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Family Matters: Building your tool kit

Thursday, May 3 to Saturday, May 5, 2007
Hilton Niagara Fallsview Hotel

A joint conference presented by the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario and the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario

HEAR presenters like?

? PAM & BLAIR KINSMAN share their journey through depression and bipolar disorder
? DR. SUZANNE ARCHIE, pre-eminent psychiatrist speak on the vital role of families

? DR. XAVIER AMADOR present LEAP ? listen, empathize, agree, partner

? DAVID HASBURY graphically facilitate the start of a go-forward advocacy network with participants

Family does matter! Families are integral in the diagnosis, treatment and recovery of people with mental illness. Family members take on multiple and complex roles such as caregivers, supporters, case managers, treatment advocates or care coordinators. At the same time, the impact of mental illness on family members is tremendous and families have their own needs for support, education and information.

Family Matters 2007 is a conference focused on families in the mental health system. The conference is for family members, consumers and mental health professionals. It is an opportunity to explore important questions about how to support families, how to facilitate recovery, how to better integrate family members into treatment planning, and how to balance the needs of families and consumers. Join us to learn about and discuss Family Matters.

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I am off to the Family Matters conference this week. I will share some of the more interesting and informative parts when I return next week.



Have fun at the conference HeartArt. I will look forward to what you have to share when you return.

Take care and travel safe
:hug: :hug:


The conference at the Hilton by the Falls was just wonderful. Between 200 to 300 people attended and the singer song writer, Amy Sky performed on Friday evening after our dinner. Wow...she's great! She also spoke about her experience with post partum depression on Sat.

I will fill you in on the Family Matters conference in a few days.



Weight Gain

Weight Gain

One of the best presentations was by the opening plenary speaker, Dr. Suzanne Archie. There were many interesting workshops but this is the one that I will share with you. Dr Archie is psychiatrist on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University, Hamilton. She is also director of the Cleghorn Program for Early Intervention in Psychosis and Psychotic Disorders Clinic.

Contrary to popular belief, from the start of schizophrenia to the 3rd year there is a gradual decrease in weight gained from medication. The most weight gain is seen with Clozapine and then Olanzapine. Lithium and Valproate cause the most weight gain of the mood stabalizers.

Medications delay message to the brain that one is full. Wait 15mts before getting a second helping to give time for the communication between your brain and stomach.

Another cause of weight gain is from emotional eating (hedonistic eating) from depression, anger, anxiety and boredom.

When serotonin is low we tend to eat carbohydrates which raises levels of serotonin. Too much D2 (dopamine) in the central brain region also increases eating behaviour.

Eating high sugar content causes blood sugar to spike then drop fast and that's what makes you hungry and eat more. Stop drinking pop as the single most important step.

Studies show that it is not only medication that increases weight but patients with depression and schizophrenia who were non-medicated also had higher levels of intradominal fat. It is the fat concentration around the abdomen that causes health problems. Fat on our bottoms is not unhealthy and in fact is where we should have some fat according to evolution. We should be proud of our fat bottoms! (Big hand for that one)

Depression is associated with obesity and schizophrenia is associated with diabetes in non-medicated patients as well.

For people with schziophrenia there is a 30% increased risk of diabetes which rises to 50% with genetic factors. Risk factors include; lack of exercise, overeating and diet high in fat and low in fruits and vegetables.

Transtheoretical Model

A gradual process of change over stages. For people in the early intervention program there is not much different in these stages from the general population.

1. Precontemplation Stage
2. Contemplation Stage
3. Action Stage (least stable of change)

Three main factors of engagement
1. Must feel it's important
2. Effected by ones self confidence
3. Influences of social environment

Stage one: Help people to identify what they want. Don't tell them. Encourage and support what they are thinking about doing. If person does not care about doing anything then they will not be able to move to next stages. Must start at stage one.

Stage two: Planning and setting goals.

Stage three: Need self rewards.

What else can we do?

Healthy eating habits:
  • Weight loss pills don't work
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Cut out white sugar and flour. Substitue whole wheat.
  • Choose olive oils, canola oils and nuts
  • Include protein, lean meat and fish everyday
  • Cut out sugary drinks and pop
  • Use tall slender glasses and small plates
  • Avoid second helpings
  • Wait 15mts after meals to feel full
  • Smaller portions sizes. Use fist as a portion measure. Palm of hand for meat size.
  • Eat healthy instead of diet.
  • DON'T diet. You loose muscle and only gain fat back.

Physical activity tips:
  • Pick any fun activity as a start. Playing with kids is exercise.
  • Join a recreation club or team
  • Make it fun
  • Find a 'sweat buddy'
  • Go out and play with kids
  • Turn the TV set off. You burn more calories sleeping.
  • Park your car or get off the bus ealry
  • Walking is hands down favorite and great exercise
  • Get moving

Society needs to change. It's not about willpower. Technology has removed physical activity. We need more safe parks and bike trails! Advocate for more funding for special diets.

Simply eat healthy and increase physical activity!
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