Articles — Mental Health(22)

Responding To Trouble

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health The Fifteenth Year

Responding To Trouble

I find it so interesting that different people can have exactly the same things happen to them but each will respond in a different manner. One person might get drunk. Another might attempt suicide. A third could seek professional help. A fourth may discuss the situation with a friend or neighbour. A fifth person might not even pay attention or notice that there is trouble. That’s what makes us human. We each have thoughts, feelings and behaviours that we have learned over the years in order to navigate life. So, now that there is such easy access to news from...

Read more →


But What If…?

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health Pandemic The Fifteenth Year

But What If…?

Over the past few weeks, the world has been experiencing a pandemic which has stolen almost everything that we previously called “Normal”.   No one seems to understand the virus and we are certainly getting very mixed messages from sources that previously we would trust and respect without question.     Articles that I wrote in the past addressed depression and anxiety.  You see, there has likely been degrees of depression and anxiety throughout recorded history – and perhaps even before that.   Those who experience depression are often “stuck” in the past.   They focus on the things that happened which are...

Read more →


Things to Ponder

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health Pandemic The Fifteenth Year

Things to Ponder

The pandemic can be difficult to navigate and if we aren't careful, we might find that we are developing an anxiety disorder. It is very important that you not only remain physically healthy but also enjoy good mental health so you might find the following to help you. A little anxiety is a good thing because it can keep us sharp! It encourages us to prepare for a situation so that we won't make mistakes or look stupid and helps us to stay safe. Anxiety can be experienced by children, adults, seniors and animals. We learn from others and often...

Read more →


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health The Eleventh Year

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

When I was growing up I remember hearing people talk about soldiers who had gone off to war and then come home with problems. They used the term "shell shock" to describe this condition of extremely negative symptoms that included flashbacks, sleep difficulties and exaggerated startle response. Often the returning solider would withdraw from others or try to escape memories through use of alcohol, drugs, or suicide attempts. They had become "stuck" in a situation of helplessness and hopelessness. Since I began studying to become a psychologist I have learned a great deal about what we now call Post Traumatic...

Read more →


Why A Psychologist?

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health The Tenth Year

Why A Psychologist?

I have seen over 7,000 clients in the past few years. They do not all live in Medicine Hat. In fact, many travel long distances for their appointments. You might be wondering why people seek the services of a Registered Psychologist rather than just trying to solve problems on their own. Here are a few of the reasons: 1. Education - All Registered Psychologists hold a master's and/or doctoral degree that focusses on a number of areas including the study of cognition, emotion and behaviour. This initial 7 to 11 years of university is supplemented by professional development training during...

Read more →


The Personality Disorders

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health The Ninth Year

The Personality Disorders

Have you ever met someone who seems to have thinking patterns that are distorted, emotional responses that are problematic, lack of impulse control and interpersonal difficulties? Although it I important not to try to diagnose this person, it is a good idea to know that there are ten different personality disorders and it is not uncommon for someone to have more than one of them. Cluster A personality disorders are described as "odd, eccentric" and include: Paranoid - This person has a great deal of suspiciousness and distrusts others. Because of their fear of being harmed, they try to protect themselves...

Read more →


Adjustment Disorder

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health The Eighth Year

Adjustment Disorder

A few years ago I was in Seattle and was surprised to learn that the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks which were built in 1911 are second largest in size after the Panama Cannel. These nicknamed "Ballard Locks" provide a link for boats travelling between the salt water of Puget Sound and the fresh water of the Ship Canal that connects eastward to Lake Union and Lake Washington. Tourists and locals can descend steps in order to watch salmon pass between fresh and salt water through glass panels situated below the water line. I was curious about the way that the...

Read more →


Dealing with Crisis

Dr. Linda Hancock Mental Health Multiple Sclerosis The Eighth Year

Dealing with Crisis

It was five in the morning and thankfully I had received lots of rest on the weekend. A message flashed on my computer screen and I learned that my sister had been airlifted to ICU in Regina. Within minutes my bags were packed, and I was on my way for the four-and-a-half-hour drive. One message and everything changed immediately. All the plans for the next few days lost their significance and I was into a totally new set of goals. The week before I had been part of a team of nine individuals who walked the streets of High River...

