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Kathy Marshack News

How To Combat Depression and Anxiety with Adult ADHD

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Adults with ADHD are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. It is hard enough dealing with one disorder, so when a person is suffering from two disorders, it is frustrating to say the least. The medical field refers to this as comorbidity or two disorders occurring at the same time. Therapy and medication are the most effective ways to treat ADHD and depression. In addition, lifestyle changes are highly recommended.

Here are some practical suggestions to help lesson symptoms of ADHD and depression in an adult:

Get a good night’s rest. Sleep is vital. Without adequate sleep, you mind and body suffer and whatever you may be dealing with will only be aggravated. A few tips to help you get a good rest: Go to bed at the same time every night. Do something truly relaxing before bed like take a bath or practice breathing techniques. Avoid eating right before bed.

Daily exercise. Exercise has long been known to help improve moods due to the release of endorphins. Exercise is also a productive way to release stress and frustration. Find time daily to exercise even if it is just for a few minutes. Since we are in the winter season, click here for some tips on how to exercise during this time of year. Getting outside as much as possible is good for everyone!

Eat a healthy diet. A diet low in sugar and fat and high in protein, fruit, and vegetables is recommended. Balance is necessary. It is better to have a healthy diet that can be maintained than a crash diet with highs and lows.

If you recognize that you are in need of making some lifestyle changes to help improve your ADHD and depression, start by setting small reasonable goals. Also, be patient as you implement them. If you need further assistance, speak to your doctor or therapist.

Summer Program for Teens with Learning Disabilities

Thursday, December 08, 2011


To parents with high school students who have Asperger's, High-Functioning Autism, PDD-NOS, ADD, NLD, Dyslexia, and other learning differences, College Internship Program (CIP) has an exciting offer for you. CIP is offering a program to help your teen transition from high school to college with a 2012 summer program.

Making that transition for a teen with learning disabilities can be incredibly challenging. To assist with this challenge, CIP has specifically designed this program. The curriculum includes:


• Roommate Rules: Written and Unwritten
• Navigating a college campus
• Social dining, chit chat and eating rules
• Self-advocacy and disclosure
• Self-initiation
• Making plans with friends and planning leisure activities
• College 101

• Dealing with being away from home

In addition to the above, every day will begin with using ice breakers, idioms, and a discussion of expected versus unexpected behaviors. Six different dates and locations are being offered. This is a wonderful opportunity. I highly recommend looking into it for your teen. They are now accepting applications. Click here for more information.

New Research on How to Treat Autistic Children with ADHD

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Children with autism have many challenges to overcome in the course of their life. But what if autism is compounded with ADHD? It would make life even more challenging – especially if it goes undiagnosed. That’s why it’s important for doctors, educators and parents of autistic children to be aware that someone with autism may also have symptoms of ADHD.

Researchers from Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and Oregon Health Sciences University collected data from Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network's Registry and found that out of 2,000 autistic children and adolescents over 50% exhibited symptoms of ADD or ADHD. They also concluded that over a third exhibited severe symptoms. However, only 10% were taking medication that could be used to treat ADHD.

Children with autism and ADHD may benefit by taking medication for their ADHD symptoms. With their ADHD under control, they can then focus on tackling the affects of autism. It is important to note that medication is not a cure for ADHD. It can help to control the symptoms, but more is needed. Emotional therapy, behavioral counseling, and practical support should be combined with medication if the doctor deems it appropriate.

For more information on ADHD and recommended therapy, visit Parenting a Child with ADD.

ADHD and Business: Friend or Foe?

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Living with ADHD has been compared to living in a kaleidoscope, where thoughts, sounds, and images are constantly shifting in the brain. You may bore easily yet you struggle to keep your attention focused on anything for a long period of time. Distraction becomes a constant companion. Yet in the midst of all the brain chaos, pure brilliance and creativity usher forth and can make a person with ADHD a true success story.

SmartMoney Magazine recently published an article about entrepreneurs with ADHD entitled, "ADHD: Why Some Entrepreneurs Call ADHD a Superpower." Surprisingly, ADHD is common among successful entrepreneurs. Some even refer to it as their "superpower." The article highlights three successful entrepreneurs. They share their thoughts on ADHD and their business, their struggles as well as their strengths. They also share some of their tips for harnessing the negative aspects of ADHD.

SmartMoney contacted me for my expertise on ADHD and you will see a quote from me in the article. I have been working with many ADHD clients over the years and one of my suggestions for entrepreneurs with ADHD is to hire a personal assistant. Since someone with ADHD rarely recognizes the fine details, a personal assistant can fill in the missing blanks.

Whether you are old or young and have ADHD, I also recommend seeking psychotherapy. By working with a qualified therapist, you will be able to identify and build up your strengths as well as learn to control aggression or frustration that often comes with ADHD.

