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Kathy Marshack News

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.

The Power of Perception in Your Life

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Have you heard of the power of perception? The power of perception can shape the course of your life for the good or for the bad. A perception is formed when information enters the brain by means of the five senses. That information is then processed and put into action. Different people form different responses based on the same data due to interpretations. Interpretations are formed by previous experience. Our experiences then shape our perceptions.

Changing your perceptions can have a powerful effect on your life. One way to do this to imagine . . . Imagine the outcome that you want in every situation. This requires creativity which is not a gift that comes naturally to all, but it can be developed with practice. If the outcome is different then what you imagined, you have the power to adjust your response. Adjusting perceptions and the good results that can come about can be likened to the placebo effect.

Beau Lotto, artist and neuroscientist, says the first step to changing perceptions comes from awareness. He says, "You must see yourself see. It's about observation and curiosity, having a sense of wonder, becoming aware of the connection between the past and the present. Becoming an observer of yourself enables you to do amazing things." For more information on the power of perception, I recommend the article, The Power of Perceptions: Imagining the Reality You Want on

If you would like to learn how to change your perceptions, set up an appointment with a mental health care professional. Contact my office for an appointment if you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area.

For more information, visit Holistic Health.

A Fight for the Right Kind of Healthcare

Monday, April 09, 2012

Healthcare is of major concern, not just to healthcare providers, but to all American citizens. While we are awaiting methods to extend health care to all Americans, perhaps there is something we can do. Instead of just waiting on insurance plans to pay doctors and hospitals, could we perhaps research healthcare that works? Many government agencies and health care organizations are willing to go to great lengths to get the right kind of care that patients need.

An example of this is a medical doctor and biochemist, Dr. Stanley Burzynski. In the 1970's, Dr. Buzynski developed gene-targeted cancer medicines called Antineoplastons. After enduring a 14 year legal battle, Dr. Buzynski finally obtained FDA clinically approved trials of Antineoplastons. It was a vicious and difficult road for Dr. Buzynski and his patients. To learn more about Dr. Buzynski and what he has accomplished, I highly recommend the documentary - Burzynski The Movie.

Understanding Eating Disorders

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and binge eating are all classified as eating disorders. Eating disorders affect men, women, boys, and girls. Having an eating disorder is serious. It can cause severe physical and psychological problems. These three types of eating disorders are different, but yet all of them have a common thread – being preoccupied with weight and food.

Anorexia nervosa is an obsession with being thin. This obsession will lead the individual to literally starve. It doesn't matter how thin a person with anorexia is, when they look in the mirror they see someone that is overweight. Because of this unhealthy body image, they refuse to eat much for fear it could make them fat. A person with anorexia is usually dangerously thin.

Bulimia is when an individual begins a pattern for eating large amounts of food (binging) and then purging after eating. Purging could be vomiting, taking laxatives, fasting, or exercise to an extreme degree to rid the extra calories.

Binge eating is eating excessive quantities of food on a regular basis without some sort of purging. A binge eater will eat even if they are not hungry. Binge eating is usually accompanied with guilt which usually spirals them into another session of eating. Many binge eaters are overweight or obese.

There are several reasons why someone may develop an eating disorder. For one thing, there is an incredible amount of pressure in our society to look a certain way. Many young girls are convinced that being thin equals true beauty. Many get entangled in this snare. Biological factors are another reason. Eating disorders sometimes run in families leading to the possibility that in some cases it could have to do with genes. The last reason is psychological. If someone is a perfectionist, has anxiety, or low self esteem, they could easily fall into an eating disorder. It becomes something that they feel they have control over. Eating disorders are accompanied with other issues such as depression, substance abuse, or anxiety disorders.

Overcoming an eating disorder is very difficult, but it can be done with the help of psychotherapy. In addition to intense therapy, nutritional education is also recommended. If not treated, eating disorders can lead to death. If you are struggling with an eating disorder, seek out help immediately. Contact my office if you live in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area.

Use Affirmations to Heal Within

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Your brain is a powerful organ. Since your brain and body are in constant communication, your brain has the power to influence your body in either a negative or positive way. Therefore, taking a holistic approach to health and wellness is necessary at times. You have the power within yourself to heal as well as reduce stress and other negative behaviors. One way you can do this is by using affirmations.

