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Kathy Marshack News

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.

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.

Shopping for Health Insurance? Make Sure You Have Adequate Mental Health Benefits

Thursday, March 24, 2011


A few years ago I heard a well known Dale Carnegie graduate give a talk on how to attract new business. He used as an example, what attracted him to the family physician who had attended to him, his wife and children for years. The good doctor had given a similar talk at a public event and impressed the man with his expertise, solid reputation, and sincerity. For something as personal and life important as the health care of his family, the man wanted such an individual as this dedicated doctor. And for years his initial decision to choose this physician proved to be a good one.

Yet in spite of the importance of choosing the right health care professional, this Carnegie graduate dropped the doctor like a hot potato when managed care rolled into town. Because his company chose a managed care plan that would not allow the doctor to join the panel, the dedicated patient who had so carefully chosen and developed a meaningful relationship with his health care provider, decided to follow the impersonal dictates of the managed care plan.

Closer to my own area of practice, psychology, is another story that is even more disconcerting. A young teenage girl had been treated for depression by a psychologist. In actuality she was not seriously depressed but rather angry at her boyfriend for being somewhat shallow. The girl’s parents called the managed care company and were referred to the psychologist. After a few short sessions with the psychologist, the girl felt she had more control of the situation and would not allow the boyfriend’s manipulation to continue. Two weeks after terminating psychotherapy, the girl and her father had a fight that erupted into yelling and screaming between the two of them. The father in frustration called his managed care plan (an 800 number in southern California) and told them his daughter was suicidal. Without any psychiatric evaluation and without contacting the daughter’s psychotherapist, the clerk at the other end of the 800 number advised the father to take the girl to a psychiatric hospital. Although the girl was not suicidal and didn’t need hospitalization, she did learn to fear her father and to behave lest she be hospitalized again. Not a healthy outcome.

The mistakes made by the Carnegie graduate and the father of the teenager are not uncommon. There is a mystique about managed care. People have come to believe that the 800 number is like a parent, able to solve all of their woes. They believe that they will get the same personal service they received for years by a doctor who knows them. They are puzzled when the service they do receive is not sufficient to resolve the problem. Often they assume that there is nothing more that can be done, since their managed care company has not authorized additional services. It’s as if the managed care company has assumed the paternalistic mystique that the family doctor once held. But now the mystique has no concern about the individual, only cutting medical costs.

So when you are shopping around for a health plan, I hope you consider just what you are buying when it comes to mental health benefits. Do you have ample psychotherapy benefits; at least 26 to 52 visits per year? Do you have the right to choose the most experienced and competent psychologist? Is there true confidentiality guaranteed? Is the treatment plan dictated by actuarial tables or by the unique needs of the situation and the employee? Is the payment to the therapist worth the time of a competent professional, or are you forced to seek out an untrained, inexperienced person who will charge rock bottom prices? Ultimately you are responsible for your own health so make sure that you’re your own health advocate.

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.

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!

What You Feed Your Children Impacts Their IQ

Monday, February 28, 2011


A parent’s natural desire is to give their child the best. Healthy, happy children that grow into happy, healthy adults is the ultimate goal. Sad to say, in our society, parents are struggling. We are living in the era of convenience. The problem with convenience is that it is taking a toll on children especially in one particular area…food!

Children are consuming large amounts of food rich in sugar and fat. The culprit is primarily processed foods. Parents may say that it’s no big deal, it's easy and convenient, so what's the problem? The problem according to a recent British study is that there may be a correlation between what young children eat and their IQ. A processed food diet may result is a lower IQ.

So, what lesson is there for parents? Parents, what you feed your children may have a serious impact on your child's future. Take the time to prepare healthy meals for your children. A well balance diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish is recommended. One way to improve eating habits is to eat one meal a day together as a family. It can help the family to eat a healthy and balanced diet. You will be able to observe any unhealthy habits that your children may be developing. Another benefit is it improves family communication.

It’s well worth your while to make the necessary changes in your family’s eating habits – it will only lead you closer to your ultimate goal.

For more information, visit Am I a Good Parent?


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