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Kathy Marshack News

Psychological Problems Linked to Second Hand Smoke

Saturday, June 26, 2010

In the past few years, a lot of attention was given to the physical side effects that second hand smoke (SHS) can have on a non-smoking individual. Heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and asthma have been linked to SHS. Now attention is turning to the psychological effects of SHS.

According to new studies, SHS has been linked to psychological disorders as well as greater risk for psychiatric hospitalization in non-smokers. For a complete look at these studies, read the article Secondhand Smoke Linked to Psychiatric Illness, Hospitalization. The article mentioned that with increased smoking restrictions in public places, smoking is happening more often in the home environment. Studies also estimate that 60% of Americans are being exposed to SHS.

Now with the addition of psychological problems to already known physical problems, SHS is a serious problem! If you are a non-smoker, but have been exposed to SHS and are experiencing psychological problems such as anxiety or depression, I recommend seeing a mental health care professional. If you are currently a smoker, your life is in danger as well. Please visit the Stop Smoking section on my website for tips to overcome your addiction to cigarettes.

Link Between PTSD and Dementia

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is the term applied to psychological and emotional problems that develop as the result of experiencing any serious, traumatic event. Recent studies are focusing attention on the long-term effects of PTSD and have found a link between PTSD and dementia.

The study focused on war veterans. Out of 180,000 veterans, 53,155 had been diagnosed with PTSD. Over a 7 year period, 17.2 percent developed dementia. The reason for the greater risk of dementia may be due to the chronic stress of PTSD. That type of stress could cause damage to an area of the brain which is critical for memory and/or affect the neurotransmitters. For more on this study, read the article PTSD Nearly Doubles Risk of Dementia.

You don't have to be a veteran to be affected by PTSD. If you feel like you do have PTSD, I highly recommend speaking to a mental health care professional. Without treatment, the problem intensifies over the years – causing greater and greater distress. