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Kathy Marshack News

Link Between PTSD and Dementia

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is the term applied to psychological and emotional problems that develop as the result of experiencing any serious, traumatic event. Recent studies are focusing attention on the long-term effects of PTSD and have found a link between PTSD and dementia.

The study focused on war veterans. Out of 180,000 veterans, 53,155 had been diagnosed with PTSD. Over a 7 year period, 17.2 percent developed dementia. The reason for the greater risk of dementia may be due to the chronic stress of PTSD. That type of stress could cause damage to an area of the brain which is critical for memory and/or affect the neurotransmitters. For more on this study, read the article PTSD Nearly Doubles Risk of Dementia.

You don't have to be a veteran to be affected by PTSD. If you feel like you do have PTSD, I highly recommend speaking to a mental health care professional. Without treatment, the problem intensifies over the years – causing greater and greater distress. Fortunately, PTSD is very responsive to a variety of psychotherapies. In individual therapy, the survivor can learn a new perspective on the past. With the gentle support of an experienced psychotherapist, you will find new and healthier ways to put old memories to rest. Please visit the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder page on my website for symptoms of PTSD and therapy recommendations. 

Can You Forgive Your Asperger Partner?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

In a relationship, forgiveness is one of the keys to success. When you are in a relationship with someone with Asperger Syndrome, whether they are a partner or family member, forgiveness is a struggle. Even though you may have a forgiving nature, somehow forgiving our AS adults may not feel healing. There is still something missing.

In May, I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Janis Abrahms Spring speak at the Oregon Psychological Association meeting. She brought up an interesting point about the issue of forgiveness stating that there cannot be genuine forgiveness in a relationship unless there is full cooperation of the "offending" party. You can come to some acceptance and that is healing for you but there is still that hole that can only be filled when both parties process the hurt.

Dr. Abrahms Spring wrote a fantastic book entitled, How Can I Forgive You? The Courage to Forgive and the Freedom to Not. I highly recommend reading it especially if forgiveness is an issue in your life.

On June 19th, our Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD, held in Portland, Oregon, will be discussing this very troubling concept of reclaiming our lives when there is no apology, no empathic request for forgiveness, no acceptance of our offers of apology and no connecting over the shared hurt. There are answers and in our group sharing we will discover them. Visit our Meetup page for more information.

New Study Finds Pesticides Linked to ADD

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Researchers at the University of Montreal recently found a link between ADD/ADHD and organophosphate pesticides. Organophosphate pesticides can be found on food with high levels of pesticides. Organophosphate poisoning can be detected by analyzing urine samples.

1139 children were tested for organophosphate and 94% came back with levels found in their urine. Out of the 1,139 children, 119 had previously been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. Having higher levels of organophosphate may increase chances of ADD.

Dr. Maryse F. Bouchard from Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Montreal commented on the study by stating, "It is very well established that organophosphates disrupt brain neurochemical activity. In particular, organophosphates disrupt the activity of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter also implicated in ADHD. In addition, certain organophosphates affect growth factors, several neurotransmitter systems, and second messenger systems. These changes in brain activity could well result in ADHD-like symptoms."

She also concluded, "This is the first study to link exposure to pesticides at levels common in the general population with adverse health effects. These findings should be replicated before strong conclusion can be made." To read more about this study, I recommend reading the article, Organophosphate Pesticides Linked to ADHD.

Learn more about ADD/ADHD, including practical tips on my website.

New CES Therapy Available to Stop Cigarette Cravings

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

“I can quit smoking anytime I choose." This is a common statement that you may hear, but it is easier said than done. Quitting cigarette smoking can be one of the most challenging things to overcome. Many experience severe cravings and withdrawal symptoms that can make it difficult to completely quit. The good news is that it is possible, and with a new treatment available, it could make it dramatically easier.

Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) is an electrical treatment that is being used to treat cigarette cravings. A small electrical stimulus is applied to the earlobe sending low frequency currents to the nerves in the brain. CES has been used to treat insomnia, anxiety, and depression, but recent studies show that it is also effective in treating addictions.

