Natural Ways to Treat Depression and Anxiety

boy-1758232_1280Burnaby physician Dr. Ali Ghahary works with many patients suffering from depression and anxiety, conditions that often co-exist together. As many as 4.5 million Canadians aged 18 or older, as well as some younger children, are diagnosed with a mental disorder at least once in their lives, which can have a significant impact on their ability to lead normal and healthy lifestyles – including underperformances at work and school, as well as a steady decline in social interactions.

Some of the common symptoms of depression and anxiety include panic attacks, feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, loss of interest in once enjoyable activities, disturbances in sleep, changes in appetite and weight loss/gain.

At Brentwood Medical Clinic in Burnaby, British Columbia, Dr. Ghahary works in combination with clinical psychologists and psychiatrists in helping patients come up with appropriate treatment plans specifically designed for them, usually consisting of medications in conjecture with behavioural therapy as well as lifestyle and habit changes. While medication is often successful as a standalone treatment, making some natural changes to one’s daily life is also recommended when dealing with mental health.

First and foremost, setting goals, i.e. ‘What do I want to accomplish with my treatment?’ As depression can often interrupt the structure that you were once used to, discussing any goals you have with your physician, counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist will help pave the path to a successful outcome and help you with your future plans. In addition, goals can also be something small, such as doing the dishes every day or setting your alarm to wake up at a specific time every morning – which is also another key factor when dealing with depression and anxiety, as it can disrupt sleeping patterns. Trying not to take naps and ensuring you don’t surround yourself with any distractions (computers, television) will also help your sleep improve over time.

sports-1050966_1280To boost the brain’s feel-good chemicals known as endorphins, regular exercise is also helpful. Going for 20 to 30 minute walks a few times a week is a great way to alleviate symptoms associated to depression and anxiety. If outdoor activities aren’t your thing, joining a community centre with exercise equipment is another option. If you are one who has difficulty sleeping as mentioned above, there are also several 24-hour gyms in Canada that you may benefit from joining. As long as you are keeping fit somehow.

You may also want to try taking on new responsibilities. Those suffering from depression tend to avoid taking on too much at once, and it often get in the way of school or work, but it is important to remain involved. If you previously worked full-time, think of re-entering the workforce by taking on a part-time job. You could also consider volunteering; helping others will make you feel good about yourself.

question-1301144_1920When struggling with depression and anxiety, it is also important to avoid thinking negative thoughts. Naturally, we often jump to the worst possible conclusions, but that is especially so in individuals who are depressed. If you constantly tell yourself that you don’t feel good enough, try to change your thinking by listing all of the reasons why you are good enough, and remind yourself of all the things you have accomplished in the past and hope to accomplish in the future.

By making these lifestyle changes and implementing new things, you are altering the dopamine levels in your brain, and in time you will find that you not only feel more energized and focused, but have more pleasure and enjoyment out of life.

Summer Health and Safety Tips: Sunburn

Dr. Ali Ghahary

With summer right around the corner next month, many Canadians will want to take full advantage of the longer days and rising temperatures. However, it is important to know about some of the most common heat-related illnesses and dangers that are associated with summer so that you are able to get out and enjoy the warmer weather without putting yourself in harm’s way.

A prevalent problem during the summer months in Canada is something called Erythema, more commonly known as sunburn. This is caused by overexposure to sunlight (ultraviolet radiation), resulting in redness, swelling and blistering of the skin. While sunburns are usually easily treated with at-home remedies such as applying aloe vera or calamine lotion on the affected areas, using a cool compress, or soaking in a cool oatmeal bath to help sooth the skin, in severe cases a sunburn may actually require more urgent medical attention and involve treatment such as Acetaminophen (Tylenol), anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen (Advil), or the use of topical steroids such as Hydrocortisone cream. At Brentwood Medical Clinic, family physician Dr. Ali Ghahary is able to assess sunburns and provide the appropriate treatment required depending on the severity.

dr. ali ghahary

While many individuals tend to ignore the very real dangers of UV radiation, it is still important to educate oneself on the hazards of being exposed to too much sunlight, the risks associated, and what you can do to prevent future health problems as a result. Although UV radiation does have certain benefits such as providing our bodies with Vitamin D and the ability to fight off germs, the risks generally outweigh the benefits.

For example, that perfect summer tan you’ve been working on? It is actually the result of being exposed to too much UV radiation and damage of your skin, and may in fact make you susceptible to other health problems later on down the road. Sunburn can always be prevented and it is important to take steps to ensure that not only your skin, but also your body as a whole, is protected when being out in the sunlight for prolonged periods of time.

