Expertise & Evidence

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Expertise & Evidence

Common Disorders

Understanding that the signs your partner, family, or loved one is suffering from could be an undiagnosed disorder is the first step to getting you and your loved one the help they need to recover. In the following sections, we will explore some of the main disorders that may require inpatient services.

Concurrent Disorders

Described as both a mental health and substance use disorder

Concurrent disorders are common (over 7 million adults suffer from them) as often, people with mental disorders have a higher risk of developing a substance use disorder, and vice versa. However, this does not mean that one caused the other and it can be difficult to determine which came first. ​

Concurrent Disorders

How to treat them?

If you suffer from a concurrent disorder it is important to find effective treatment as the interactions between these two disorders can worsen the course of both. There are many effective treatments for both mental and substance use disorders. A comprehensive treatment approach will address both disorders at the same time.

Acute Stress Disorder

What it is & How to Identify it

Acute Stress Disorder is defined as someone who is experiencing substantial difficulties after a trauma. The diagnostic criteria include the three core problems also seen in PTSD, namely intrusive symptoms: (nightmares flashbacks) avoidance of reminders of the trauma (avoiding thoughts, feelings, conversations, activities, places, people) and hyperarousal (hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response, irritability, poor concentration, motor restlessness).

Differential Diagnosis

PTSD: What it is & How to Identify it

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Also known as PTSD) is a disorder onset from trauma. PTSD is a very common traumatic disorder and is not subject to only people who have witnessed war. Almost any traumatic experience can result in long-term damage.

Understanding PTSD

The Symptoms & How to Treat

The symptoms of PTSD also cannot be the result of substance use or abuse (e.g., alcohol, drugs, & medications), caused by or an exacerbation of a general or pre-existing medical condition, and cannot be explained by a brief psychotic disorder.

Diagnostic tools:

Acute Stress Disorders Interview (Structured Interview).

Acute Stress Disorder Scale (Self Report).



Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Exposure Based Therapies




Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI)



What it is & its Symptoms

Bereavement is the state of loss when someone close to an individual has died. Feelings of bereavement can also accompany other losses, such as the decline of one’s health or the health of a close other, or the end of an important relationship. People experience bereavement in various ways, with different thoughts or feelings during the process. People may feel shocked, sad, angry, scared, guilty or anxious. Some feel numb or have a hard time feeling emotions at all.


Characteristics of Those Suffering Pathological Grief

Characteristics include self detrimental behaviour and lost social interaction, lacking initiative and being indecisive and restless. They look to others for direction and want to be included in social activities; when they are, they feel grateful. However, they are apathetic and cannot make up their minds to do anything on their own.

Nothing brings satisfaction, and it appears that they carry out many daily routines out of habit. Patients may show self punitive behaviour without being aware of guilt feelings. Such people may give away belongings, be lured into foolish financial dealings and act stupidly, damaging their reputations and losing their friends or professional status.

Drug dependency can develop to ward off painful awareness of the loss. In reality the loss is too difficult to accept.

Gambling Disorders

What it is and How to Identify

Gambling disorder is the uncontrollable urge to keep gambling despite the toll it takes on your life (relationships, work, school, health, finances, legal “theft or fraud to support your addiction”, suicide, suicide attempts or suicidal thoughts). Gambling means that you are willing to risk something you value in the hope of getting something of even greater value. Compulsive gambling may result from a combination of biological, genetic and environmental factors.

There are common behavioral, emotional, financial and health signs of problem gambling.

Behavioural signs:

  • thinks about gambling all the time
  • steals money to gamble
  • is gone for long periods of time
  • has conflicts with other people over money
  • stops doing things individual previously enjoyed
  • they start missing family events and neglecting
    a child’s basic care
  • changes patterns of sleep, eating or sex
  • ignores self-care, work, school or family tasks
  • uses alcohol or other drugs more often

Emotional Signs:

  • withdraws from family and friends
  • has difficulty paying attention
  • has mood swings and anger
  • complains of restlessness
  • seems depressed or suicidal

Financial Signs:

  • borrows money or asks for salary advances
  • takes a second job without a change in finances
  • cashes in savings accounts, RRSPs or insurance plans
  • has family members who complain that
  • valuables and appliances are disappearing or that money is missing from a bank account or wallet

Health Signs:

  • headaches
  • gastrointestinal problems
  • difficulty sleeping
  • overeating or loss of appetite