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Kathy Marshack News

Attention Busy Women: Are You Addicted to Stress?

Monday, May 16, 2011

The idea of being addicted to stress may sound ridiculous, but it's true. Many Americans, specifically women, are in fact addicted to stress. The American Psychological Association says that more than half of women say they are stressed out. That is an increase of 25% in just 4 years! Stress is a very normal emotion, but it is not normal or healthy to be addicted to stress.

Why are so many women addicted to stress? For one thing, stress may equate a sense of success. They may feel like they have to work just as hard and as long as everyone else to stay ahead of the game. "Everyone else who is successful is stressed." Without realizing it, they have become victim to negative peer pressure.

Once the stress starts this vicious cycle, it is hard to stop. Stress can stimulate the production of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. That surge of hormones becomes addictive and in order to get that feeling, you need stress.

What are the consequences of stress? Stress can affect your emotional state. Depression, anxiety disorders are usually accompanied with acute stress. There are also many physical consequences such as tension headaches, gastrointestinal problems, insomnia, weight gain or weight loss, and also an increased risk of heart problems, stroke, and susceptibility to infections.

If you think that you have become addicted to stress, seek help. Like any other type of addiction, you can overcome it. For specific tips, visit Managing Stress on my website. Do not hesitate to take the proper steps to start leading a healthier and happier life.

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 an Emotional Eater?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

How do you deal with stress? A common solution for many is to EAT. This is what we call "emotional eating" or using food to soothe negative emotions. Emotional eaters usually turn to food that are high in fat, sugar, and calories.

There are many of situations that can trigger emotional eating. Work, family problems, financial stress, and health problems are common culprits. Emotional eating can be done consciously or unconsciously, but regardless it is habit forming and can cause serious health problems. Emotional eating can damage any weight-loss plans. It also creates an unhealthy cycle of eating (bingeing) and then heavy guilt because of overeating or eating unhealthy foods. Emotional eating is just a temporary fix for the cause of stress – it’s never a solution!

How can you overcome emotional eating? Here are some tips:

· Keep a record. It is important to identify what you eat when you feel a certain way. Start a food log and record what you are eating, when you decide to eat, and how you feel before and after you eat. By keeping an accurate record, you will be able to identify patterns and triggers. The key is to look for what emotion(s) are causing you to eat.

· Think before you eat. Once you have been able to identify you emotional eating triggers, use this information for the next time you feel that emotion. Ask yourself, "Do I want to eat because I feel ______? Am I really hungry or just looking to relieve stress? Why do I want to eat _______?

· Find a new way to reduce stress. Since emotional eating is an unhealthy way to reduce stress, it is now time to find a healthy way. Exercise, relaxation breathing, journaling, talking to a close friend, taking a hot bath, getting a massage, or reading a book are all healthy and simple ways to manage stress.

· Purge your home of unhealthy foods. It is easy to binge on ice cream, pizza, and chips when it’s within your grasp. If you want to stop emotional eating, remove any food items that you are drawn to when you are stressed. Instead, fill your refrigerator and pantry with healthy snacks like nuts, fruit, veggies, and yogurt.

· Therapy. If you cannot seem to get a grip on your emotional eating, then it is time to seek help from a mental health care professional. They will be equipped to help you identify your triggers and give you proper coping techniques. They will also be able to help you cope with the root cause of your emotional eating.

The cycle of emotional eating can be broken. By gaining on control over emotional eating, you will feel in control and have a healthier life.

If you would like help in dealing with emotional eating and live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, please contact my office to set up an appointment.

Are You in a Codependent Relationship?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Are you in a codependent relationship? Codependency is the act of sacrificing oneself for the sake of another’s addiction. It is an attitude, a style of living. People become codependent when they consistently allow their own needs and rights to become secondary to another’s needs and rights. This type of relationship can be harmful and its effects can be devastating.

You can identify if you are in a codependent relationship by looking for specific symptoms. Here are some symptoms to lookout for:

· Are you tired and depressed all the time?

· Does it seem you can’t do enough to please your partner, father, girlfriend?

· Are you the only one who cares if things get better?

· Are you getting more and more headaches, backaches, stomach aches?

· Are you sacrificing your good reputation to help someone who doesn’t give back?

· Feel unappreciated?

· Are you relying on food, shopping, alcohol or other drugs to give you a lift?

