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Posts from the ‘Care & Treatment’ Category

Q&A: Complementary and alternative medicine

People with depressive or anxiety disorders often combine complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies with medications to self-treat symptoms. CAMH’s Dr. Arun Ravindran, Chief of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Service, and Tricia da Silva, researcher in the program discuss their recent review of natural practices and mental illness.

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Survey: What do people think of our tobacco free policy?

by Lilian Riad-Allen

In the cigar shop that doubled as a convenience store by my first residence in university, I remember the old cigarette ads plastered across the wall: Doctors in white coats promoting their favourite brand of cigarettes, children and even babies in cigarette ads, and women talking about the weight loss benefits of smoking.

I was always intrigued by these images as they seemed to reflect a reality that I couldn’t imagine. Attitudes had shifted so much since then that the idea of a physician advocating for tobacco use seemed almost satirical.

Attitudes have indeed been shifting. Since the first US surgeon general’s report in 1964[1] , the number of people smoking has been in constant decline to where we are now, 50 years later, with approximately 17 per cent of Canadians still smoking.

When you compare that to the number of people with mental health and addiction issues who smoke, you see a striking difference – with an estimated smoking prevalence of over 60 per cent. Read more

The future is here: My experience with personalized medicine

by Larry Meikle

Larry

Larry

My name is Larry Meikle. I’m a retired Ontario civil servant and a student in the University of King’s College Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Nonfiction Writing, where I’m in the process of writing my first book.

This past year I’ve felt better than I have for decades. I would not be a graduate student today if I were feeling the way I did even a year ago, had I not participated in CAMH’s IMPACT study on mental health problems and DNA.

I was diagnosed with clinical depression in 1997 and since then I’ve been taking antidepressants, with some degree of success. I tried going off my meds on a couple of occasions in the hope I could battle depression without them, but came to the painful realization I couldn’t.

A couple of years ago the antidepressant I had been taking for so many years suddenly stopped working for me. It “pooped out,” as the saying goes. My family doctor started me on a new medication, and that seemed to go reasonably well. Whenever I saw my doctor I’d tell him I was “getting by,” but anxiety was still a problem and I felt I could be doing much better.

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Escaping violence, finding treatment for trauma

by Donna Ferguson, Psychologist with the WSIB Psychological Trauma Program

Canada is a safe haven for so many refugees fleeing violence or persecution in their home countries, but these victims of trauma often cannot escape the nightmares and haunting memories they bring with them.

Whether they have escaped civil conflict or genocide, these clients who have been traumatized can often be embarrassed because it is not something discussed in their culture. For example, in the Caribbean, the stigma and shame connected with mental illness means people feel they are not allowed to complain, not allowed to seek help because coming forward means shame on you and shame on your family.

The reality is when you don’t have support – either social or familial support – and you leave post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) untreated, it can lead to other mental health problems or addiction issues.

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Tobacco research and treatment: We’ve come a long way

by Wayne Skinner, CAMH Deputy Clinical Director, Addictions Programs

World No Tobacco Day is on May 31, and I’ve been reflecting how attitudes to cigarettes have drastically evolved in recent history.

When I started working as a therapist at the Addiction Research Foundation (which became part of CAMH in 1998) in the late 1970s, I can remember a client, proudly receiving my praise for having successfully withdrawn from heroin, taking out a cigarette and saying, “Now if I could only quit these!”

In those days, we didn’t even ask people if they smoked when we took drug histories. Indeed, it was more common than not for counsellors to offer clients a cigarette as a friendly way of starting a session.

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