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Posts by CAMH

Off-ward passes in the Forensic Mental Health System – A misunderstood privilege and rehabilitation tool

Ossington-Queen-pass-blog

By Dr. Sandy Simpson, Chief of Forensic Psychiatry at CAMH

Forensic patients are people who, because they are unwell, have committed an offence. Because their mental illness caused the offence they are sent to a hospital – not prison – to get treatment and rehabilitation for the causes of their offending. This process of recovery is a slow and careful one, overseen by the Ontario Review Board.

Initially, most patients are confined to secure hospital wards while staff work with them to understand their illness, their treatment needs and to develop a rehabilitation and recovery plan in accordance with their Review Board disposition. During this time, staff members also determine the potential risk the patient has to others, as well as to themselves. Once this is achieved, a gradual plan for increasing privileges is put in place so the person may attend treatment opportunities available off the ward. This may also include passes for recreation and socialization opportunities. Read more

Treating Alcohol Use Disorder

By Dr. Bernard Le Foll, Head of the Alcohol Research and Treatment Clinic at CAMH

Canada is a country that both enjoys alcohol, but is also fairly responsible about its education, sale and distribution to the public.

And yet there are still gaps in knowledge about the new treatment options available.

As head of the Alcohol Research and Treatment Clinic at CAMH, I want to take an opportunity to provide insight on our work. But it begins with language.

While “alcohol dependence” and “alcohol abuse” are still used, since DSM-5 we are seeing a shift towards the term “Alcohol Use Disorder” to refer to the spectrum of ways that alcohol can affect the person. This reflects the fact that some people lose control over their use of alcohol. It also acknowledges that there is a continuum that ranges from normal use, up to use that produces very severe complications in the person affected. Read more

Using videogames to raise awareness of healthy and harmful gaming

soulcrush - blogThe Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health brings treatment professionals and leading researchers together with experts in communicating and sharing knowledge.

Anya has tried every tactic to get her 18 year old son to cut down his video gaming. She has taken away internet access, grounded him and even tried bribing him into doing other activities.  “Peter comes home from school, throws his backpack on the ground and does not come out of his room for hours” she explains. “I can’t even get him to come out for dinner most nights”. When Peter was in high school, Anya connected with her son’s school teachers and school appointed social workers desperately looking for ways to help her son. His grades were slipping, and she was blaming the video games. Now that Peter is in college, he often stays up until 2 or 3 am gaming and browsing the internet and sometimes misses his morning classes. When he’s not playing Counter-Strike, he is watching online videos of people playing. Read more

Let’s talk about Concurrent Disorders

Concurrent-disorder-smby Dr. Donna Ferguson, Psychologist with the WSIB Psychological Trauma Program

This week is National Addiction Awareness Week and I would like to focus on those who struggle with co-occuring mental illness and addiction – called concurrent disorders.

This can mean experiencing depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, PTSD, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, or another mental illness, while also experiencing an alcohol use disorder, cannabis dependence, or even problem gambling. These co-occuring illnesses may be active at the same time or at different times, in the present or in the past, and their symptoms may vary in intensity and form over time. Read more

How Tobacco Free is keeping me healthy

Tobacco freeLilian Riad-Allen, Project Manager of CAMH’s Tobacco Free Initiative speaks to a client who applauds the move.

I was contacted by a former client named Sean who felt compelled to share his tobacco story. Sean said he was interested in sharing his story because he believes that quitting smoking is the best thing a person can do for their health, especially someone on income support. Read more

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