To break this devastating cycle, it is important for the codependent to recognize that you count just as much as the person you are protecting. Why are your rights as a person or your health less important than theirs? Secondly, by breaking the cycle of codependence, you are giving back, to the addict, responsibility for their behavior. The first step toward your recover and theirs, is accepting responsibility for your own behavior and your own live. After all, how can they get better if you do it for them?

Breaking codependency is extremely difficult to do without help and regular support from others. Psychotherapy, or marital therapy are necessary. You may want to call self-help groups, such as Al-Anon or Codependents Anonymous, both listed in your local directory. If you live in Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, WA, please contact my office for an appointment.

For more information, visit Marriage Counseling - Breaking the Cycle of Codependency.

Lessons Learned From Catherine-Zeta Jones

Saturday, April 16, 2011

This week actress, wife, and mother, Catherine Zeta-Jones came forward and told the world that she suffers from Bipolar II disorder. Bipolar is also known as manic depression. Someone with bipolar experiences varying degrees of high energy or euphoria know as "mania" combined with episodes of deep low depression and sadness. This range of emotion can be experienced daily, yearly, or even at the same time. Bipolar has been categorized as Bipolar I and Bipolar II. The basic difference between the two is that Bipolar I is a more extreme form.

Some with Bipolar describe their life as a roller coaster ride. Because of the extreme range in moods, it can be a particularly challenging lifestyle making it difficult to ever feel "normal." Genetics, environment, and neurochemicals in the brain are considered to be possible factors for Bipolar. It has been described as a biological disorder, affecting the neurotransmitters in the brain.

I appreciate the courage of Catherine Zeta-Jones to share this very private and personal information. Even though you may have a “diagnosis”, you can still be a strong, successful human being. There is no shame is experiencing a disorder like this...It is not your fault. The other lesson learned from Catherine Zeta-Jones is the importance of seeking professional help. There are so many options now available to treat depression.

If you live in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area and are looking for Bipolar Therapy, please contact my office to set up an appointment. For more information, visit Overcoming Depression.

How to Help Children with Depressed Parents

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

If you are a parent and suffer from depression, it is important to recognize that your child will notice. Children are very sensitive and can pick up on the changes within the home even if they have not been verbally addressed. If they do not understand what is going on, they will often times experience stress, anxiety, or even act out with tantrums or other behavioral problems.

If you are a parent and are suffering from depression, the first thing you need to do for yourself and for your child is to seek immediate help. Do not delay! The longer you wait to get proper help, the bigger the problem will get for you and your child. Depression is treatable.

The second step is to explain the situation to your child. You do not have to go into great details or share your personal experience with them. That would only be damaging to them. Ask a mental health professional for suggestions on how to go about having this discussion with your child. In the course of your conversation with them, explain to them that the way you feel is NOT their fault. Children tend to blame themselves, thinking that maybe they did something to make their parent feel that way. Reassure them that this is not true.

Regularly tell your child how much you love them. Those 3 words are incredibly powerful and will help your child get through this difficult time.

Encourage your child to talk about how they feel. They may struggle talking to you about it because they may feel that you will take it personally. Help them to find a safe person that they can share their feelings with. It could be your spouse, a relative, a school counselor, or doctor. Depending on the situation, they may need professional help to cope. Do not be ashamed to get your child the proper care. You are not a failure if you do so. You are actually do the best thing a parent can do.

If you have depression, you may not feel that you are setting a good example as a parent, but if you take these steps, you are! You are teaching your child to not be afraid of their feelings, to speak out, and to seek help. Be assured that over time, both you and your child will be able to overcome your depression!

For more information, visit Overcoming Depression.

Parents and Teens - Be Alert to the Dangers of Sexting

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Is your teenager always texting? Then you need to have an important conversation with them. "Sexting" is a term to describe the action of sending sexually explicit messages or photographs through an electronic device. Sexting has become increasingly popular between teenagers. According to A Thin Line 2009 AP-MTV Digital Abuse Study, "3 out of 10 young people have been involved in some type of naked sexting."

You may be asking, what is the danger behind sexting? For one thing, sexting damages lives. The New York Times had a recent cover story, A Girl's Nude Photo, Lives Alter. The article discusses a sexting incident in Lacey, Washington. A young girl sends a naked photo to her boyfriend and before you know it, the photo goes viral. . . possibly thousands viewed the photo. The effects of this incident were damaging indeed. The teens that were involved as well their family and friends are forever impacted. Shame, embarrassment, pain, for a simple action that now can never be erased. I recommend that all parents and teenagers read that article!