A study was performed between July 2006 and January 2008 using CES on 1,000 smokers with the hope that it would control the craving for cigarettes. Out of the 1,000, 972 (97.2%) lost their cravings after just a few minutes into a CES 20 minute session. Cravings will kick in again so many continued to use CES for a regular basis until they were able to conquer their addiction. Three patients out of the 1,000 were unable to use this form of therapy.

In order to use CES, you must have a prescription from a licensed practitioner. I have being using CES with some of my clients and have seen some great results. I use Alpha Stem's CES from Allevia Health. For more information, visit

I am very excited about continuing this process with my clients to help them conquer their addiction to cigarettes. If you live in the Portland, OR or Vancouver, WA area, please contact my office if you are interested in finding out more about CES. I also have additional information on how to stop smoking on my website.

Entrepreneurs Find Time To Vacation With Family

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Summer is just around the corner. Have you planned your family’s vacation yet? Maybe you think you’re too busy. One solution is to take a look at ways to integrate your business trip with the family vacation.

It is important to raise children who have a sense of belonging to a family with parents who are professionals. The children see the work as part of who their parents are ... and they are part of it too. Integrating a family/business vacation is much easier now with the help of hotels and resorts who cater to business travelers who wish to bring their children with them. While Mom and Dad are at their business meetings, or downloading their e-mail, the children are able to participate in events sponsored and supervised by hotel staff.

However, there is a potential problem. Workaholics may never learn how to leave work. Combining work and play as I have described above is one alternative, but another is to plan vacations without work in mind at all. Pure family fun is vital for recharging the entire family.

As a family who also happens to be in business together, you have the sophisticated task of integrating the needs of family and the needs of business. If your spouse and your children feel a part of your work, they are in a better position to help with business growth, even if only as interested stakeholders. And if you are willing to take time from your busy schedule to play with your children and family, even at a business conference or trade show, you are sending a very important message. That is, no matter how important the business, no matter how you wish the business to succeed, what’s the point if you cannot share your successes with the ones you love?

Don’t Give Up When Conquering Anxiety

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Have you experienced excessive anxiety and worry about your daily activities, such as work or school performance? Does your anxiety or worry interfere with your normal routine, job performance, social activities, or relationships? If so you may be one of the 19 million American adults suffering from an anxiety disorder. These disorders fill people's lives with overwhelming anxiety and fear. Unlike the relatively mild, brief anxiety caused by a stressful event such as a business presentation or a first date, anxiety disorders are chronic, relentless, and can grow progressively worse if not treated.

Seeking professional help from a mental health care professional is key to overcoming anxiety disorders. A psychologist will help you learn how to deal with your anxiety. Psychologists often work closely with a psychiatrist or other physician, who will prescribe medications when they are required. When you find a health care professional the two of you are working together as a team. Together you will develop a plan to treat your anxiety disorder.

In addition to therapy, here are a few tips to help you minimize the effect of anxiety:
  • Eat a well balanced diet. Avoid sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco.
  • Practice deep breathing techniques
  • Exercise
  • Keep an anxiety log to help you identify things that trigger anxiety
  • Find time to relax and recreate

Visit Coping with Anxiety on my website for additional information. It is important to give any treatment a fair trial. And if one approach doesn't work, the odds are that another one will, so don't give up.

Does Spring have a Dark Side?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Spring fever – it’s not just a myth. Scientists have found that many biological and behavioral processes follow seasonal cycles. During spring, people generally feel more energetic, enthusiastic and amorous, while at the same time listless and restless. However, there can be a dark side to spring fever. This season brings with it an increase in insomnia, vehicle accidents, criminal activity and suicide. For those who suffer from wintertime depression, they can become more energetic and impulsive in the spring, which can lead to poor judgment.

So why do we feel different in the spring? Scientists say it has more to do with increased daylight than warmer weather. Our bodies are producing less melatonin, which means an increase in sex drive, enthusiasm and confidence. In addition to light, our senses are bombarded with fragrant aromas, soft winds and beautiful flowers.

Become aware of how the changing seasons affect you personally. Take your time easing into spring. Try to keep a regular routine of exercise and drink lots of water. It will help you make a smoother transition so you can enjoy “spring fever.”

