Genetics strongly influence our predisposition to mental illness

It is becoming increasingly clear that our genes influence everything from our personality traits to specific psychiatric disorders

Genetics strongly influence our predisposition to mental illnessNature has been pitted against nurture for centuries. People have always pondered the question of whether human behaviour is primarily dictated by genetic hard-wiring or by our experiences and environmental factors. The debate has lasted so long because we know comparatively little about the functioning of the human brain. As a result, disorders of the…

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…

Canadian business owners feel depressed at least once a week: study

500 entrepreneurs surveyed

Canadian business owners feel depressed at least once a week: studyBeing a business owner isn’t easy at the best of times but it’s especially difficult these days. That’s evident in a new study released on Tuesday by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), supported by BDC (Business Development Bank of Canada). The study, Going it Alone: The mental health and well-being of Canada’s entrepreneurs, found that…

Facing death with an attitude that’s full of life

Mike Sloan’s positive, upbeat tone and zest for life in the face of adversity has truly been inspiring

Facing death with an attitude that’s full of life“Death is not the opposite of life but an innate part of it,” Haruki Murakami wrote in his acclaimed novel Norwegian Wood. “By living our lives, we nurture death.” This is rational. Nevertheless, death isn’t something we enjoy spending every waking moment thinking about. That’s especially true when we’re still at the point in our…

The link between genes, the environment and depression

Further research is needed to discover all the genetic and environmental factors involved in depression

The link between genes, the environment and depressionFor many years, researchers have suspected the existence of specific genes that make certain individuals more susceptible to depression than others. The suspicion arose when it became obvious through observation that some people seem to be more sensitive to stress than others and some develop depression regardless of the events in their lives. There are…

Goals, interests key to achieving success and happiness

Developing interests and setting goals is the first step to leading a more fulfilling and rewarding life

Goals, interests key to achieving success and happinessIf I were to ask you what motivates you to get up in the morning, would you have some specific answers for me? Would you list your job, your family, some particularly enjoyable activity or a goal you are working toward? Frequently, my patients tell me they have no reason to get up in the…

Don’t turn away when you see potential for suicide in others

As many as 90% of people who commit suicide experience depression, substance abuse or other mental health disorders

Don’t turn away when you see potential for suicide in othersSuicide is the darkest and most tragic face of mental illness – but we can reach out and help. When a person cuts his or her own life short out of desperation to end mental and emotional suffering, there is little that can comfort families and loved ones. One in 25 Canadians will attempt suicide during their…

Psychiatric links at the heart of fibromyalgia’s pain

Psychiatric symptoms commonly associated with fibromyalgia make the condition worse for those who experience pain and depression or anxiety

Psychiatric links at the heart of fibromyalgia’s painFibromyalgia has stumped health-care professionals for years. Patients experience chronic and sometimes excruciating pain with no obvious physical reason. It's long been understood that fibromyalgia is somehow connected with co-existing psychiatric conditions. New research has examined this relationship more closely. Fibromyalgia is the existence of widespread pain throughout the body. In order to be diagnosed…

Healthy body, healthy mind: a double payoff for exercise

The mental health benefits of exercise are well documented, and even moderate sadness and feelings of anxiety can be improved

Healthy body, healthy mind: a double payoff for exerciseNot only is exercise good for our bodies, it’s also good for our minds. Most people with a regular exercise routine will tell you that it makes you feel good physically and is a helpful way of reducing stress, improving confidence and self-esteem, and increasing energy. It adds to a general sense of well-being. Although most fitness…
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