Psychology

Why We Don't Need a Blood Test to Diagnose Depression

Roger Covin, Ph.D | Posted 09.22.2014 | Canada Living
Roger Covin, Ph.D

For those who are unfamiliar with this latest science story, researchers in the U.S. claim they can diagnose depression using a blood sample. Why would we need a blood test to do something professionals can already accomplish on their own in a fairly short period of time? The most touted benefit of this test seemed to be that it would offer the first "objective" measurement of depression. In the present case, the problem with trying to find an "objective" method of diagnosing depression is that "depression" and "diagnosis of depression" are two separate things.

Are Bikers and Hikers Really That Different?

Tamara Griffiths | Posted 09.04.2014 | Canada Living
Tamara Griffiths

Research is showing that high-risk sport can serve many other personal goals beyond thrill seeking. For example Castanier et al. found that 'escape self-awareness' was a key motivation in their study of high-risk sportsmen. Escape self-awareness means, as the term suggests, turning your thinking away from yourself by engaging in high-risk activities that absorb all concentration.

These Clues Help Identify a Mentally Ill 'Lone Gunman' Before Tragedy Strikes

Romeo Vitelli | Posted 08.31.2014 | Canada
Romeo Vitelli

Lone-acting offenders were far more likely to have a history of mental illness than offenders who had been part of a group. Lone-actors with mental illness were also more likely to have a spouse or partner who was part of a larger movement (making them more vulnerable to outside influences) and to have parents who were divorced. Though offenders acting alone are often characterized as being "loners" without any real sources of emotional support, that doesn't appear to be the case.

The Complexity of Closing Gaps in Canada's Mental Health Care System

Karen R. Cohen | Posted 08.26.2014 | Canada Living
Karen R. Cohen

Earlier this week, Marvin Ross reached out to the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) for a piece that he was writing for HuffPost about the significant needs and gaps when it comes to "serious mental illness" in Canada. The issues and needs when it comes to Canada's mental health and illness are complex, however, and we wanted to make an opportunity to share our perspective first hand.

Why We Need Mandatory Psychological Tests For Foreign Adoptive Parents

Romeo Vitelli | Posted 09.22.2014 | Canada
Romeo Vitelli

Previous reports stated that Maxim had a positive relationship with Massimo Maravalle and his wife Patrizia but questions are now being raised about what signs may have been missed. Other witnesses have reported that the suspect had been seen shaking Maxim a few days before his death although it is still unknown whether psychiatric problems contributed to his actions.

Why Rob Ford's Addiction is An Explanation, Not An Excuse

Roger Covin, Ph.D | Posted 09.09.2014 | Canada Politics
Roger Covin, Ph.D

In the case of someone like Rob Ford, he may have very little control over his cravings for alcohol, and this is where he deserves sympathy. In a culture where everyone has something -- coffee, cigarettes, marijuana, shopping, alcohol, need for approval, etc. -- it shouldn't be too hard for us to sympathize with someone dealing with a dependence problem. However, as a man who has good financial resources and who is capable of accomplishing significant person goals, he has considerable, personal influence over the treatment of this problem.

The Toll Trauma Takes on the Families of Victims

Romeo Vitelli | Posted 09.06.2014 | Canada Impact
Romeo Vitelli

In a recent news conference over the ongoing kidnapping crisis in Nigeria, the national chairman of the Kibaku (Chibok) Area Development Association has stated that at least seven parents of kidnapped girls have died due to trauma. According to Dr. Pogu Bitrus, delays in the government response to free the girls has taken a toll on parents as a result.

How To Take Control of Your Psoriasis and Regain Confidence

Kimberly Moffit | Posted 09.01.2014 | Canada Living
Kimberly Moffit

Many people don't realize how skin conditions can deeply affect our self-confidence and create emotional challenges. Some people give up on activities they enjoy like playing sports (wearing athletic clothing) or dating (nervous about appearance). Recognizing the emotional barriers will help to empower you and help you gain confidence.

Do You Know About This Mysterious Sleeping Epidemic?

Romeo Vitelli | Posted 08.05.2014 | Canada
Romeo Vitelli

Along with the inhabitants of Kalachi, the few remaining residents of the nearby town of Krasnogorsk, Russia have also been reporting sleeping episodes lasting as long as six days. Krasnogorsk, which was once home to more than 6500 people during the boom period during the U.S.S.R., when the nearby uranium mine was operated in secret by the Soviet government.

Is Homophobia a Religious or a Psychological Issue?

Roger Covin, Ph.D | Posted 07.16.2014 | Canada Living
Roger Covin, Ph.D

Historically, prejudice of any kind could be freely expressed with few repercussions (emotional, legal, or otherwise) so long as there was a reasonable justification. Religion has often served as the justification, and has therefore facilitated an array of prejudice, from racism to sexism to homophobia. Over time, the use of religious beliefs to justify prejudice has tended to decline, but still persists -- especially when it comes to homosexuality.

Six Benefits of Mental Spring Cleaning

Deri Latimer | Posted 07.01.2014 | Canada Living
Deri Latimer

Spring is often the time of year when you engage in some spring cleaning; getting rid of what's been stored over the winter that you doubt you will ever use again. What about your mental debris? You know, those limiting beliefs, those skewed expectations, that internal dialogue -- that story -- that is just not serving you any longer.

