Pubdate: Wed, 25 Feb 2015
Source: Expositor, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2015 Brantford Expositor
Author: Vincent Ball
Page: A1

Mental Health and Addictions: Special series features live chat tonight


It turns out that laughter can be the best medicine, especially for

Dr. David Templeman, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, says that
children who rely on substances to get through their teen years, will
never develop the skills needed as a adult to live a happy independent

"I tell them they need to fill their day with something that's fun,"
says Templeman, who will make a video appearance during a live chat on
mental health and addictions that will be live-streamed starting at 6:
30 p. m. on The Expositor's website: .

"Teens need to ensure they have fun every day in a nice normal
adaptive way."

He says that he suggests teenagers watch a TV sitcom or something
funny on YouTube and that they spend 10 minutes in the morning and 10
minutes after school laughing and enjoying life.

"The simplest way that I can tell teenagers to do that is to make sure
you laugh spontaneously a few times a day," says Templeman,

Based in London, Ont., Templeman says that young people who regularly
smoke marijuana are in danger of becoming psychotic.

"For decades now, psychiatrists, doctors, have recognized there are
certain people who will walk into your emergency room who are
psychotic because they got high on weed and they end up not ever
stopping being psychotic," he says.

"The increase in the risk of developing schizophrenia is directly
related to the amount of marijuana use and the length of time you have
exposed your brain to the toxins.

"Kids who get paranoid when they get high have a much greater risk
that one day they will smoke up, get very paranoid and the paranoia
will never stop whether they get high or not."

It doesn't mean every teen who smokes weed will become psychotic, he

"It's a lot like smoking cigarettes and cancer, "Templeman explains.
"Many people who smoke cigarettes for years never get cancer; others
do get smoking-related cancers."

The difficulty is that no one can predict who will develop the
psychosis, he adds. Some of Templeman's patients are referred to him
by St. Leonard's Community Services in Brantford.

He says that substance abuse is a problem that begins in the teenage
years and continues into adulthood.

"The problem is that with adolescents the brain is still developing
and the regular use of substances like marijuana is that it hijacks
the pleasure-pathway of the brain," Templeman says.

"If you're constantly using something else to provide happiness and
feeling well, the brain decides that it doesn't need to do this for
itself and eliminates that ability."

It's kind of like always using a calculator for math, Templeman

"If down the road your calculator breaks down or you don't have a
calculator but still have to do math, it's going to be really hard for
you because you won't know how to do it," he says.

Substances help people be happy, he says.

"If, down the road, you stop using substances, what ends up happening
is your brain doesn't know how to self-regulate its own moods,"
Templeman says.

"It doesn't know how to be happy without the substances and there's a
fairly long period of time where your brain has to learn how to enjoy

"It no longer has access to the artificial ways of

Asked what he would tell teens who might dismiss what he has to say
about smoking weed, Templeman is clear.

"Well, I've never had a kid tell me I'm full of it," he

"I've told them flat out that they need to stop because it's getting
in their way of enjoying life and they agree.

"But they know that they can't."

He says teenagers need to know how their brain works and the
critically important role their teen years play on their lives.

"It's important for them to teach themselves through their own
experiences the skills that they want," he says.

"If they want to be happy, independent of anything else, if they want
to wake up in the morning and enjoy life, they need to start
practising how to do that now; not hope that it magically pops up as a
skill when they're 25."



Part 2 of The Expositor's special presentation - Mental Health: It's 
time to talk - resumes this week with a focus on addictions and mental 

In today's story, Dr. David Templeman, a child and adolescent
psychiatrist, talks about the potential impact substance abuse can
have on the adolescent brain.

On Tuesday, readers learned abut Michelle Noiles, a Brantford woman
who battled an addiction to cocaine and won.

The Expositor's special presentation includes a live chat today that
will be livestreamed from the main branch of the Brantford Public
Library on The Expositor's website at
beginning at 6:30 p. m..

Live chat guests include Noiles, Judy Tomczak, a Brantford mother who
had to learn how to help a daughter with a drug addiction, and Lindsay
Serbu, the supervisor of concurrent disorders outreach team at St.
Leonard's Community Services.

As well, the event includes video appearances by Templeman and Dave
Levac, Brant MPP and Speaker of the legislature.

Part 1 of the special presentation, which focused on mental health and
crisis, appeared in The Expositor in November.
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