Struggling With 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.

In 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.

There 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 counselling 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.