Are you suffering mood swings or bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder affects between one and two per cent of the adult population

Are you suffering mood swings or bipolar disorder?Many of us have a friend or family member we wonder about because they seem to shift unpredictably from one mood to another. We are often worried or in awe of them because they can be on a high one day and despondent the next. While it certainly isn’t always the case, people like this…

Not all hallucinations or delusions are caused by mental illness

Psychotic episodes can occur for a variety of reasons, not all of them having to do with mental illness

Not all hallucinations or delusions are caused by mental illnessHallucinations and delusions are the first things many people imagine when they hear about mental illness. They think of people who hear voices, see imaginary people or think they are someone they’re not. While hallucinations and delusions are not the hallmark of every mental illness, they can occur as a symptom of several disorders. Schizophrenia…

When a new mom has disturbing thoughts about hurting her baby

Postpartum OCD is frequently misdiagnosed and misunderstood – but it is treatable, help is available

When a new mom has disturbing thoughts about hurting her babyBy Gina Wong Athabasca University and Nicole Letourneau University of Calgary In January of 2018, a new mother in California became part of a viral Facebook post that described her baby’s four-month postpartum checkup. As a result of the thoughts she shared with her health-care providers, the police were called and she was escorted to…

We must do more for seniors coming home from hospital

It's clear the status quo isn’t meeting the needs of our aging population. So what can be done?

We must do more for seniors coming home from hospitalBy Ruta Valaitis and Maureen Markle-Reid McMaster University Despite having diabetes and arthritis, Verne was a thriving independent 72-year-old who lived at home with his wife when he had a stroke. He had excellent emergency care in the hospital and began his recovery there. But he didn’t adjust well after arriving home. He started to…

Child abuse linked to depression, anxiety in later life

Childhood abuse or neglect can permanently alter an individual’s physiology

Child abuse linked to depression, anxiety in later lifeIn a previous column, I pointed out that nature and nurture should not be regarded as enemies or polar opposites. Rather, they are two intertwined realities that work together to make up the human experience. Nature was designed for nurture. Many studies in recent years have documented the effects that early childhood experience can have…

Cool the hype around genetics and health care

We are a long way from identifying definitive biomarkers to illness and personalized gene therapies are likely generations away

Cool the hype around genetics and health careBy Nicole Letourneau and Suzanne Tough University of Calgary Genetics will save the day – that’s the message you see constantly in the media and even in academic literature. But it's a message that can distract us from providing quality care now. Newspapers herald breakthroughs in finding genetic biomarkers for autism. Magazines trumpet finding a…

Diabetes may double risk of developing depression

Two of the primary risk factors for the disease are obesity and lack of exercise

Diabetes may double risk of developing depressionDiabetes is one of the leading health problems affecting North America today and is rapidly on the rise. It is also well known that this disease can cause serious health complications such as vision loss and amputation as well as life-threatening problems like stroke, heart disease and kidney failure. Indeed, diabetes, which affects the body’s…

Giving people the tools they need to overcome challenges

Shelly Qualtieri talks about her business as a counsellor, coach and facilitator

Giving people the tools they need to overcome challengesShelly Qualtieri is a counsellor, coach and facilitator with Shelly Qualtieri – Counselling & Coaching  Tell me what you do and what your business is about? Qualtieri: I’m the entrepreneur and heart and soul behind Shelly Qualtieri – Counselling & Coaching. I’m a counsellor and a registered social worker (RSW). The core of my business…

Mental health therapies should be fully funded by medicare

For every $1 invested in psychological services for depression, there’s a $2 return to society

Mental health therapies should be fully funded by medicareToo often goes untold are the stories of thousands of people who die by suicide every year in Canada – our friends, relatives, colleagues and neighbours. What’s also not well documented is how frequently many of them may have struggled with depression, often for months or even years, and how many may have lacked adequate…

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…
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