For more information visit Adult ADD/ADHD on my website.

How to Pick a Therapist for Your Child

Tuesday, August 02, 2011


Most parents would love to create an ideal world for their child to live in. But the reality is that more and more children are in need of mental health care. There are many reasons why a child might need therapy – divorce, abuse, loss of a loved one, learning disabilities, bullying just to name a few.

When a parent recognizes that their child needs help, the parent has two options. Sweep it under the rug like it doesn't exist or take action. The correct choice is option two. Many parents choose option one and live in denial which will only lead to more problems in the future. Because these issues will reappear – often later in life when it’s not only more difficult to address but more damage has been done. If your child needs help you may need to relinquish control and accept some professional help!

If you do decide to seek professional help for your child, then the next step is to find the right therapist for your child. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when making that choice:

- Gather information. Take note of why you feel like your child needs help. What are his/her symptoms? How long have these symptoms been in existence? When gathering this information, talk to your child's teachers, school counselor, pediatrician, and any other caregiver who can give you insight into what is going on in your child's life. The more you know, the more you will be able to communicate to the professional you choose.

- Ask for referrals. The pediatrician, school counselor, or any other close friend/confidant might be able to point you in a good direction.

- Research licenses and credentials. Once you have list of therapists, research them. Make sure they are licensed to practice! I cannot stress that enough. There are people who call themselves child therapists without the proper credentials. So, do your homework before making an appointment.

- Approach and experience. Before sending your child off to therapy, find out the style and approach of the therapist. How long have they been working with children? What type of methodology do they use? What type of treatments do they offer? What do they specialize in? What is their availability? What can be expected relationship between parent and therapist?

- Insurance, price, & fees. Check with your insurance to see what options they provide for child therapy. When making an appointment with the therapist ask about prices, fees, payments plans, and cancellation policy.

- Communicate. It is very important for the parent to be involved with the therapist and the treatments. So work to build a good rapport and be available to assist them in any way necessary. Also, communicate with your child. Do they feel comfortable with the therapist? If you sense that the relationship is not working, then don't be afraid to make a change.

Taking care of your child's emotional needs are just as important as taking care of their physical needs. You are not a failure of parent if you enlist the help of a mental health care professional. It is actually a sign of true love and concern for the welfare of your child.

If you live in Vancouver, Washington or Portland, Oregon and are looking for a therapist to work with your child visit Therapy FAQ.

How to Build Self-Esteem in a Child with ADHD

Friday, May 06, 2011


ADHD often goes hand in hand with low self-esteem and depression. These negative emotions can start at a very young age. It may stem from feeling different from their peers, the inability to get the same results as others, and/or receiving extra criticism. As parents, it’s important to instill confidence in your ADHD child early on. Taking this extra effort is well worth your time and energy. If not, there can be serious consequences in the future.

Here are a few tips to help build the self-esteem in a child with ADHD:

·Positive reinforcement. In the past, I spoke about the benefits of positive reinforcement when it comes to autistic children, but the same principles apply to children with ADHD. Instead of focusing on the negative, focus on the positive. Look for the good behavior and the good qualities that they are exhibiting and be quick to commend them. When giving commendation, be specific. Explain what they did that you liked and why you liked it. The goal is to help them to make the connection that their good behavior equals positive reinforcement.

·Encourage their strengths. What is your child good at? Are they artistic? Musical? Athletic? Take note of what they excel at and encourage them to pursue those strengths. When they are feeling down about not excelling in an area, remind them that every person has strengths and weaknesses, and then remind them of their "special" skills or strengths. Get their teacher involved in this. They can exert a powerful influence for the good over your child.

·Use rewards. Rewards can be a tool that you can use to help your child build confidence. The reward does not need to be something grand, but it should be something that is meaningful to the child. Explain how they can earn the reward. Then make it "visual" by perhaps putting together a chart that tracks their progress and then posting it in their room or on the refrigerator. They will be able to see their progress. Plus it helps them to set goals and see that they can reach them.

·Do not compare them to others. A child is an individual and every individual is different. Comparing a child to another will simply guarantee that their confidence and self-esteem will drop. Avoid making careless comparisons. Instill in your child your love for them and tell them what makes them special to you.

·Therapy. Therapy can help a child feel better about themselves. A therapist can help a child to recognize that their disorder does not reflect who they really are. Over time the therapist can help children with ADHD identify and build on their strengths as well as help parents to learn how to do this more effectively.

Continue to encourage your child. Express your love for them. It may not always be easy to raise a child with ADHD, but by applying these few suggestions, your child will be more equipped to handle their future with confidence.

For more information, visit Parenting a Child with ADD/ADHD. If you live in Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, Washington to set up an appointment for Adult or Child ADHD counseling, contact my office.

Are You a Survivor of Survivors?

