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Kathy Marshack News

The Danger Associated with Loneliness in Middle Age

Monday, June 25, 2012


Living alone or feeling lonely may have more dangers than we thought. New research is pointing to loneliness and isolation as a possible cause for premature death. The age group at the most risk? Middle age. Those living alone were more likely to die earlier of heart problems or stroke than those living with family or friends.

Psychological problems can lead to physical health problems like heart disease. If you live with someone, there is a greater chance of recognizing physical health problems. If you live alone, you might forget medication or even choose to ignore symptoms. Because of this research, doctors are being encouraged to ask patients about their living situation because it may give insight into their physical and emotional state. For more information on this research, read the article - Lonely? Your health may suffer

Of course there are many who live alone who are far from lonely. It’s possible to develop a warm social circle of friends and family members. On the other hand, you could live with someone and still be lonely! Whatever your circumstances, if you feel sad or lonely look for a mental health care professional in your area. Depression, anxiety, and stress are all issues that you can overcome with the aid of a professional. If you delay in taking action, it could have a negative impact on your health. Contact my office if you live in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area to make an appointment.

New Drugs in the Works for Treating Autism

Thursday, June 21, 2012


This week a deal is in the works between a Swiss pharmaceutical company, Roche, and Seaside Therapeutics. They are planning on developing treatments for Autism Spectrum Disorder and Fragile X Syndrome. Even though these disorders are different, they share similar symptoms. The anticipation for a drug to alleviate symptoms of ASD or Fragile X are high. Another company, Novartis, is also working on a similar drug. To learn more about these companies and their plans, read Competitors Form Partnership to Develop Autism Drug.

Time will tell if these types of treatments will prove to be effective or not. Whenever you are dealing with taking medication, it is always important to discuss it thoroughly with your doctor. Often times, medication can be abused or used incorrectly. Look for a mental health care professional who specializes in these types of developmental disorders. There are many therapy options that can work in conjunction with medication.

To learn more about these therapies, visit Asperger Syndrome Frequently Asked Questions and Psychotherapy Options.

Brain Injuries Causing Long-term Damage

Friday, June 08, 2012


In January, I wrote a blog discussing the dangers associated with playing sports like football and soccer. Dr. Daniel Amen, a well-known physician and psychiatrist, has been speaking out about these dangers for years. What is the reason? Head injuries related to contact sports can cause dementia, depression, memory loss, and encephalopathy.

This topic has been recently exposed in the NFL. There are now 2,000 players suing the NLF stating that they were not aware of the dangers and that they were deliberately hidden from them by the NFL. Ray Easterling, who played for the Atlanta Falcon's, committed suicide in April after years of suffering from dementia. His widow, Mary Ann, is holding the NFL responsible stating that they could have done more to protect her husband's health. This lawsuit is intended to change how the NFL handles this vital information. Those suing hope that it will help those who are in need of medical attention and make the game safer in the future. For more on this breaking news read 2,000 Players Unit in Suing NFL Over Head Injuries.

I also encourage you to view this interview with Dr. Daniel Amen – especially if you have kids playing sports. He speaks about concessions and their long-term effects on the brain.

Changing the Stigma Surrounding Mental Disorders and Illnesses

Thursday, June 07, 2012


Even with an increase in understanding, there is still a negative stigma surrounding mental disorders (Asperger Syndrome, ADHD) and illnesses (depression, OCD). Fear, discrimination, and rejection are some of the negative reactions that some have received because of their mental disorder/illness. Because of this, some fail to seek out treatment. Failure do so will only lead to serious consequences like substance abuse, failed marriages, suicide, or even jail.

How can this stigma be reduced? It is important to understand that these disorders/illness stem from the brain. The brain is a highly powerful organ in the body. As is true of any other organ, it doesn't always function properly. What would you do if you had heart disease? Wouldn't you immediately go to a heart specialist and get the right type of treatment and medication to help you heart? Should we view the brain in the same way?

Getting proper treatment is the big step to changing the stigma. Also, remind yourself that you are not the disorder or illness, it is just something you have. For example, if you had diabetes, do you run around introducing yourself as someone with diabetes? Of course not because it is just something you have, it is not who you are. The same should be for whatever your mental situation is. Don't allow it to define you. Yes, accept that it is a part of you, but do not let the idea of it change who you really are.

You are also not alone. Join a support group. You can now find a support group for just about anything. The more supported you feel, the more inclined you will feel to stick with your therapy and treatments. There may always be some stigma surrounding the mental health community, but it is changing. Don't let what others think change what you need to do to be a happier and mentally healthier person.

Contact my office if you live in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area if you would like to seek help for your mental disorder or illness.

The Best Therapy to Treat Procrastination

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Procrastination is the act of habitually putting things off to a later time or delaying taking action. Procrastination can have a serious impact on a person's life. Physical problems like stomach problems and insomnia are common. Procrastinators often times smoke and/or are heavy drinkers. There are also emotional side effects. Depression and procrastination can go hand in hand – they feed one another.

What are some of the reasons for procrastination?

  • Fear
  • Perfectionism
  • Desire for an adrenalin rush 
  • Lack of self-control
  • Skewed thinking that your performance will be better under pressure

The list could go on and on. If you are a procrastinator, no need to think that you are hopeless. By tackling your procrastination problems, you might just find that you will be a happier and less stressed individual. The best advice for a procrastinator would be to schedule therapy. That may sound extreme, but it works. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that would be highly beneficial. CBT addresses the way people think. Procrastination as mentioned earlier is stemming from some type of incorrect thinking and emotion. Reprogramming how you think and view tasks could change whether or not you will procrastinate. Addressing the core issue will help you and your therapist to identify what tools you need to change these unhealthy patterns.

