Tag Archives: psychiatry


Jason Gencher is a medical student in the Class of 2018 at the University of Toronto


Today is the day. I have waited six months for today. I’m so tired, I can barely get myself out of bed. What time is it? I’m so hungry. Those Timbits look old, but I’m too hungry to care about that. I’m so tired — maybe I’ll go back to sleep? Don’t I have something to do today?  Why is there this weird taste in my mouth? What she’s saying is all lies. There’s no truth in it all. They say things about me, but it’s all a big lie. One giant lie. When did I get this fat? It’s because of the medication. I used to be slim and athletic. But now I have circulation problems. It’s the medications they give me. ...continue reading

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Sarah Chauvin is a medical student in the Class of 2018 at the University of Toronto


Collateral. Collateral. Collateral. Three weeks in a psychiatric Emergency Department, and I have more than a mere appreciation for collateral: I’ve come to understand it as a key diagnostic investigation.

Toward the end of my weekend call shift, my young patient with severe alcohol use disorder and borderline personality disorder — who had been discharged the week prior with an addictions referral — was back in the ED for alcohol intoxication. Though I had been cautioned that the patient would likely return, I was disappointed to see her name back on the patient-tracking list. ...continue reading

Barbara Sibbald, News and Humanities editor for the Canadian Medical Association Journal, reads the CMAJ Humanities Encounters article "Words, deeds and interpretations". The article is written by Dr. Mary Seeman, professor emerita, in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.

In the article, Dr. Seeman, an older psychiatrist, recounts how acting instead of talking can net rather dire results. The events are true but happened decades ago.

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is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK.


Dear Linda,

I have just read - or, should I say, it completely captivated me. I couldn’t put it down. What a compelling life story. When you lectured about depression at those Masterclass lectures I chaired years ago I was so impressed with your grasp of the topic, your understanding of the difficulties facing family doctors, and your overall approach to managing the condition. You had such a clear understanding and appreciation of depression and the difficulties of treating it in practice. And, you were so assured, confident, on top of your subject. I had chaired many similar sessions but yours were outstanding. There wasn’t even the slightest hint that your understanding extended so far into your personal experience. ...continue reading

UhlmannPeter Uhlmann is a semi-retired psychiatrist from Powell River, BC. He works as a locum consultant psychiatrist to several Northern communities.


In 2004 I started providing psychiatric locum service to Yellowknife, in the Northwest Territories. I worked in the local mental health centre and also on the psychiatric ward at Stanton Territorial Hospital.  Later I travelled to three other communities;  Hay River, Ft Smith, and Ft Simpson.  For a few years I served those three communities on a regular basis every three to four months. As well as seeing patients, I would provide in service to health providers and education to community agencies. In 2006, I began working in four Inuit communities in Nunavut, specifically in the Kitikmeot region.  I would service Taloyoak, Kugaaruk, Gjoa Haven, and Cambridge Bay. I still travel to these communities twice a year, and provide back up consultation via telehealth, telephone, or email. ...continue reading

doanRichard Doan is a Psychiatrist with and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario


On December 19, the Globe and Mail reported developments in the of a vibrant young woman in a downtown Toronto drugstore by an also-young, and unknown, female assailant.  As it turns out, the alleged assailant, though well-dressed and well-educated, was homeless and living on the street.  It also appears that she was likely seriously mentally ill.

This story, as sad as it is, is naturally of interest to me, a psychiatrist who works with a street outreach team serving people who are homeless in Toronto.  I never met the alleged assailant, but I wish I had. Then again, it is not certain that any involvement or intervention by our team would have made a difference.

The Globe and Mail reported that the alleged perpetrator habitually wore “an immaculate black suit and dress shirt” and had an MBA ...continue reading

Chien-Shun Chen
University of Toronto
Class of 2016

Gulliver’s Travels, a familiar story from many of our childhoods, lends itself to highlight the significance of cultural psychiatry. Do we – as the tiny people of Lilliput were so quick to bind the shipwrecked Gulliver – similarly evaluate the patient in front of us with a reflexive comfort of our own sociocultural experiences? In view of such juxtaposition of ...continue reading

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Normand Carrey is a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

I feel sad for the families of  and , who were killed on October 20 and 22 in Quebec city and Ottawa, respectively. I equally feel sad for the countless other grieving families left up picking the pieces after a loved one is killed by someone where mental health issues are suspected.

After the murder of Corporal Cirillo, wasted no time in flying to Ottawa before any analysis could take place as he announced without any doubt that these were pure unmitigated . A cottage industry of TV pundits was trotted out to tell us that now we have something else to fear –self radicalization in vulnerable youth and the home-grown or lone wolf terrorist. It was good to hear, however, in the subsequent week, public debate with many callers reminding the experts about the in such tragedies. Why did the media and politicians neglect to include in their debate and analysis of recent events other just as horrifying acts? Where was the mention of ...continue reading

Domhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ associate editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK

The circus came to town. The Giro d’Italia, one of the world’s great cycle races, started on Friday with a feel good story for Canadian fans. , a 37 year old from British Columbia, crossed the line first in the team time trial which allowed him to start the next day’s racing wearing the pink jersey (Maglia Rosa) of race leader. In the post-race interview he revealed that the team had gifted him the lead as it was his birthday. A rare gesture in the ruthless world of cycle racing.

The “Grande Partenza” was in Belfast. Another feel good story as the city embraced the event, painted the town pink, and thousands of spectators lined the route. As part of the overall Giro fest, there was a film preview of “The accidental death of a cyclist”, on the life of Marco Pantani a celebrated Italian cyclist who captured the hearts and minds of cycling fans in the late 90’s (). His life had many medical references, the cycling haematocrit rule, his link with the Italian sports doctor and scientist Francesco Conconi, and the retrospective confirmation of EPO use. A troubled teenager with an immense talent, he achieved cycling’s greatest heights but tumbled from stardom and, as his sporting life disintegrated, he fell into drug abuse and eventually died after a two week cocaine binge. It was difficult not to feel some sympathy for this sad hero from a small Italian coastal town who embraced sporting greatness. The film, like the similarly named play by Dario Fo, leaves us to make up our own minds. Was Pantani, known as “the pirate”, a victim or villain?

Psychology and psychiatry now seem to form an essential component of improving sporting performance. In the post film discussion, James Erksine the director, gave an interesting perspective. Sport is about winning and losing. But, if you define your life in such absolute terms of winning or losing, then life can never be a success because real life is about losing. And, so it is with all elite sport. We fete the heroes, damn to dopers and forget the winners when they step off the podium. Surfing a wave of adulation, a career inevitably comes to a disappointing end. One Monday morning they awaken and it’s all over. Many of us involved in sports medicine know of athletes who cannot put their lives together again and whose subsequent life is a chaotic chronicle of dysfunction, divorce, drugs, or drink. They step off the podium into an abyss. Who is there to help them? Sport and exercise medicine is now intricately involved in helping people get to the top. But, where is the medical support when they are heading towards the bottom?