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Along with everyone else, I have to admire Prince Harry for opening up about the impact that his mother's sudden and tragic death had on him, but I fear that his talk about mental-health issues and trauma will have a negative rather than a positive impact on our views of mental illness.
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Premature death for those with schizophrenia results from a combination of poor treatment and preventative care these people receive from the medical system, and the failure to treat their mental illness appropriately and aggressively. In the U.S., it appears to be confounded by the lack of universal health care.
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It is the 21st century and yet those in Ontario with serious mental illness and diabetes are receiving inadequate medical care compared to those with only diabetes. This was the finding from a study just published online ahead of the print journal by researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Science (ICES) and others.
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Families who care for people with schizophrenia once had an organization that gave them a national voice. They no longer do. This lack of national representation impacts not just our own situations; it also hurts the people we support, because they are often unable to advocate on their own behalf.
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I want my daughter's best interests to be represented by the numerous disability rights organizations that have appeared in recent years. Sadly, these organizations, like the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, too often promote policies that pose real dangers to her. It's important to understand why a group like this would decide to hold these positions.
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To the people who care about them, once this young person chooses "the other way", all the people around them see is the consequences. "Didn't you know that if you did "X" you would end up "Y"". It is understandable for those around you to feel this because the process of suffering is so often done in the dark. The sufferers try to protect those around them and some feel that by minimizing it, it may go away.
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Put simply, Whitaker and the Mad in America anti-psychiatry folks are adamant that anti-psychotic medication for schizophrenia makes people sick and shortens their lives. Research fails to support these contentions but they persist and the data is ignored.
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Helping people to live life beyond the limitations of a mental illness with a sense of dignity, purpose, hope and meaning is called recovery. The hope of recovery changes everything: how we view the person, how we address stigma and discrimination and how we make mental health services accessible and available.
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The trouble is, there is no recipe book for prescribing psychiatric medications. Every individual is unique, so with the guidance of their doctor, patients must find the treatment that's right for them. If a drug makes them feel worse, it's not the right drug, but that doesn't mean there are no other options. The right treatment must be found and sometimes that takes time, effort and creativity. Feeling like a zombie is never an acceptable outcome.
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There is no single cause for schizophrenia. THC alone is not responsible, but there is an abundance of evidence that THC can provoke an earlier onset of schizophrenia by up to six years. There is also solid evidence to suggest a causal link between THC and schizophrenia.
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Schizophrenia is a complex and often devastating illness, characterized by the presence of psychotic symptoms including delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thinking and behaviour and negative symptoms (apathy, lack of motivation, social withdrawal, and reduced emotional responsiveness).
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Physicians have not effectively confronted pot-related myths, nor have we adequately educated our patients. When I tell parents about marijuana's risks, they often express shock. Many believe it's like oregano... a safe "natural product" that adds a little spice to life. But pot is not benign.
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I've been waiting a long time for a book like"How Can I Help? A Week in My Life as a Psychiatrist." Written by psychiatrists David Goldbloom and Pier Bryden, this book is the most thorough account I have seen of the thinking process, or what should be the thinking process, of contemporary psychiatrists. And it can change the entire way you go about asking for, and receiving, help from a mental health professional.
When governments don't want to do something but want to give the appearance of doing something, they set up a task force or committee to investigate and bring back a report. It looks good to some but does nothing and that is what so many jurisdictions do. Maybe it is because I live in Ontario, but this province is the master when it comes to this.