are empty of all those extra sweet treats, guests have gone home and we’ve returned to daily routines. This week you may have a nagging memory of some New Year’s resolutions you made for 2013. Whether you have begun in your...

How depression affects men vs. women

Jan 1, 2014 / 5:00 am

It has long been known men and women often experience things differently. One need only speak with a few people to learn this is true. But why are we different and how do these differences work in our bodies? A growing body of evidence is now showing there are marked gender differences in the...

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

Dec 25, 2013 / 5:00 am

Those of you who regularly read my column will be very familiar with my frequent recommendation of cognitive behaviour therapy. This type of psychotherapy has become increasingly common over the last 25 years and is strongly evidence-based. It was preceded by behaviour therapy. Even among early...

Mental health tips for the holidays

Dec 18, 2013 / 5:00 am

The hustle and bustle of the season is upon us. Bells are jingling, Christmas trees are flying out of the lots, the malls are packed and there’s nary a parking spot to be found. It’s time to take a step back and plan to make this season a truly joyful one. Here are a few tips to help...

Goals are good for you

Dec 11, 2013 / 5:00 am

I have written before about the importance of interests and goals for health and happiness. Research has confirmed that patients who maintain a greater sense of purpose in life as they age may have greater protection against Alzheimer's disease. Those with a sense of purpose had more than a 50%...


Dec 4, 2013 / 5:00 am

So often in my column I am writing about ways in which the human brain can trip us up and make daily functioning in life more difficult. In such a complex organ, small genetic differences can cause one person to experience the irrational delusions associated with psychosis, another to feel the...

Depression and bipolar disorder

Nov 27, 2013 / 5:00 am

Depression and bipolar disorder are very commonly seen in general medical practice and both are under-recognized and sometimes inappropriately treated. In one study, 15 percent of patients visiting an urban general practice were found to be currently experiencing clinical depression and another...

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.


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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