A 65-year-old man notices he's feeling more tired lately. He's gaining weight and losing muscle. He can't get as many erections, and generally feels foggy and unwell. His family doctor takes some blood tests and rules out thyroid problems, high cholesterol and blood sugar issues. The only finding is low testosterone -- but that's a normal part of aging, right?
Increasing insurance benefits increases access to private care, which has become a necessity in Canada. Those wanting psychological treatments must either choose between public care (ex: psychologist in a hospital) or private care (ex: psychologist in private practice). Unfortunately, there tend to be unreasonable wait lists for access to public care (typically one year or longer).
I know what a mental illness is but I'm not really sure what a mental health problem is. Is it a problem for the worried well? Toronto Maple Leaf hockey fans have been depressed for years because their team misses the playoffs and has not won the Stanley Cup since 1967. Young Susie can't sleep at nights and is distraught because no one has asked her to the prom yet and her parents refuse to buy her the new dress she so desperately wants.
Don't get me wrong; medication is a great treatment option for people with mental illness but it is only one component of treatment. I have taken medication in the past and likely will again in the future. At this point in time, my medical team and I agree it should not be apart of my treatment plan.
Type 1 diabetes was once lethal but thanks to the Nobel prize-winning research conducted at the University of Toronto in 1921-22, had become a controllable condition through daily injections of insulin derived from cattle and pigs. My father's story reminds me about the importance of universities as places that create the space for big "what if" and "I wonder" questions.
Under CETA Canada will lengthen the time drugs remain under patent, which is expected to drive up already high Canadian pharmaceutical drug costs by more than $850 million a year. Instead of extending Canadian patent laws to more closely reflect Europe's rules, why not harmonize daycare programs to reflect the best of the trading area?
There are academic pharmaceutical researchers still publishing independent, peer-reviewed articles, just as there are still farmers who have small farms with the kinds of smiling animals one sees in children's books. But more and more pharmaceutical research is done factory farm-style, with organized precision and efficiency, all paid for by drug companies. Welcome to new science.
Paying less for drugs sounds like a good idea, right? Well, as with everything else, one needs to look at the whole picture and see what he gets in return. With regards to bulk purchasing, although there might be some savings initially, it is clear that the long-term disadvantages of such a policy outweigh its short-term benefits.
Two summers ago I developed the rash of all rashes. There was only one medication the doctors told me would make it go away: prednisone. A steroid that crosses into breast milk. Breastfeeding was too important to me, so, I declined. That is -- until today. After almost 30 consecutive months of breastfeeding, I reclaimed my boobs.
A conference was held a few weeks ago in Ottawa to discuss yet again the adoption of a pan-Canadian government-run drug insurance plan that would cover prescription drug costs for the entire population. Such a program would instead risk increasing the burden currently weighing down public finances. Such a plan would not only entail extra costs for taxpayers, but would do nothing to change governments' current propensity to restrict and delay access to new drugs. Foreign experience can teach us much about the dangers of adopting a monopolistic drug insurance system in Canada.
We cannot deny the fact that the costs of prescription drugs have been increasing at a considerable rate over the last few decades. While total healthcare spending per capita has almost tripled during this period, per capita expenditures on prescription drugs have increased six-fold. But should this trend be a source of concern?
A series of investigative articles in the Toronto Star this week bring forward concerns about serious side effects to ADHD medications, in my opinion, the article sensationalizes the risks, and provide no balance by pointing out the hundreds of thousands of kids, teens and adults who have been helped by these medications.
A mentally ill young woman, who thrived on medication and crumbled without, lobbied to be removed from mandatory treatment -- she didn't like being medicated. Her parents were very surprised when they learned that, after a year of stability, her community mental health team had decided, without consulting them, to release their daughter from mandatory treatment.
Why is it so difficult to treat depression? Part of the problem is in our definition of the term. In fact, there are two distinct depressions: situational and clinical. It would be so much easier if we called the two depressions by different names, for then we could explain better how we feel and know better what might help.