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Posts from the ‘Care & Treatment’ Category

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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Going digital: Confessions of a registered nurse

by Irene Boldt, registered nurse at CAMH and Nursing Practice Council Chair

In this digital age I sometimes feel a little analog.

I doubt I’m alone in feeling this way, but with new technology everywhere, sometimes I feel like I’m all thumbs. I have to admit that my discomfort with technology leads me to perceive it as a barrier to the nursing care I provide. I have never figured out how to invite technology into my practice in a way that makes sense.

But I know technological change is inevitable, so as we prepare for the transition to our new electronic health system (called I-CARE – and named by a nurse!), I am going to put my thumbs aside, assume a ‘glass-half-full’ perspective, and make every effort to embrace the benefits of technology.

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Q&A: Exploring the ties between physical and mental health

By Joan Chang, Communications Coordinator with Public Affairs at CAMH

You likely know obesity is a health problem for the general Canadian population. What you may not know is that obesity is of particular concern for people with mental illness.

I spoke with Dr. Rohan Ganguli, who has been studying obesity and mental health for 15 years. He’s Senior Scientist at CAMH, Professor of Psychiatry with the Faculty of Medicine and Canada Research Chair in Chronic Disease Management at the University of Toronto. He’s one of the organizers and speakers at this year’s Mental Health and Obesity Conference (pdf), on May 14 in Toronto. Read more

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