Coping with borderline personality disorder

For the two per cent of Canadians with this disorder, life is chaotic – often moving from one crisis to the next

Coping with borderline personality disorderAngry outbursts, unstable relationships and mood swings could describe symptoms of several psychiatric conditions. Bipolar disorder, discussed in last week’s column, is just one of them. Another particularly troublesome condition often associated with these traits is borderline personality disorder (BPD). For the two per cent of Canadians with this disorder, life is chaotic – often…

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…

The power of the placebo effect

A patient sometimes perceives a positive result, even from a fake drug

The power of the placebo effectMedical knowledge and treatments have advanced more quickly in the last 50 years than ever before, but the powerful effects of placebo treatments are still reported and are not fully understood. Simply put, a placebo is a medicine or medical treatment that has no active pharmacological ingredient. The term often refers to the inactive treatments…

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 my last 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…

The stigma of mental illness

If you think you suffer from a mental illness, resist succumbing to stigma and ask your doctor about getting treatment

The stigma of mental illnessGetting treatment for a mental illness is often a lot more difficult than simply calling up your doctor and making an appointment. For many people it involves a painful process of accepting that they have a problem and being willing to expose themselves. Many people who come to be treated for the first time say…

5 questions to ask yourself before accepting that new position

Being offered a promotion or a chance to do something new at work may be your dream come true. But is it?

5 questions to ask yourself before accepting that new positionBeing offered a promotion or a chance to do something new at work may be your dream come true. But is every opportunity a good one? Before you jump and say ‘yes’ ask yourself these five questions. Why me? Organizations re-assign people for a variety of reasons. Brent took two back-to-back ‘Acting’ roles and was…

Battling the myths and stereotypes of psychiatry

Dr. Paul Latimer helps minimize some of the misconceptions about seeking psychiatric help

Battling the myths and stereotypes of psychiatryIt seems that practically every person who comes in for treatment has a different idea of what constitutes psychiatry and what they should expect when seeing a psychiatrist. Many stereotypical impressions of psychiatry arise out of television shows or books. In these stories, patients are portrayed lying prostrate on a couch, delving into the deep…

Pleasure and pain: tree skiing at Whistler

The 2010 Olympics ended nearly eight years ago but the party carries on. The hills and streets echo with languages and accents from around the globe

Pleasure and pain: tree skiing at WhistlerI was navigating a black-diamond run at the end of our last day in Whistler. The path dropped through a steep mogul field, then narrowed to a single track in thick forest. I veered hard right through a tiny opening between two Douglas fir trees. I emerged blindly from the dark boughs. Terra firma vanished.…

Finding magical places on the long road from Alberta to Texas

Not having a definitive travel plan can pay off when you unexpectedly find the remarkable – amid the people and the landscape

Finding magical places on the long road from Alberta to TexasYou would not want to go on an RV trip with me. Plans are inevitably last minute and unpredictable. An innocuous road sign may result in a quick U-turn – and a two-day detour to places unknown. In early fall, we packed our modest motor home and slowly, circuitously ambled from Red Deer southward toward…