Simply put, affirmations are an assertion that a person makes about a state of being. Affirmations empower the subconscious to overtime believe the stated affirmation. Once the subconscious believes, a person is more willing to work and strive for what they want. Thoughts become actions.

Affirmations can be done verbally or visually. In order for an affirmation to be most effective, it should be in the present tense and be positive in nature. For example, "I am happy" versus "I am going to be happy." Keep them short and concise. It makes it easier to remember. You must also be prepared to repeat your affirmation regularly.

You can have a brilliant affirmation, but it will not do you any good unless you are prepared to put it into action. Only by being open-minded and allowing yourself to truly feel the affirmation will you truly begin to believe it.

If you have low self-esteem, are trying to lose weight, or battling depression or an addiction, I encourage you to give affirmations a try. If you interested in pursuing a holistic approach in your life, seek out a therapist who understands and practices these methods. If you live in Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington, feel free to contact my office to set up an appointment.

Benefits to Forgiving and Forgetting

Monday, March 12, 2012

It is an understatement to say that at some point in life, someone will hurt you. Whether or not it’s intentional, it will happen and probably many times over. Because of this reality, forgiveness is a necessary part of life. It is not only beneficial when it comes to relationships with others, but it also has many physical and emotional benefits. When you forgive, you’re not just giving to the offending party, but giving to yourself.

What are some of the benefits that come from truly forgiving:

  • Anger, bitterness, and resentment will lessen
  • Lower stress levels and blood pressure
  • Stronger immune system
  • Less back pain, headaches, and stomach aches

These benefits don’t just come with forgiveness. Forgiveness must be accompanied with forgetting. What do I mean by forgetting? It doesn't mean to literally forget. That might just be impossible. What is does mean is that you graciously forgive by choosing not to recall the incident to mind along with the negative feelings of resentment. Simply, you must learn to let it go! This sounds much easier than it truly is, but it is possible.

One way to cultivate forgiveness is by working to build up the quality of gratitude. Doing so will help you to see what is good in yourself and in others. Also, is there a lesson that can be learned from the incident that caused you pain? Focus on what kind of person and quality you can develop. Overtime, this will help you be a stronger more confident person.

There are times when psychotherapy might be necessary to help with the process of forgiving and forgetting. This is especially true when abuse, abandonment, or other serious issues have occurred. There is no shame in looking to a professional who is equipped with the right tools to get you on track to a becoming a forgiving individual. If you are looking for a therapist in the Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, Washington area, please contact my office to set up an appointment.

Stress Management is also an important tool when it comes to forgiveness. Click here for more information.

A Look at Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder "OCD"

Monday, March 05, 2012

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder affecting millions of Americans. A person with OCD has unreasonable thoughts or fears (obsessions) that leads them to repeat behaviors (compulsions) over and over again. It is a vicious cycle of using a certain behavior to control the irrational thoughts or fears, but sadly the thoughts and fears to do not go away. This type of disorder is debilitating and can easily take control over a person's life.

What are some common obsessions of OCD? 

  • Fear of germs, contamination, or dirt
  • A need for exactness, order, or symmetry
  • Aggressiveness, thinking evil thoughts, or causing harm to others
  • Sexual thoughts or impulses

What are some common compulsions of OCD?

  • Fear of touching others or objects that have been touched by others
  • Excessive bathing or hand washing
  • Counting aloud or silently while repeating a regular task
  • Performing the same task over and over again
  • Rechecking (For example: Locks on a door)
  • Hoarding

OCD could be caused by biological factors or by environment. Regardless of the cause, if you suspect you have OCD you should seek help to dramatically improve the quality of your life. Psychotherapy and medication are available treatment options. Seeking the help of a doctor and mental health care professional will help to decipher what is the best treatment for you as an individual. Avoiding drugs and alcohol is also very important. Many with OCD turn to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism, but it will only worsen the symptoms. If you live in the Portland, OR or Vancouver, WA and would like professional help to cope with OCD, contact my office for more information.

For more information on Anxiety Disorders, visit Coping with Anxiety Disorders on my website.

