Information for Patients

09 Aug 2015

The Stress Response

This is part two in my blog post stress series based on the ’10 Steps to Mastering Stress’ by David Barlow et al. In my first blog post in this series we looked at understanding stress and how we will approach decreasing it in your day-to-day life. In this post I will describe the stress response. The stress response has physical, mental and behavioral components. Physical response There are two ‘stress response’ systems in the body – the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic system prepares your body for action and the parasympathetic response calms your […]
14 Mar 2016

How long do I need to be on anti-depressants after a diagnosis of depression?

I am commonly asked about length of treatment from my patients. Please note the comments in this article – should not be taken as medical advice and all decisions about medication should be discussed with your treating doctor. Please ensure that you understand – What is major depressive disorder (MDD)? – before reading this article. To answer this question patients need to understand the different phases of treatment for depression. There are three main phases in the treatment of major depression. 1) Acute phase – where remission occurs of symptoms (minimum 6 – 8 weeks) 2) Continuation phase (full remission […]
11 Apr 2016

Screen Time at Bed Time

Screen time before sleep time is a problem. I’m noticing more and more patients are reporting difficulty sleeping or getting to sleep, and commonly when I enquire further they are looking at screens (televisions, smartphones,i-pads,tablets) before bedtime. Intuitively I think most people realize that it must be bad for your sleep in some way – but most continue with their habits. In a nutshell – it does disrupt your ability to fall asleep and your quality of sleep. The blue light emitted by these devices decreases the amount of melatonin released ( which peaks at bedtime) and will affect your quality […]
05 Jun 2016

Infographic | 5 Quick Facts On Alcohol Use

In my initial interview, I find out from all my patients about their daily/weekly alcohol consumption. I am often shocked at how many individuals in the Johannesburg region who drink excessively, and I suspect patients think I am overreacting or being overcautious. This infographic summarises some of the guidelines which were released this year in the United Kingdom.  It’s important to remember that these drinking guidelines are written for the general population and are not for people who suffer from any mental health issues. Alcohol makes most psychiatric disorders worse and more complicated to treat. I advise all patients to […]
11 Jul 2016

What is Adult ADHD ?

Adult ADHD is frequently undiagnosed and not sufficiently treated. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a developmental condition that starts in early childhood. ADHD affects the way the brain processes and retains information. In addition, it also affects brain areas which are important in delaying gratification and thinking before acting which results in impulsivity. Previously it was thought that you outgrow ADHD, but research has shown that ADHD frequently persists into adulthood. Here is a useful video explaining the symptoms of Adult ADHD. It is a highly inherited condition with the heritability from a 1st Generation relative thought to be around 75%. It […]
18 Jul 2016

Binge drinking and blackouts are bad for you

Binge Drinking is very common in South Africa. Most people don’t understand what it is or why it is dangerous for your health. Binge Drinking is when you consume a large amount of alcohol in a short period. General guidelines say it is the equivalent of 8 units of alcohol a night for me and 6 Units of alcohol a night for women. Please remember that 1 unit of alcohol does not equal 1 Drink. If you read this previous infographic on this blog, you will see that is the equivalent of about five beers for men ( 5*330ml) or […]