Mental Health and Addiction in Canada

Dr. Ali Ghahary practices at Brentwood Medical Clinic, a combined family practice and walk-in clinic located in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. Along with being able to accurately diagnose and treat common health conditions such as influenza, diabetes, and even treat minor wounds/skin lacerations, Dr. Ghahary also has expertise in dealing with patients experiencing mental health disorders and addiction, ranging in everything from depression and anxiety disorders, to substance abuse (the use of and dependency on alcohol and/or drugs) and gambling problems.

Mental Health and Addiction in CanadaIn any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians will experience mental health or addiction problems. While women tend to have an increased rate of mood and anxiety disorders, men tend to have higher addiction rates. However, it is not unusual for mental health and addiction problems to co-occur. Patients who are already suffering from a mental illness are 2x more likely to develop substance abuse problems in comparison to otherwise healthy individuals, while patients already dealing with substance abuse problems are 3x more likely to develop a mental illness.

Mental health and addiction problems can cut up to 20 years from ones’ life expectancy, and is a leading cause of premature mortality in this country. Thus, it is imperative to be proactive and treat these issues early on in order to lead a healthy, well-balanced life. As a physician, it is Dr. Ghahary’s priority to ensure that mental health disorders and substance abuse/addiction is treated the same as any other illness would be treated – seriously, with the utmost compassion, and effectively.

Mental Health and Addiction in CanadaThere are many different ways that mental health disorders and addiction can be treated, with the most common course of treatment being a combination of medications and behavioural therapy such as outpatient counseling from a clinical psychologist or a referral to a psychiatrist via Burnaby Mental Health. Behavioural therapy is greatly beneficial in helping the patient further understand the symptoms that they may be experiencing, the risks of substance abuse, and will hugely benefit the patient in helping them on their road to recovery as well as be instrumental for the patient in maintaining their sobriety as they move forward. As mental health and addiction can also have a significant impact on ones’ personal lives, including performance in school or at work, seeking the help of a family physician, clinical psychologist or psychiatrist may also help to repair those fractured relationships and allow for better, open and honest communication in families, with friends, teachers, and with co-workers.

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Living With Complex and Multifactorial Health Conditions

living-with-complex-and-multifactorial-health-conditionsWhile most Burnaby residents will see their family physician once a year for their annual check-up, there are also a large number of Canadians that will make recurring visits to their doctor’s office as a result of complex and multifactorial health conditions. While many health conditions such as the common cold or flu are easily curable, complex or multifactorial disorders don’t have a single genetic cause, therefore oftentimes making them difficult to identify and treat, leaving the patient feeling vulnerable and frustrated – and, as a result, the patient can sometimes develop mood and mental health related changes, as well as social isolation.\

Dr. Ali Ghahary

Along with treating patients on a walk-in basis, Canadian physicians like Dr. Ali Ghahary, a general practitioner at Brentwood Medical Clinic in Burnaby, BC, which is located just a few minutes outside of the city of Vancouver, spend a significant amount of time caring for patients who are living with chronic health problems – including but not limited to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and chronic pain disorders such as fibromyalgia. These complex and multifactorial health conditions can affect individuals of all ages, with more than half of Canadian adults aged 65 and older being diagnosed with at least three or more chronic/ongoing medical problems.

Background Conditions

Multifactorial Health ConditionsWhen caring for patients, Dr. Ali Ghahary pays particular attention to a number of factors including socioeconomic elements as well as the medical complexity – i.e. past medical history, the current level of pain that the patient may be experiencing, and the symptoms involved. Prescribing medications to patients living with numerous health problems is much more difficult and intricate than in patients who require simple treatment for something like influenza or skin lacerations. For example, a medication that may be beneficial in treating one ailment may in fact wind up making other ailments worse. If you are a patient living with a complex and multifactorial health condition, it is always important to have a sit-down discussion with your physician to talk about your treatment plan as it is a decision-making process that requires a trusting relationship between the doctor and patient. Your physician is able to answer any questions that you may have about your diagnosis and treatment plan, and remember, no question is ever considered to be a bad question. When dealing with chronic illness it is important to stay informed, and especially important to your physician that they address any concerns and inquisitions you may have. If you are concerned about a medication that you have been prescribed, this is something you are also urged to talk about with your physician or pharmacist, but know that the benefits usually often outweigh any risks involved. You should also let your doctor or pharmacist know of any side effects you may be experiencing as a result of a prescribed medication and whether or not the prescribed treatment is or is not working.