Attention Parents: Mother Nature Needs Us

Dr. Shimi Kang | Posted 06.21.2014 | Canada
Dr. Shimi Kang

Given the state of the world and the tasks of the next generation, our survival depends on how we parent our children right now. We need to focus on the values we are encouraging for our children, and questioning whether or not our individual actions are helping our kids become the environmental stewards the world desperately needs.

Why Making Mistakes Is Good For Your Kids

Dr. Shimi Kang | Posted 06.17.2014 | Canada Living
Dr. Shimi Kang

Children who are exclusively rewarded for right answers or who are shunned or punished for making mistakes may become afraid of trying new things. Children are more open to learning and more willing to try harder when they are praised and rewarded for their efforts, not their results.

I Have a Condition That Almost No Doctor Understands

Sarah Robertson | Posted 06.02.2014 | Canada Living
Sarah Robertson

I am just one of the millions of people in Canada who has a condition called Trichotillomania, a.k.a. Hair Pulling Disorder. These conditions are also under the umbrella term Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviours. In Canada, there are currently only two doctors who treat these conditions, and they have waiting lists for up to a year or more. This is unacceptable.

Why I Quit My PhD to 'Strip'

Sarah Vermunt | Posted 05.24.2014 | Canada Living
Sarah Vermunt

Three months ago I quit my PhD to become a stripper. Of course, I was afraid of what people would think, but my old life wasn't working for me, and so I decided to change it. I'm not taking my clothes off, but this stripping of mine makes me feel free and, yes, naked and vulnerable, too. Layer by layer, I'm stripping away thoughts and beliefs that were toxic.

I Don't Need the New York Times to Tell Me What to Read

Ilia Blinderman | Posted 04.29.2014 | Canada Living
Ilia Blinderman

Recently, the Times' laudably levelheaded public editor wrote about the "Recommended" section's growing real estate. Readers had, according to Sullivan, complained about the move's impinging on their privacy; some noted that they were sufficiently competent to choose the articles they read on their own; others did not want their reading preferences monetized.

Turns Out, Honesty Is The Best Policy

University of Toronto News | Posted 04.14.2014 | Canada Living
University of Toronto News

A University of Toronto report based on two neural imaging studies that monitored brain activity has found a reward given for telling the truth gives people greater satisfaction than the same reward given for deceit.

Breathing Life Into the Year..

Paula Pyne | Posted 04.12.2014 | Canada
Paula Pyne

It probably seems to you that the days of the New Year have long passed but I'm just getting around to writing this post. I've been going at turtle ...

Why Smoking 'Skunk' Cannabis May Lead to Early Psychosis

Romeo Vitelli | Posted 03.27.2014 | Canada
Romeo Vitelli

They also found that patients who started smoking cannabis at age 15 or younger preferred to smoke high-potency "skunk" cannabis rather than lower potency "hash" type cannabis. The earliest onset of psychotic episodes occurred in males who have been smoking high-potency cannabis on a daily basis -- on average, their first psychotic episode occurred six years earlier than for non-users.

What to Ask Your Doctor Before Going on Antidepressants

Roger Covin, Ph.D | Posted 02.14.2014 | Canada Living
Roger Covin, Ph.D

I have had many conversations with clients over the years where they tell me they've been feeling nauseous, panicky and depressed. The symptoms my clients describe are directly due to a reduction in, or complete termination of, their antidepressant medication. I hope the following advice is useful to patients.

Probiotics May Improve Symptoms of Autism

Jason Tetro | Posted 02.08.2014 | Canada Living
Jason Tetro

A collaboration of over 20 American researchers found a possible answer although at first glance, it seemed ludicrous. The team looked at the bacteria in the gut of both normal and autistic children in the hopes of identifying any changes. Indeed, there were.

The Secrets of Happy People

Dr. Jamie Gruman | Posted 01.25.2014 | Canada Living
Dr. Jamie Gruman

Most of the time I ate chocolate bars without much thought. In fact, I'd often half-consciously find a wrapper in my hand without any real memory of eating a chocolaty treat. The ease with which I could afford chocolate bars had caused me to appreciate and savour them less. I came to think of this phenomenon as the cost of convenience -- a failure to appreciate things.

Lather Up for Global Handwashing Day

Jason Tetro | Posted 01.23.2014 | Canada
Jason Tetro

2012-05-28-GermGuyBanner.jpg October also brings in a day that commemorates what should be a part of our daily activities but for many is either forgotten or simply ignored: handwashing. It's not a surprise as handwashing is not considered -- other than perhaps in the public health field -- to be an incredibly important part of living.

Can Joan Rivers' Signature Help Us Understand the Separatists?

Annette Poizner | Posted 12.05.2013 | Canada Living
Annette Poizner

As a psychotherapist, I'm always intrigued by the question of what makes people tick. It's always most important to listen and to ask, but the truth is that people tell a lot about themselves indirectly. Two signatures -- Joan Rivers' and that of former Bloc Québecois leader Gilles Duceppe -- gave me food for thought, as I pondered the psychology of the Separatist.

What Makes Suicides Newsworthy?

Romeo Vitelli | Posted 11.10.2013 | Canada
Romeo Vitelli

Is suicide really contagious? Along with celebrity suicides, research has linked copycat deaths to news stories describing specific locations and/or methods of committing suicide that increases the likelihood of vulnerable people killing themselves in the same way. However, looking at the data on a per-country basis reveals a different story about how suicide is reported, and why.