The other danger behind texting is legal troubles. In Washington State and Oregon, sexting may result in state felony charges including dissemination of child pornography. The act of sexting is not illegal, but it becomes a legal issue when the photographer, recipient of the text or distributor is under the age of 18. That is when child pornography charges can come into play.

Sexting is not to be taken lightly! Parents, talk to your children about this very real issue. Explain to them the dangers that are involved. If a teen has gotten involved in sexting, they may need counseling to help them deal with the effects. If so, seek the assistance of a mental health care professional.

Visit Am I a Good Parent for 5 key areas to master to be a good parent. These steps will help you deal with many challenges that may arise when you’re a parent.

New Study Includes Interesting Tip for Insomniacs – Get Out of Bed!

Friday, March 11, 2011

In a previous blog, I spoke about the recent trend in sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation, also known as insomnia, is of serious concern due to the long-term effects it can have on a person's physical and emotional health.

A study performed by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine came to an interesting conclusion for those with insomnia. Their conclusion was to spend less time in bed. When someone has insomnia, they begin to associate the disorder with their bed. They lie awake for hours struggling to fall asleep which ends up upping their stress level. The key is if you are not falling asleep, get out of bed and try an activity that will help you relax your body and mind.

Establishing a healthy sleep routine and learning specific relaxation techniques will also be beneficial for those with insomnia. I recommend scheduling an appointment with a mental health care professional. They can help you establish a good routine and teach you the right techniques for your sleep deprivation issues. Most importantly, often times they help you identify the root cause of what’s keeping you awake at night. If you live in the Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, Washington area contact my office for more information.

Scleroderma Foundation's 10 Annual Seminar – Discussing Chronic Pain

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Our mind and our body are in constant communication. What the mind thinks, perceives, and experiences is sent from the brain to the rest of the body. And vice versa – our bodies are sending messages to the brain. When your body experiences chronic pain, that pain will affect your mind and the way you think.

On March 12, 2011, I will be a speaker at the Oregon Chapter of the Scleroderma Foundation's 10th Annual Cheri Woo Education Seminar. I will be discussing "How Chronic Pain Changes Your Thinking...And How Your Thinking Can Change Your Chronic Pain."

This seminar is free and is open to the public. If you live in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area, I encourage you to come. I will be speaking at 12:45 pm. The last 15 minutes will be Question and Answer from the audience. This is a wonderful foundation and I hope that as many as possible will be available to attend. For more information on chronic pain, visit Holistic Health or contact my office.

Depression Is Not Your Fault

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Depression is a real and very serious disease that affects millions. There are many reasons why someone may suffer from depression, but it is important to note that if you have depression it is not your fault. Many tend to think that it is their fault and because of that they are embarrassed and sometimes even shy away from getting proper help.

I wanted to share with you some of the often underlying reasons why someone may have depression. Here are some factors to consider:

1. Gender. Women, regardless of nationality or socioeconomic level, have higher rates of depression than men. This may be in part due to hormonal changes often experienced during the days before menstruation, the postpartum period after delivering a baby, and around menopause. Women are also affected by the difference in their social status from men.

2. Social and economic considerations. Being in a low socioeconomic group is a major risk factor for depression. However, people of all income levels are likely to be depressed if they have poor health and are socially isolated.

3. Severe or chronic medical conditions. Depression follows or is caused by many medications or serious medical problems.

4. Emotional and personality disorders. Chronic depression is a frequent companion to anxiety disorders. Personality disorders, such as borderline and avoidant personalities, appear to strongly predispose people to depression.

5. Substance abuse and addictions. It is estimated that 25% of people with substance abuse problems also have major depression. Internet addiction is a recent phenomenon that may a pose risk for depression as well.

6. Sleep disorders. A study of male medical students found that young men who experience insomnia are twice as likely to suffer from depression at middle age.

7. Family history. A family history of mental illness, especially mood disorders, appears to predispose a patient to the development of depression. Often a combination of genetic, biologic, and environmental factors are at work. Children of depressed parents are at a higher risk for depression and other emotional disorders.

If you or someone you know has depression, seek help. Depression is a disease that can be treated effectively. Click here for more information and depression and available treatments.

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