How do I survive Christmas with my difficult family?

The question: I’m dreading seeing certain members of my family over the holidays. I wish I enjoyed spending time with them more but I end up feeling tense and uncomfortable. How can I make the best of it?   The answer: You are not alone: The holidays are one of the most stressful times of […]


How do I survive my holiday work party?

The question: I’m extremely shy and worried about the upcoming holiday season and all the socializing that comes with it. Usually I skip most events but this year I can’t get out of the work holiday party. How do I cope?   The answer: Such social events can be a tremendous source of stress if […]


Does my partner have a drinking problem?

The question:   I’m concerned about my partner’s alcohol use. How do I know if his drinking is a problem?   The answer: Misuse of alcohol is one of the biggest health concerns that affects our society. Although most Canadians drink and enjoy alcohol in moderation with minimal harm, approximately 10 per cent engage in […]


Why can’t I sleep through the night?

The question: Lately my sleep has been terrible. Sometimes I have trouble falling asleep, and other times I wake up around 4 AM and can’t get back to sleep. What’s going on? The answer: First of all, you’re not the only one struggling with this. Up to one-third of the population has chronic sleep problems, […]


What’s the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

The question: I have decided that I need to seek help for some emotional issues. Should I see a psychiatrist or a psychologist? What’s the difference? The answer:   Recognizing that you are having emotional difficulties can be difficult to admit, but it’s the first step to getting effective treatment. It can be confusing, however, […]


I think my husband may be depressed. How do I broach the subject?

The question: My husband has been going through a difficult emotional time for several months. I suspect he may be depressed but he hasn’t brought this up himself. How can I broach the subject without pushing him away or making him defensive?   The answer: Unfortunately, there’s still a lot of stigma in our society […]


How can I stave off panic attacks?

The question: I recently had a panic attack for the first time, after a period of severe stress. It’s only happened once but now I’m worried that it could happen again. Do you have any tips on coping with panic attacks? How do I fight off stress so that it doesn’t get to that point? […]


Are my DVD marathons the sign of an emotional issue?

The question: Lately I’ve been feeling uninterested in socializing. All I want to do is stay home and have DVD marathons. I’ve been feeling like this for about two months. Should I be worried I’m no longer wanting to spend time with friends and family – which I used to enjoy?   The answer: All […]


Dr. Samra selected to write a weekly column for a new feature in the Globe and Mail

Dr Joti. Samra has been selected to write a weekly “Ask a Psychologist” column for a new “Ask a Health Expert” series being launched by the Globe and Mail on November 18, 2010.   Dr. Samra will be answering weekly questions from readers on any topic related to psychology & human behaviour. Questions can be […]

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Ask a Health Expert

Read Dr. Samra's weekly column in The Globe and Mail.
Ask a Health Expert column in The Globe and Mail