While there is no safe way of going about tanning, you can take some additional steps to protect yourself from sunlight overexposure by covering up with hats and loose, long-sleeved shirts and pants, and by staying in places where there is plenty of shade. You should also wear sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection at all times while outside as sunlight can quickly cause inflammation of the cornea, which can be quite painful. Tanning can also cause premature aging of the skin, blotchiness, age spots, and even skin cancer. Something as simple as wearing an SPF 30 sunscreen will help to provide you with protection against UV rays, which will decrease these risks.

Aging and the Benefits of Cosmetic Fillers

Aging and the Benefits of Cosmetic FillersAging is a natural process as we get older that involves everything from increased infection susceptibility to bones that break more easily. However, one of the most noticeable changes of the aging process is oftentimes seen on the skin. As we age, our skin loosens and becomes thinner, making lines and wrinkles more visible. While most individuals would previously turn to facial serums and other similar products in effort to reduce the effects of aging, Canadians are turning to other minimally invasive procedures, with the most popular being cosmetic fillers.

Similar to serums, cosmetic fillers are geared towards reducing the effects of aging by adding volume to problem-areas (lines, wrinkles) and giving you a more youthful appearance. Not only are these cosmetic fillers far less invasive than other surgical procedures, but they are also inexpensive and can provide lasting results depending on the type of cosmetic filler that is used. It is important to note that while most cosmetic fillers strive to have the same or similar outcome, not all cosmetic fillers are alike, nor do they contain the same components.

The most popular cosmetic filler on the Canadian market today is Botox, otherwise known as Botulinum Toxin, and is used on a variety of patients. The most common use for Botox is to treat frown lines that appear around the eyes or on the forehead by injecting small amounts into the problem-areas in order to relax the muscles. However, Botox is also a popular choice due to its ability to relieve other non-cosmetic complaints such as muscle spasms, excessive sweating, and migraine headaches. Alternatives to Botox include Dysport and Xeomin.

dr ali ghahary	You also may have heard of brands such as Juvaderm and Restylane. These are hyaluronic-acid based fillers. Similar to Botox, hyaluronic acid based fillers work to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, as well as provide a more youthful appearance to the skin. Hyaluronic-acid is a natural substance that is found within the human body, thus making these types of fillers safe to use (and with less side effects) in comparison to calcium-based fillers or poly-l-lactic acid based fillers, which may require a series of treatments and even local anesthetic prior to being administered.

Overall, cosmetic fillers are a perfect, easy and economical way to not only enhance and revamp one’s appearance, but they can also boost your self-esteem in the process.

If you are interested in trying cosmetic filling agents, contact Dr. Ali Ghahary at ghaharymedicalcosmetics@gmail.com today.

Ways to Combat Spring Allergies

spring allergiesFor many us, spring is a time of the year that we look forward to. That is, unless, you or someone close to you suffers from seasonal allergies. Then, spring can be a dreaded time of year where your thoughts are consumed with simply being able to breathe and the constant fight against the symptoms associated with allergies. At Brentwood Medical Clinic, patients presenting with allergy symptoms (sneezing, congestion, etc.) is something Dr. Ghahary sees quite frequently, especially during this time of year.

Asthma and allergy rates are on the rise across Canada, with mounting evidence that the allergy season now lasts up to one month longer than previously. In addition, parts of Canada that were once too cold for allergy-inducing plants are now seeing more frequent allergy activity. This has been attributed to global warming and the higher temperatures experienced so soon after winters end. It is important for Canadians to plan for allergy season and ensure that both your home and workplace are spring season ready.

allergiesUnlike normal allergic reactions, springtime allergies can appear one season and be gone the next. This is due to the various pollens that make up the irritants in the air changing every year – and while there is nothing we can do about the pollens and other natural pollutants in the air, we can, however, follow some simple steps to gain some relief from the symptoms that are associated with airborne pollutants.

Between home and work, most of us spend the majority of our days indoors. If you control your indoor environment and protect both your home and workplace from airborne pollutants, it is possible to significantly reduce the symptoms associated with allergies. Believe it or not, allergies can often become worse indoors. This is due to the buildup of natural allergy triggers that can occur over multiple seasons.

During the springtime, it is important to ensure that you keep your windows and doors closed as much as possible. While this won’t be possible for everyone, another alternative is to install shade screens. Shade screens are equipped with a fine mesh material and can make a huge difference to the amount of dirt and pollen that can pass through the screen and into your home. It is also recommended that you run your air conditioner during the spring. Circulating the air in your home or office can help filter out any pollen in the air. It is also important to be smart about how you go about your day-to-day activities. Always think about how you can limit your exposure to the allergens that bring about your symptoms. Think about the simple things that you can avoid.

Spring allergies are, for many, unavoidable, and in severe cases can be treated with medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, nasal sprays and eye drops.