Read more →


Is Your Diagnosis Accurate, a Problem or a Result?

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health The Fourth Year

Is Your Diagnosis Accurate, a Problem or a Result?

Life can be confusing and complex. Sometimes I have clients begin therapy with me after they have been given a diagnosis for a mental illness. They do not always believe or understand the way that this diagnosis was determined or even think that it is accurate. Their "depression" or "anxiety" or "ADHD" might not actually be the "problem" or might become an additional problem to the original one with time. When people tell me that their "problem" is divorce, or anger or not getting enough sex I usually help them to understand that these things are usually the "result" of...

Read more →


Having ADHD Can Be a Good Thing!

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health

Having ADHD Can Be a Good Thing!

Place the palm of your hand over your forehead. The area behind the palm is the frontal lobe of your brain. It houses executive function which is similar to the principal of a school setting the direction for the body and telling it how to behave. According to research, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is associated with abnormalities in the white and gray matter of this area of the brain. Some studies claim that 3-10% of children and 1-6% of adults are diagnosed with a type of ADHD. Boys are 3 times more likely than girls to have this disorder....

Read more →


What is Asperger's Disorder?

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health The Third Year

What is Asperger's Disorder?

Autism and Asperger's Disorder are both classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) published by the American Psychiatric Association as Pervasive Development Disorders. Asperger's Disorder causes clinically significant impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning. The criteria for diagnosis involves two specific categories. Qualitative impairment can be evidenced in use of nonverbal behaviours, failure to develop appropriate peer relationships and lack of social or emotional reciprocity. Eye contact, facial expression, postures or gestures are observed by professionals who are charged with making the diagnosis. Patterns of behaviour which include repetitive and stereotyped interests and activities can occur in preoccupation or...

Read more →


Label Or Diagnosis?

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health The Third Year

Label Or Diagnosis?

Frequently I hear individuals state that they do not like to see people being "labeled" with a diagnosis. I find this a little difficult to understand as I like to be able to name the problems in my life before I try to deal with them. For example, when my bank balance was lower than I expected, I was relieved to learn that an error had been made which resulted in double debits to my account. When my mechanic identified the problem with my car's air conditioning as being a broken switch, I knew that it could be fixed quickly...

Read more →


Client Behaviour Can Be Confusing!

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health The Third Year

Client Behaviour Can Be Confusing!

Have you ever wondered if your child is really sick - or just trying to avoid attending school? Does it seem convenient that someone who is charged with a criminal act claims that s/he cannot be responsible for their actions because of mental illness? Do you wonder why someone who is receiving a disability payment appears to be healthy? Are there times when you watch individuals "doctor" for years without being diagnosed? Humans are complex. Most people who claim to be physically or psychologically ill, really are experiencing legitimate symptoms and can be diagnosed and treated. There are, however, cases...

Read more →


What is Alzheimer's Disease?

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health The Third Year

What is Alzheimer's Disease?

Two of my grandparents and my father-in-law had Alzheimer's Disease. Although I was not the primary caregiver for any of them, I found it sad and frustrating to watch them change from the people I knew and loved to people whose personalities and memories disappeared over time. Alzheimer's Disease was named after a German physician, Dr. Alois Alzheimer, who first spoke a scientific meeting in 1906 about a patient who had symptoms that he had not previously observed in others. His 51 year old female patient had problems with her memory, unfounded suspicions that her husband was unfaithful and difficulties...

Read more →


The Complexity of Schizophrenia

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health The Third Year

The Complexity of Schizophrenia

In 1911 a Swiss psychiatrist who headed a psychiatric hospital at Burgholzli introduced the term schizophrenia. His work, which was known as "Bleuler's four A's" involved disturbances in affect, association, ambivalence and autism. Today, the American Psychiatric Association has identified criteria which is used in diagnosis for many disorders including schizophrenia. Three specific categories regarding symptoms must be present and three specific things must be absent before a diagnosis is given. A psychiatrist or mental health professional examines the presence and severity of characteristic symptoms which may include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, grossly disorganized or catatonic behaviour or other negatives....

