Last week I announced on national television that I take antidepressants. I was talking to Philip Scofield and Holly Willoughby this morning while answering health-related questions during their regular slot, and the topic came up.
I noted that, while millions of people in the UK rely on antidepressants, there is a certain stigma that surrounds them. Given that they help people cope with sometimes crushing mental health symptoms, and live their lives to the fullest, it’s ridiculous that anyone should be ashamed in any way, in my view.
So I thought it appropriate to admit that I take them too – because I used to suffer very bad anxiety. That means I’m not there yet.
There are many ways to cope with mental illness, including therapy and lifestyle changes. But for many people, including me, medication is a valid and effective answer, and people shouldn’t be afraid to try it.
Dr. Ellie Cannon appeared on This Morning during the week to tell Holly and Phil about her experiences taking anti-depressants and why there’s no shame in asking for help
My lawyer son claims that marijuana calms him. But is he addicted?
My 34-year-old son is an intelligent, hardworking lawyer and a lovely, charming person.
But in the past year he has started smoking a lot of marijuana. He says it’s for rest, but I don’t think he sounds like himself.
Could he be addicted?
Marijuana, or cannabis, is in common use in the UK despite being an illegal drug. Many people say that they use it to reduce stress and pain, as well as for relaxation. But cannabis consumption is not risk-free. We know, and I have seen as a GP that cannabis can make people unwell, paranoid, confused and even anxious.
It is an addictive drug if one is using it regularly, and can cause withdrawal symptoms when discontinued. These include nausea, irritability, insomnia and sweating.
Cannabis is associated with an increased risk of psychosis-like illnesses such as schizophrenia, where people believe things that are not true, or see things that are not there. It is more likely in a person who has used it for a long time from a young age. It can also affect breathing, worsen asthma and is known to lower sperm count.
A reader wrote to Dr. Ellie to ask if her lawyer son was addicted to cannabis, as he admitted to smoking the drug regularly to relax.
If someone has started using the drug more often and there is a change in mood then it is natural to assume that the changes are related to the use of the drug. However, as a doctor I would question why they are starting to use the drugs more often. If someone is self-medicating to relieve pain or stress, it may be these things, rather than the medication, that are causing the change in mood.
As relatives and caregivers we are in a unique position to ask these questions in a non-judgmental way, and to give our loved ones a chance to open up and receive the support they need. New drug use, especially in a young person, may be a sign of background mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Frank’s is the national service for all drug users and information, and can be contacted 24/7 on 0300 1236600.
I am a 74 year old man who exercises for two hours six days a week.
My knees and shoulders have started to hurt lately, and I was wondering if you could recommend any supplements I should be taking.
I already take omega-3 capsules, but I’ve heard that turmeric helps with this kind of trouble.
Vitamin pills are extremely popular, and some people spend a small fortune on them each month.
More from Dr. Ellie Cannon for the Mail on Sunday…
- Dr. Eli Cannon: Why are my knees hurting so much after getting two new hips? 09/10/21
- I am 70 years old, my fiance is 56 years old. I want to try Viagra… but I have a pacemaker. Is it safe for me to try? Dr. Eli Cannon answers your questions 02/10/21
- Dr. Ellie Cannon: As a patient, I’ve been struck by the GP’s refusal to see us in person – but going back to making every appointment face-to-face will only make things worse… 25/09/21
- How can we soothe the tinnitus for my sister with dementia? Dr. Eli Cannon answers your questions 25/09/21
- Dr. Ellie Cannon: I’m 78 years old and suffering… why didn’t my GP allow me to go back on HRT? 18/09/21
- Why did my husband suddenly become so anxious on vacation? Dr. Eli Cannon answers your questions 10/09/21
- I can’t stop worrying that cancer runs in my family – and that I will be ahead. Am I eligible for special screening? Dr. Eli Cannon answers your questions 04/09/21
- Dr. Eli Cannon: Can Pills for Lyme Disease Actually Make It Worse? 28/08/21
- Why have I suffered such terrible symptoms of menopause for six years? Dr. Eli Cannon answers your questions 21/08/21
- View Full Collection
But that doesn’t mean there’s scientific evidence to prove they work. This is why, generally speaking, doctors do not recommend them.
Joint supplements work in some people and not in others and so we no longer offer any advice on the NHS.
If a patient tells me they want to try a supplement, I suggest they take the same brand and the same dosage for two to three months. If they feel the benefits, it’s worth continuing.
Studies in omega-3 fish oil supplements show they improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, but not specifically osteoarthritis, the most likely cause of knee and shoulder pain in older people.
However, fish oil is a rich source of omega-3 vitamin D which we know is important for maintaining healthy joints and bones.
Turmeric is believed by many cultures to have anti-inflammatory properties, although again there is very limited scientific evidence to suggest its benefits. It is likely to have the least side effects, but it may increase the effects of blood thinners. Small trials have shown that turmeric can improve pain and knee function.
If anyone wants to try it, I would suggest discussing it with the pharmacist first.
I have my ears cleaned every two years in the hospital. Last time i…