De-institutionalization of mental illness a costly mistake

Governments reneged on their promise to implement new, community-based treatment programs for the mentally ill

De-institutionalization of mental illness a costly mistakeIt used to be that individuals with serious mental illnesses were sent to live in institutions for extended periods and often their entire lives. Since there were few effective treatments, most patients would be sedated or physically restrained to control disordered behaviour. This environment was the norm for mental health patients who were completely separated…

The stigma of mental illness

If you think you suffer from a mental illness, resist succumbing to stigma and ask your doctor about getting treatment

The stigma of mental illnessGetting treatment for a mental illness is often a lot more difficult than simply calling up your doctor and making an appointment. For many people it involves a painful process of accepting that they have a problem and being willing to expose themselves. Many people who come to be treated for the first time say…

Tips to unravelling the complicated language of disability insurance

Whether you are covered or not is really not up to your doctor

Tips to unravelling the complicated language of disability insuranceA lot of people come to me hoping I can help them in their attempt to leave an unsatisfying work situation and receive disability insurance because of the stress or depression their job is causing. Unfortunately, disability insurance is not as straight forward as is sometimes thought and is intended only for fairly specific reasons…

Brain stimulation used to treat depression, but without the side effects

New treatments show promise and further our understanding of the disease – without the nasty baggage of side effects

Brain stimulation used to treat depression, but without the side effectsIt's no secret that depression is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. But medical science is making headway in treating this serious, chronic condition. Several effective treatments are available but they don’t work for everyone all the time. And the medications can cause troubling side effects. As well, many people remain chronically depressed in spite of…

The right psychiatric care depends on proper diagnosis

Identifying the disorder and acting appropriately can be difficult when symptoms overlap

The right psychiatric care depends on proper diagnosisWhen psychiatric symptoms overlap, making the right diagnosis and determining the best course of care can be difficult. But careful observation of the patient over time can help bring clarity to medical professionals. In medicine, many names for different conditions sound very similar and this can be confusing. One of the more confusing and even…

Blood/injection/injury phobias easy to treat

It is important to face one’s fears in order to get over them

Blood/injection/injury phobias easy to treatAlmost everyone has a friend or family member who claims to faint whenever they need to get a vaccination or to have a blood sample taken. Sometimes these individuals are seen as overly squeamish about something that really isn’t very serious. In reality, a lot of people suffer from a phobia of blood, injections and…

The biology behind learning and memory

What happens inside the human brain when a person learns new behaviour

The biology behind learning and memoryIn order to advance our ability to treat psychiatric illness, it is important for scientists to continue increasing our understanding of the biology that makes the human brain function. The more we understand, the more it will be possible to develop specific and effective treatments for mental disorders. One major step toward this understanding is…

Battling the myths and stereotypes of psychiatry

Dr. Paul Latimer helps minimize some of the misconceptions about seeking psychiatric help

Battling the myths and stereotypes of psychiatryIt seems that practically every person who comes in for treatment has a different idea of what constitutes psychiatry and what they should expect when seeing a psychiatrist. Many stereotypical impressions of psychiatry arise out of television shows or books. In these stories, patients are portrayed lying prostrate on a couch, delving into the deep…

Brain scan studies shed light on ADHD

It's increasingly clear that ADHD is not just the result of bad parenting, but a disorder with biological and genetic contributors

Brain scan studies shed light on ADHDBrain imaging is advancing research into the biological underpinnings of many psychiatric conditions. And as we understand more, we find new directions for effective treatments. In attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), some of this research points toward new treatments that don’t rely solely on the traditional stimulant medications. One study using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)…

Weight gain common side effect of some psychiatric medications

Lack of energy, lack of motivation and sedating medications are all contributing factors

Weight gain common side effect of some psychiatric medicationsAn unfortunate reality sometimes associated with mental illness and its treatment is unwanted weight gain. Some psychiatric illnesses such as mood disorders and anxiety disorders can cause changes in appetite and motivation that can lead to weight gain on their own. However, weight gain is also a fairly common side effect of some psychiatric medications.…