March 2006

VLT addiction depletes widow's wealth

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Marnie Hall's family knew she liked to play the VLTs.What they didn't know was how indebted she was.

When her son contacted the Montreal Gazette to propose his mother as a candidate for a financial makeover, he thought she owed $15, 000 on her credit cards.

As it turns out, Hall (not her real name) owes $30,000 on five cards charging interest of about 20 per cent, plus $73,000 on a line of credit taken out on the home she inherited 10 years ago.

"We had no idea," son Jason said.

Stress: Be still, my beating heart

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Be still, my beating heart ; Even when the game is fast and furious, it's best to take it slow

Hockey playoffs and other emotional and psychological stressors really can cause heart attacks and strokes and the irregular heartbeats that lead to them. And you don't even have to be the coach.

I once heard of a man in Winnipeg who died while watching the Grey Cup on television and I'm not sure that the Blue Bombers were even playing.

Pregnant immigrant women have greater depression risk

Immigrant women are at far greater risk for depression during pregnancy and the postpartum period than Canadian- born women, a Montreal team of researchers has found.

An alarming 42 per cent of 120 pregnant immigrant women scored above the cut-off point for depression in a screening test, according to a study published recently in the journal Transcultural Psychiatry.

Manic Depression

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Lori felt her life was always swinging out of control. From the day she was born, she was unhappy. She excluded herself from the outside world and hid within the confines of her bedroom for hours on end. Her self-esteem was low; she was insecure, paranoid and suicidal

When she started high school her condition got worse. After bouts of overindulging on Tylenol and diet pills, one of her friends began to get worried and finally approached Lori's parents.

Work is the cause of most stress

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Do you have any stress in your job?

If your answer to this question is a resounding yes, then welcome to the modern workplace. Stress levels, as determined by patient questionnaires, are rising alarmingly, and are having a major impact on the health of business and individuals. In my 15 years of family practice, where 80% of patient visits were traceable to poorly managed stress, the vast majority of this stress originated in the workplace.

Stress and Cravings

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Stress and Cravings

When the going gets tough, the tough (and not-so-tough) often get hungry. Why that happens has been a mystery.

Although researchers have had clues that there might be some scientific basis for the notion of "comfort food," the precise link between stress and eating has been fuzzy.

Now, scientists have developed a model for a biological link between stress and the drive to eat: Food with lots of sugar, fat and calories appears literally to calm the body's response to chronic stress.

And baby makes ...

My cousin is pregnant and has a history of depression. Is she at risk for postpartum depression? Is postpartum depression any different from regular depression? What can I do to help? - Cousin who cares

Postpartum depression occurs in 10 to 20 per cent of mothers up to a year after giving birth. Some women are more susceptible than others, including those who have:

- a history of depression

- a great deal of stress

- a family history of depression

- had difficulty giving birth

- a sick baby

- no friends or family to support them.

Alcohol Rehab

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Life in alcohol rehab: Petty rules and $15,700 fee aside, addiction centre did what it could

Why is society so stressed?

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When did stress become the excuse for everything that goes wrong in a person's life?

Pinpointing that exact moment is impossible -- it is sufficient to say that stress has become a modern crutch on which to support actions that in earlier years would have had no such explanation or excuse.

The phrases are common -- stress in the workplace, stress in marriage, stress in the classroom, stress on the playground, stress at the day-care centre, stress on the playing field, stress at church.

A progressive addiction

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HE STARTED gambling at 14. Poker mostly. Then he graduated to the racetrack.

From then on, he couldn't resist the drug-like rush he felt making a bet.

His compulsive gambling sent him on a downward spiral lasting 24 years and cost him his marriage, family, job and nearly his life. Along the way he spent time in jail and became addicted to painkillers and booze.

"When I get in a racetrack, everything goes."