Read more →


Don't Panic! You Are in Control!

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health The Third Year

Don't Panic! You Are in Control!

You are sure that you are having a heart attack! You are sweating, trembling and shaking. Your heart is pounding at an accelerated rate and you have severe chest pain accompanied by numbing or tingling sensations in your arms. While you wait for the ambulance you notice that you have shortness of breath, a feeling of choking and wonder if it will arrive in time. You fear that you will die before you reach the hospital. Nausea and abdominal distress are added to feelings of dizziness while, at the same time you are experiencing an eery type of detachment or...

Read more →


What is Trichotillomania?

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health The Third Year

What is Trichotillomania?

Have you ever met someone whose eyebrows appear to be drawn on with pencil or been curious about people who have patchy bald spots on their head? Have you observed individuals who twist hair repeatedly before pulling it out? Perhaps you know people who are obsessed with removing hair from their bodies by pulling it out with their fingers. Trichotillomania is an impulse-control disorder that begins with increasing tension and is followed by a person's unsuccessful resistance to pulling hair out of the body. This is usually followed by feelings of relief, pleasure or gratification. The act, however, can result...

Read more →


What If We Didn't Have Drugs?

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health The Second Year

What If We Didn't Have Drugs?

Many individuals would lose their livelihood - like those who grow, package, transport and traffic them. The Court system and jails would likely be much emptier and less money would be needed for policing. Organizations such as MADD would be unnecessary. We wouldn't lose millions of dollars and man hours a year because of addictions. People would have to socialize without a martini and cigar. Individuals who couldn't cope with their feelings would need to find other ways to "escape" or deal with their problems. If we didn't have drugs schools wouldn't need drug dogs or "zero tolerance" policies. Parents...

Read more →


What Does "Informed Consent" Mean?

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health The Second Year

What Does "Informed Consent" Mean?

I recently heard the sad story of a woman who woke up from an investigative surgery to find to her horror that one of her breasts was missing. She had obviously signed consent for the hospital and doctor to do the surgery but did not have enough information to know what the results of that might be. Sometimes we give permission, approval or agreement to something but don't have enough information to understand the process to be used or the risks associated with it. Have you ever taken your car to a mechanic and returned to a large and unexpected...

Read more →


What is Your IQ?

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health The First Year

What is Your IQ?

In 1905 Alfred Binet, a psychologist, developed and published the first Intelligent Quotient (IQ) test in response to France becoming a country with education for all children. Before that the offspring of the rich were the only ones in school. In 1916, a Stanford psychologist, Lewis Teiman, published the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale which was a standardized instrument or psychometric to determine IQ score for children and adults. Many other researchers have worked over the years and continue to improve the numerous tests available to assess intelligence quotient. The most commonly-known instruments were named after David Weschler, a man who has...

Read more →


Nature Vs Nurture

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health The First Year

Nature Vs Nurture

One day I asked my friend, Paul, "Why are you so smart?" He replied "Well, both my parents are doctors so I inherited the genes and I was raised by parents who are both doctors so I had a good environment for learning." In the 1970s there was a debate about whether genetics or environment contributed the most to one's personality. Twins separated at birth and then studied in adulthood were used as evidence that biological inheritance was more powerful than environment. Often twins who had never met were found living in the same type of house, being married to...

Read more →


Anxiety - Feeding Herman is a Way to Describe the Effect of Negative Self-Talk

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health The First Year

Anxiety - Feeding Herman is a Way to Describe the Effect of Negative Self-Talk

I'm from Saskatchewan. Sometimes people there do rather strange things! I remember going to visit a friend one time only to be delighted by the beautiful, delicious cinnamon buns that she served. After asking for the recipe I was surprised to watch her open the fridge, take out a large container and then cut off a piece of bread dough. She carefully wrapped it and then gave me a sheet of paper with directions that clearly stated I was to "feed" the dough regularly. I decided to call my new friend "Herman" and lovingly placed him in a sealed vessel...

Read more →