Category Archives: Mental health

Free and informed consent

Making decisions is not as straightforward as we assume, especially when emotions are clouding our state of mind. When I chaired the Douglas Institute’s clinical ethics committee the issue of consent came up many times. It is an important issue in psychiatry because the illnesses sometimes force us to make decisions against the will of [...]

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Suck it up and move on: PTSD and what not to do

We were all saddened by the recent apparent suicide of Master Corporal Sylvain Lelièvre of the Canadian Forces. It was the fourth reported suicide this past week alone. Every suicide is complex and we can never know exactly which factors go into one person’s decision. Mood is affected by our temperament, our biological makeup, and [...]

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Pig depression

Here is what I published in today’s Metro column: Pig Depression (Source: Dépression porcine: Journal Métro, November 05, 2013) Voir plus bas pour la version Française. Do animals feel the same things we do? Well, I suppose that if emotions evolved in humans in order to increase their chance of survival, the same must be [...]

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15

They’re not like us: Stigma, mental illness and groupthink

It is mental illness awareness week. You may have noticed that I don’t often focus directly on mental illnesses per se. I prefer to focus on our general human nature. The greatest compliment I get is when someone says, “Hey, you wrote about me today!” This is because I try to show how character traits and [...]

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16

My brain chemicals are out of whack!

I don’t know about you but I’ve never understood what is meant by the phrase “chemical imbalance.” Pharmaceutical companies use the term as a means of describing depression. It gives the condition a medical-sounding cause, which of course requires a medical-sounding treatment (such as the pill they happen to sell). Before I go any further, [...]

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But…but…what if a tornado hits during an earthquake?

We all have obsessions. As unpleasant as they may be, they do serve a protective function. It seems even a squirrel looks more than once when crossing a street! Double-checking and triple-checking is a way of eliminating errors caused by distraction or absentmindedness. But how far can we go with this? For a person with [...]

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I have a feeling about my feelings

This week’s article is about our tendency to add problems to our problems: I have a feeling about my feelings (Source: Je ressens quelque chose à propos de mes sentiments. Journal Métro, July 02, 2013) Voir plus bas pour la version Française. A funny thing about people is that we have feelings and then we [...]

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21

Where am I?

Where am I? (Source: L’effet pervers du GPS. Journal Métro, April 9, 2013) Voir plus bas pour la version Française Have you ever noticed that if you drive someone home and he or she guides you all the way with precise step-by-step directions you will never remember the route the next time you have to [...]

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Speaking of idiots

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. – William Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet) The same goes for words used to describe mental illness, does it not? The meaning of a word depends on what it represents not on the word itself. In my column [...]

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26

The memory and the moment

Here is a column I published in today’s Métro. It was written for Alzheimer’s awareness month in Canada (Voir plus bas pour la version Française). The memory and the moment (Source: Les souvenirs et le moment. Journal Métro, January 15, 2013) Marie-Andrée and Jacques met at Place des Arts during a Montreal Symphony Orchestra performance. [...]

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