Impact of diet on the brain.. a psychiatrists insight..

by | Oct 1, 2015 | Experts

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I had the opportunity to speak to Dr Terence Chong who is a clinical and academic psychiatrist who specialises in obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and aged psychiatry. In addition to being incredibly knowledgeable, Dr Chong is friendly and caring, and I would highly recommend him to those looking for a psychiatrist. I bombarded him with a barrage of questions about the impact of diet on the brain. Here are a few snippets from our discussion….

 

 

I had the opportunity to speak to Dr Terence Chong who is a clinical and academic psychiatrist who specialises in obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and aged psychiatry. In addition to being incredibly knowledgeable, Dr Chong is friendly and caring, and I would highly recommend him to those looking for a psychiatrist. I bombarded him with a barrage of questions about the impact of diet on the brain. Here are a few snippets from our discussion….

Melanie: “We often hear in the news that our population is ageing, and people often complain of forgetfulness and cognitive decline. What can people do to reduce their risk of cognitive decline?”
Dr Chong: “I recommend the 5 key strategies suggested by Alzheimer’s Australia: Focus on achieving a 1) protect your heart, 2) regular physical activity, 3) mentally challenge your brain, 4) healthy diet and 5) keep socially active. In particular a colleague of mine recently completed a research study which found that people who undertook the 50 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity three times a week were significantly less likely to experience cognitive decline than those who didn’t.”

Melanie: “There’s often a relationship between weight and depression. Does weight contribute to depression or does depression contribute to weight? Which comes first the chicken or the egg?”
Dr Chong: “There’s no one answer to that. It can work in different directions depending upon the individual. There’s one group of people who stop eating and drinking as a result of depression, lose too much weight and compromise their health and that’s often a time when we would involve a dietitian to help optimise their nutritional intake. Then there’s another group where weight gain is an issue, where they have turned to comfort eating or binge eating.”

Melanie: “Do you believe that anti-depressant medications can contribute to weight gain?”
Dr Chong: “I recently reviewed the literature about anti-depressants, and most are supposed to be weight neutral. There are a small number which have been shown to lead to weight gain. So it leaves the question of what other factor is it that’s causing the weight gain. It is important to remember that people have very individual responses to medication so that weight loss or weight gain can be related to medication despite the average result being weight neutral.”

Melanie: “What key tips would you give to someone struggling with depression/anxiety and weight?”
Dr Chong: “Include regular exercise for mental health as well as physical health. I encourage those struggling with depression/anxiety to consider a Mediterranean type diet including whole foods and ensure adequate omega 3 fatty acids. Some therapies that may be helpful include Cognitive-Behavioural Theapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).”

Melanie: “How can people make an appointment to see you?”
Dr Chong: “Obtain a referral from a GP.”

Website: http://www.epworth.org.au/Find-a-Doctor/Pages/Doctor-Profile.aspx?dID=875

 

                  

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