Some physicians are writing thousands of cannabis prescriptions every year for a wide variety of maladies. Many of their "patients" are not adequately assessed, nor are they informed about or encouraged to try conventional treatment options, which often have far more evidence for their safety and efficacy. Their "patient" wants cannabis and they get cannabis.
Why do some teens find those years more challenging than others? Why do some teens make ridiculous, dangerous or inexplicable choices? One significant factor is rooted in brain development, a critical aspect of normal maturation. Unfortunately, sometimes brain development goes awry during adolescence resulting in mental illness.
It pains me to hear the nonsense my patients are subjected to by sometimes well-meaning, yet utterly uninformed, self-taught mental health experts. Their lack of scientific training is merely a preamble ("I'm no doctor but..."). They speak with enthusiasm and authority as they peddle supplements, homeopathic tinctures, detox enemas and antioxidant smoothies, with the goal of liberating my patients from their evidence-based treatments and dollars from their wallets.
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.
Riley, a fictitious patient, was first depressed in high school. "I remember not caring about anything. I didn't see my friends
Depression is a libido killer. Our brain is our most important sexual organ and a depressed brain may cause a complete loss of sexual interest and make it difficult, sometimes impossible, to get or sustain an erection or have an orgasm. As depression resolves, usually sexual dysfunction resolves as well.
Depression is horrible and sometimes it's deadly. Data from the World Health Organization demonstrates this serious public health issue. Yet depression is misunderstood by those who have never experienced it because they can't understand why depressed people don't just will themselves better.
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.
So why wouldn't mental health professionals want to talk to these families? Too often it is due to a misguided sense of the rules regarding confidentiality. Sometimes mental health care teams are over-extended and don't want to deal with the expectations of family members. Excluding family from important decision-making discussions leaves them frustrated and demoralized and is often not in the patient's best interest.
One of the biggest complaints that families of the mentally ill have is the failure of the health system to provide them with information. Families provide ongoing care, support and housing,and yet the privacy legislation in most jurisdictions in both Canada and the U.S. prohibit staff from talking to them.