Historic 1908 Train Crossing Closes Soon for Quiet Zone in Vancouver WA

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF) recently announced the closure of the historic train crossing in East Vancouver near 144th Ct and SE Evergreen Highway. This stretch of track was installed in 1908 by the first train company in Washington, eventually named Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway or S P & S. It represented a joint venture by the Great Northern Railway and the Northern Pacific Railway to build a railroad along the north bank of the Columbia River.

The history of this location actually goes in several interesting directions. Psychologist and local historian, Kathy J. Marshack, Ph.D., says, “This crossing was granted to my predecessors for selling a strip of land for the train for $800.” After some extensive research, Dr. Marshack actually found the deed recording this transaction.

At the time, the crossing was necessary because the “new” train cut off the old road, the Columbia City to Cascade City Road (CCCC). The CCCC was opened in 1852 and was the first road commissioned by the brand new Clarke County Commissioners. In fact the road is probably the oldest in the Oregon Territory, since it was originally built by the Hudson’s Bay Co. to get to their saw mill and grist mill. It was built in 1826 and was called the Mill Road. Silas Maxon and his brother extended the road in the 1850s from Columbia City (Vancouver) to Camas.

The train crossing was also necessary in 1908 because the CCCC led to a steamboat landing on the Columbia River which is even older than the road and train. Farmers used that steamboat landing well into the 20th century because it was essential to get their crops to market. Dr. Marshack found an article in the Columbian, from 1980, that interviewed an elderly woman talking of the days when she took the steamboat from the landing behind Dr. Marshack’s home.

Dr. Marshack has done extensive research on this area of East Vancouver along the Columbia River. She is available for interview by contacting her office at 360-256-0448 or via email at

How Family Businesses Benefit from Working with a Psychologist

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Maintaining a delicate balance between business and family is absolutely necessary when running a family business. This is not an easy thing to do. There are differences in work ethics and personalities, along with different strengths and weaknesses. When problems arise at work, it is not only going to affect the business, but also the family arrangement. If you are part of a family business, you may want to consider working with a psychologist who specializes in family businesses.

A family business psychologist works to understand the “soft side” of families who work together. They help the family members to recognize interpersonal problems that will affect the business and the family. I’ve been working as a family business psychologist for a number of years and have seen firsthand the benefits of this approach.

I had the pleasure of working with Camille Eber who is a second generation owner of Roth & Miller Autobody Inc. in Portland. Camille recently wrote an article entitled, "Working with family member is a blessing, challenge" about her personal struggles working with family. She had difficulty getting along with her nephew, William, who is currently the operations manager. They decided to make an appointment with me to help improve their relationship.

Here is what she said about their therapy sessions, "Dr. Marshack, author of "Entrepreneurial Couples: Making it Work at Work and at Home," helped us set individual and business goals and define our responsibilities within the business more carefully, which is a key to success in a family business. The personality testing we worked through was particularly eye-opening. Once my nephew and I acknowledged we're nearly polar opposites, it helped us realize better how we could use that to benefit the business. We were able to return to work on the business as a team rather than working against each other." Click here to read the rest of the article.

If you are experiencing challenges within your family business, I highly recommend making an appointment with a family business psychologist. Like Camille's experience, you will be able to better understand yourself and one another which will help make your business and your family a success.

When Being Shy Becomes a Problem

Friday, April 30, 2010

When a study was done to find out what people feared the most, public speaking ranked number one, even higher than death! It not only is feared the most, but is one of the most prevalent and common fears that people experience. Until recently, it was dismissed as a minor problem and was considered normal that people would get nervous speaking in front of others. But recent research shows that people who do experience this problem and find it debilitating and controlling their life have a valid problem.

Symptoms such as heart palpitations, sweating, shaking, dizziness, blushing, shortness of breath, choking, one's mind going blank, etc., can be typical responses to being in the spotlight. However, if you find yourself worrying too much about what others think of you, and fear embarrassment or humiliation in front of others to the extent that you avoid situations where you are the center of attention, you may have social phobia.

Learn more about social phobias and treatment options in a self-help tip on my website.

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