Tag Archives: mental health

About your breakfast

We know that eating well (good nutritional balance) and at the right times is good for your mental as well as your physical health.

There’s some new research out on breakfast. The article I spotted (Breakfast no longer ‘most important meal of the day’ | SBS) goes a bit popular and funny on it, so I’ll phrase it independently in an attempt to get the real information out.

One of the researchers makes the point that skipping breakfast is not the same as deferring. So consider the reason, are you going to eat properly a bit later, or are you not eating at all?

When you do have breakfast, note that really most cereals contain an atrocious amount of sugar (and other carbs) that you can’t realistically burn off even with a hard day’s work. And from my own personal observation, there’s often way too much salt in there also. Check out Kellogg’s Cornflakes for a neat example of way-too-much-salt.

Basically, the research comes back to the fact that just eating is not the point, it’s what you eat that actually really does matter.

What do you have for breakfast, and at what point/time in your day?

World Mental Health Day

October 10th is World Mental Health Day, a yearly item of awareness on the agenda since 1992. A few links:

On this day, I would like to draw your attention to an article (in the Vancouver Sun) this week on Dr Gary Greenberg, about the American Psychiatric Association‘s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the leading authority on mental health diagnosis and research. This document is used in the US, (Canada?) and UK for assessment/diagnosis.

Dr Greenberg makes the point that in recent times in particular, the number of classified “disorders” has skyrocketed, in general but also in particular in the realm of young children. A small child having a temper tantrum can now be classified as a disorder!

This in itself is of course already a problem. Obviously, not diagnosing something is detrimental. But from my perspective, lowering the bar too far and casting the net too wide has the potential to do a great deal of harm to the wellbeing of lots of people. I’d suggest that beyond not being helpful, it’s counterproductive.

Dr Greenberg also notes that with DSM regarded as authoritative, and diagnosis increasingly resulting in medication, the problem is exacerbated. When other organisations use DSM diagnoses as a reference point for policy, things go bad. Take for instance the forced medication of children based on ADHD diagnoses – it’s forced because the medication is a prerequisite for schools accepting them. Of course there will be kids with issues that merit some form of support and treatment. But you can see how the aforementioned trail from DSM to school authorities forces the child on medication, even though medication might not be the (most) appropriate avenue. Medicating everything is not the way – life is not a disease, and what’s considered “normal” has a pretty broad spectrum. Demanding narrow conformity and medicating everything outside that boundary is scary.

On the other hand, other support mechanisms (including education) hinges on diagnoses as well – so when a threshold is effectively raised, this might remove some people from the medication realm, but it also removes other support. So there it goes wrong again. Complicated matters.