Revisiting Gwaii Haanas, a hallowed and reborn place

Forty years ago, it was a deserted ground, tinged in sadness. Today, the region is enriched with spirit and purpose

Revisiting Gwaii Haanas, a hallowed and reborn placeForty years ago, in 1978, my wife and I agreed to cap our first year of marriage with an adventure. We decided to follow in the paddle-strokes of good friends who had just kayaked to what was then called the South Moresby archipelago of the Queen Charlotte Islands. We chose the first two weeks of…

Insecure about your body image?

Negative body image could be precursor to more serious illnesses, including anorexia, bulimia and body dysmorphic disorder

Insecure about your body image?Most people experience occasional periods of dissatisfaction with the look of a certain body part or feature. Although this is discouraging, it is normal – particularly in our culture where we are barraged daily with media images of men and women with ‘perfect’ bodies. While some self-critique is to be expected, there are instances when…

Warning signs someone you love is experiencing mania

The individual experiencing mania is unable to realize the impact of his or her behaviour

Warning signs someone you love is experiencing maniaHave you ever noticed a friend or family member go through what appears to be a total personality change? Perhaps he or she was slightly introverted but suddenly became the extroverted life of the party. Or maybe a quiet friend suddenly became a high speed talker. This can sometimes be the dramatic face of mania…

How to keep your aging mind sharp

Research supports the ‘use it or lose it’ theory of mental ability

How to keep your aging mind sharpJust as we need to exercise our bodies to keep them healthy as we age, we must also exercise our minds to keep them from deteriorating. Research shows that people who engage in more activities that stimulate the mind have sharper cognitive functioning as they age than people who do not challenge their brains. In…

Perfectionism is a form of theft

Attempting to make everything perfect steals time from your clients, your employer, your family and yourself

Perfectionism is a form of theftFor her entire career, Phoebe has really struggled with how to manage her time. She has a great attitude and the quality of her work is first-rate, but it seems to take her twice as long as anyone else to bring a project to completion. Recently she moved into a new role, replacing someone who…

Changing behaviour starts with a look in the mirror

Radical change, or change to appease someone else, rarely sticks

Changing behaviour starts with a look in the mirrorJerry started smoking when he was in Grade 5. Over the course of his life he has tried many times – once when his uncle died from lung cancer – to give it up. Then, one morning, at the age of 37, Jerry woke up feeling like an old man. He stubbed out his cigarette,…

Women are twice as likely as men to experience mood disorders

Not only are women more likely to have a mood disorder, but women experience different symptoms than men

Women are twice as likely as men to experience mood disordersAlmost anyone can attest to the fact that men and women are different in many ways. Scores of books – which have achieved varying degrees of success and acclaim – have been published that attempt to quantify and explain the differences. In the field of psychiatry, gender differences are an important phenomenon as men and…

Severe shyness can be an indication of several anxiety disorders

Even with treatment, people with these disorders will not become the life of the party

Severe shyness can be an indication of several anxiety disordersShyness is something many people experience both as children and adults. Most of us probably feel somewhat unsettled when we meet new people or are expected to give a presentation to our peers. However, severe shyness can be a hallmark of several anxiety disorders and can cause real problems in work and social settings. Social…

Booze can trip up psychiatric diagnosis

When intoxicated, people often exhibit signs that can resemble psychiatric conditions

Booze can trip up psychiatric diagnosisWe’ve recently been covering topics involving the effects of substance use on psychiatric conditions. This week, we complete the series by touching on the effects of alcohol abuse on mental health. As with other mind-altering or inhibition lowering drugs, alcohol makes an initial psychiatric diagnosis very difficult. When people are intoxicated, they often exhibit signs…

Smoking alleviates psychiatric symptoms

Smoking cigarettes seems to have a positive effect on some of the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia

Smoking alleviates psychiatric symptomsSome of you might be wondering exactly what smoking has to do with psychiatric illness or mental health at all. You’re not alone; this topic has not been widely discussed or considered in psychiatric circles until fairly recently. However, as new research emerges it becomes clear that the two subjects are more linked than we…