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


How do you describe a person who has been traumatized by another person's trauma? I would describe them as a "survivor of survivors." Whether it is from PTSD, alcoholism, Asperger Syndrome, or something else, the actions of that person will affect their loved ones, sparking a cycle of re-traumatization. This type of cycle is vicious and harmful to say the least.

It's hard to explain why a person will feel traumatized by the behavior of another person, but those feelings are very real and should not be minimized. If those feelings are not addressed, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem will set in.

The key is to try and stop the cycle so no one else turns into a survivor of survivors. For the cycle to stop, both parties must seek professional help. There are a variety of effective therapies now available. In addition to therapy, joining a support group is an excellent way to gain comfort and strength from those in a similar situation.

If you have a family member with Asperger Syndrome and live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, I invite you to join Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD. On March 19, 2011, we will be discussing "Are You a Survivor of Survivors?" and exploring this topic in detail.

If your loved one is suffering from another type of trauma or disorder, please contact my office for more information. Do not delay in stopping the cycle!

High Risk of Substance Abuse for Children with ADHD

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Twenty seven long-term studies show a connection between ADHD and substance abuse. Research shows that someone with ADHD is two to three times more likely to suffer from some type of substance abuse than someone without the disorder. Gender and ethnicity did not change the results. (For more on this study, read ADHD Linked to Higher Risk of Substance Abuse.)

This type of research should move parents to pay close attention to the development of their children. If you suspect that your child may have the disorder, it is vital that you take appropriate action and schedule an evaluation. A diagnosis can be made by gathering information from a variety of sources. In the case of a child this is done through a detailed, structured interview with the parents. Behavior rating scales are filled out by parents and teachers to provide information on types and severity of ADD or ADHD symptoms, as well as types and severity of other emotional or behavior problems.

Once a diagnosis has been made, then appropriate treatment can be administered. Therapy is highly recommended for childhood ADHD. In individual counseling, a therapist can help the child learn to feel better about themselves. They do this by helping them recognize that having a disability does not reflect who they are as a person. Over time the therapist can help people with ADD identify and build on their strengths, cope with daily problems, and learn to control their attention and aggression. Taking these proactive steps are vital and will hopefully protect your child from taking the path of substance abuse.

For more information, visit Parenting a Child with ADD.

Stress-Free Travel Tips with your ADD Child

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Many families travel during the holiday season. Traveling with a child is a challenge, but traveling with a child with ADD/ADHD takes it to an entirely different level. The good news is that as a parent, you can prepare yourself and your child for the journey. Here are a few helpful tips to make your travel experience a smooth one:

1. Prepare in advance. Spontaneity and ADHD do not go hand in hand. Structure always works best. So, prepare your child for the trip in advance. Explain to them what they will experience on the trip, what the schedule/routine will be like etc. This way you will not throw them any unexpected curb balls.

2. Include them in the planning. Ask your child what they would like to do on the trip. Do they have any particular interests? Can you include their interests in the itinerary?

3. Stick to a schedule. Try your best to stick to a similar eating and sleeping schedule that your child is comfortable with. I know it is hard to do that when on vacation, but the closer you stick to it, the easier it will be on your child and on you. It make require extra planning on your part. For instance, bring snacks along so if you can't get a meal in at the regular time, you have something that your child can eat. If you know you will have a late night, try to squeeze in time to rest.

4. Set the rules. Explain to your child what the rules are before you leave! This way they will understand what is expected of them and it will be easier for them to follow. Establish consequences if the rules are not followed. On the flip side, if they follow the rules, be sure to commend or reward them. Positive reinforcement works brilliantly!

With a little forethought and planning, you and your child may actually enjoy the journey! For on information, visit Parenting a Child with ADD.

If you are planning a trip with an autistic family member click here for travel tips.

Depression is Common with Adult ADHD

Sunday, August 29, 2010


If you have been diagnosed with Adult ADHD, studies show you are more likely to also suffer from depression than adults without ADHD. Depression could be rooted in a variety of different factors, but sometimes it’s because you are frustrated by living with ADHD. Someone may slip into depression because they have just recently been diagnosed or maybe they are tired of being perceived as lazy, flighty, or unsuccessful. Regardless of the reasons, depression can hit very hard.

It is important if you have Adult ADHD that you get proper therapy with or without symptoms of depression. Psychotherapy is especially helpful for people with ADHD who also deal with depression and anxiety. It can also help adults deal with the frustration and anger they feel because their ADHD was never addressed in childhood. In addition, psychotherapists can help improve social skills and the ability to deal with ADHD-unfriendly situations. A specific type of psychotherapy is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which has proven to be highly beneficial.

In addition to your psychotherapy treatments, you can also try meditation, exercise, or a hobby when you are feeling depressed. Remember that both ADHD and depression are treatable. Visit my website for more information about Adult ADHD and Depression.


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