The Upside to the Novelty-Seeking Personality Trait "Neophilia"

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Are you always moving on to the next best thing? The personality trait, neophilia, is defined as liking anything new or being a novelty-seeker. For a long time, this trait came with a negative connotation. It was linked with ADD, addictions to drugs, alcohol, or gambling, and criminal actions. Now researchers are saying that neophilia combined with certain other personality traits could contribute to a sense of well-being and overall happiness.

C. Robert Cloninger, the psychiatrist who developed personality tests for measuring this trait stated, "Novelty-seeking is one of the traits that keeps you healthy and happy and fosters personality growth as you age. It can lead to antisocial behavior, but if you combine this adventurousness and curiosity with persistence and a sense that it’s not all about you, then you get the kind of creativity that benefits society as a whole.”

Dr. Cloninger says that the secret lies in a "trio of personality traits". That trio is novelty-seeking, persistence, and self-transcendence. Persistence gives you the motivation to keep trying even if you don't get what you want immediately. If you’re persistent, you look for new and better ways to achieve. Self-transcendence refers to getting lost in your thoughts or in moments and allowing amazing connections to form.

For more on this fascinating look at neophilia, read the NY Times article - Novelty-Seeking (Neophilia) Can Be a Predictor of Well-Being. If you are a neophiliac and want to get the most out of this personality trait, seeking therapy can be highly beneficial. If you do not seek to use this trait in a positive or effective manner, it could lead to extreme frustration and disappointment. Contact my office to set up an appointment if you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area.

Autistic Teens are Caught Up with TV & Video Games

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Does it feel like your teenager is addicted to TV or video games? That can be a real concern to parents, but especially for parents of autistic children. The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders published a study online about autistic teenagers and their preoccupation with TV and video games. Researchers are concerned that this preoccupation could interfere with important socialization and communication.

After evaluating 1,000 teenagers with ASD, around 60% spent most of their time watching television or videos while 41% played videos games. Interestingly, 64.4% do not use email or chat online. This is largely due to the fact that email, chatting, and social networking require social interaction, which is difficult for those on the spectrum.

Since autistic children and teens are drawn to technology, it can be a beneficial tool if used properly. In a previous blog, I discussed the benefits of using the iPad with specialized autism applications. Research also showed that autistic teens who use social media showed improvement with cognitive skills. A word of caution for parents – if your autistic teen is using social media, help them to use it properly since there are risks involved. Be alert to who their "friends" are and their privacy preferences. You do not want anyone to take advantage of your child especially since they may lack the ability to see genuineness. For more on helping your child develop social skills, click here for some practical suggestions.

In addition to whatever you are doing at home for your child or teen, seek out a therapist who specializes in autistic disorders. They will be able to help you find ways to develop your child's cognitive skills. Contact my office for an appointment if you live in Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington.

Another Look at Online Dating

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Online dating has become increasingly popular over the last few years. It is also a multi-million dollar business. Everywhere you look, you see advertisements claiming that you can find your true love by joining an online dating service and paying a fee. Online dating services claim that matchmaking is science and by using mathematical algorithms, they can find you your perfect match.

Psychological Science in the Public Journal is publishing an article about the other side to online dating . . . The side that online dating sites don't tell you. For one thing, can there really be a scientific formula that accurately matches two people for endless love? The algorithms that are used to match prospective lovers are not published, so you do not know what they are using to match you. They also do not collect enough data and they do not factor in how an individual's environment can change what they are looking for. In order for a real match to be evident, you need to meet and evaluate how you communicate, how to solve problems, and if there is a physical connection.

This blog is not to tell you not to use online dating, but rather to give you the other side of the coin. Finding a loving and compatible relationship takes a lot of hard work and persistence. A key factor in finding someone is first knowing yourself. Self exploration will make it easier to identify what you are looking for in a partner. Take note of your strengths and weaknesses and include everything from physical, emotional, and spiritual.

Therapy is also a powerful way to learn more about yourself. A therapist can also give you practical tools to finding someone compatible with you. If you live in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area, contact my office to set up an appointment.

For more information, visit my webpage - Advice for Singles Only.

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