Addictions

The torture of sleep deprivation

A couple came to see me as the last stop before initiating divorce proceedings. Since the birth of their son 18 months before, their home had deteriorated into a war zone. Their baby had colic and was a particularly bad sleeper. Typically, the baby would squawk, and mom would jump up to try to settle him before he woke properly. Inevitably, he did wake and then stayed awake for hours. Mom would become tearful and desperate. Knowing this, dad would also jump up when baby stirred because he wanted to support mom. Both parents were exhausted. Mom was in a…

The highs and lows of cannabis

The world has gone cannabis crazy. It is in the news all the time. Should it be legalised? Is medicinal cannabis beneficial? Is cannabis dangerous? Patients come to me every day asking if they should try cannabis oils for various ailments. For many of the conditions, like chronic pain or insomnia, they have tried several medications and have been disappointed with the results or struggled with side effects. It is not a wonder that they want to try something “natural” since modern medicine has disappointed them so. Anecdotal evidence and various oil providers will tell you that cannabinoid oils are hugely beneficial for…

How much is too much alcohol? The moderation myth

People see psychiatrists because they are struggling emotionally and mentally. Their lives feel overwhelming and out of control. So it is perhaps not surprising that I have to talk about alcohol with most of my new patients. I do not mean that all my patients are addicted to alcohol – that is, they don’t compulsively need to drink or have withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop (although a small percentage are  struggling with full blown addiction). Most aren’t even abusing alcohol. They are not driving drunk, or getting belligerent when drunk, or having memory gaps when drinking (although these…

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