To learn more about CBT or other therapy options, please visit Psychotherapy Options on my website. Stop your procrastination today!

A New Kind of Therapy - Tough Love

Friday, May 25, 2012


Have you ever been around a whiner? Do you like listening to the negative, persistent complaining? Probably not. This type of communication leaves both parties drained instead of refreshed. Whining has a tendency to be prevalent in therapy sessions. The client comes in week after week with the same old problems that they like to vent about. Because of this, many therapists are changing their approach from unconditional love to tough love.

What is the reason for this shift? Whining and complaining doesn't solve problems. Therapists see the need for their clients to be more solution-oriented. They are looking to answer the question: What is the root of the whining? What truly is the problem? If the client is not looking to problem solve, then some therapists may end therapy until the client is ready for change.

How to get a whiner to change? In the article How to Stop Whining: Therapists Try Tough Love by Elizabeth Bernstein there are some excellent suggestions. For example: Create a good rapport with the whiner. Use commendation before counseling. Set a specific limit on how long complaints are allowed. Ask questions to draw out the individual and look for a real problem. Help the individual look for a solution by asking what they plan to do about it.

There are many more ideas, so I highly recommend reading the article. Even if you are not a therapist, I am sure you know a whiner or two. This might give you some tips of how to handle them.

Are you looking for solution-oriented therapy? Contact my office to set up an appointment if you live in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area. Click here to learn about Psychotherapy Options.

A Link Between Depression and Dementia

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Depression can take a serious toll on a person's life. Not only will it impair daily living, but it can also put you at risk for long-term problems. The Archives of General Psychiatry published a study about how depression that strikes during middle age creates a greater risk for dementia in the future.

By studying 13,000 people during midlife (40's and 50's) to their 80's, those who did have symptoms of depression were 20% more likely to have dementia in old age. If they received a depression diagnosis later in life, they were at a 70% risk of dementia. Interestingly, timing played a role in the type of dementia. Depression diagnosed in midlife was linked to vascular dementia while later in life depression it’s linked to Alzheimer's. For more information on this fascinating study, read Depression in middle age linked to dementia.

It is still unknown if treatment for depression would change the likelihood of dementia. Regardless of the answer, depression should still be treated and the good news is that depression is treatable. To learn more about available treatment options, visit Overcoming Depression.

How to Decrease Memory Loss

Tuesday, May 08, 2012


Would you like to decrease memory loss? No doubt you would. Losing memory is sadly a product of aging, but studies show that there are two simple things you can do to lessen your odds of memory loss.

The Mayo Clinic released a study about how combining computer use and moderate exercise can lessen memory loss in older individuals. The key is to combine these two activities because you’re exercising both the mind and the body. Focusing on the 70 to 93 age group, the study showed that those who were not physically active and not active on the computer, 21.1% were cognitively normal while 37.6% showed signs of mild cognitive impairment. On the other hand, those who are moderately active and used the computer, 36% were normal and 18.3% had signs of mild cognitive impairment.

So, if you are interested in keeping your brain healthy, get active mentally and physically. It is important to note that being mentally active is not limited to computer use. Any activity that is mentally stimulating is beneficial for the brain. Choose physical and mental activities that you enjoy.

Take care of your brain. It is a valuable asset! For more information on the mind and body connection, visit Holistic Health.

Genetics and Environment Play a Part in Adoptive Child's Future

Monday, April 30, 2012


As a parent of adopted children, I am keenly interested in all issues facing adopted children and their parents. One issue that has recently surfaced is about the risk of drug abuse for adopted children. The Archives of General Psychiatry published a Swedish study about how genetics and environment are risk factors when it comes to addiction and adopted kids.

The study showed that adopted children are twice as likely to abuse drugs if they had a biological parent who also abused drugs. This is due to a genetic predisposition. However, environment can also play a part. If the environment that an adoptive child is raised in is a negative one with criminal activities, drug or substance abuse, or divorce, this also puts the child at greater risk for substance abuse in the future.

If you are parents with adopted children or are interested in adopting, you should look into your child's biological history. If you find out that addiction is in your child's history, be alert to possible signs that this could be a problem for your child. Take preemptive steps to ensure a positive and nurturing environment. This can greatly affect the child's future.

Being an adoptive parent is hard work, but the reward is great. Do not take your role as a parent lightly. Educate yourself by reading books, attending seminars, or speak to an adoption specialist. Even speaking a mental health care professional can be a valuable tool. For more information, visit Adoptive Families.

Addiction Rising Among Older Community

Monday, April 23, 2012


There is a misconception that drug addiction affects mostly young people in our society, but that is not the case. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that drug addiction is escalating in the older community. The number of older people using illegal drugs in a year doubled between 2002 and 2007. (Read Depression, Anxiety Ups Addiction Among Older Americans)

What are the some of the common reasons why older people are turning to drugs and alcohol? For some, it may be due to depression or anxiety. Depression or anxiety could stem from the many changes that occur during this time period. Retirement, economic struggles, health problems or the realization that old age in setting in can impact your outlook. Whatever the reason may be, drugs and alcohol are not the answer.

Addiction leads to many negative consequences. First off, it will never solve the problem, it will only aggravate it. It will also affect your physical health and emotional health. Relationships with family and friends are often strained and sometimes ruined.

If you find yourself struggling with addiction, speak to a doctor immediately. You will also want to see a therapist who deals with substance abuse. Identifying the root cause of your addiction will help lead you to recovery.

For more information visit Alcohol Recovery or contact my office to set up an appointment.


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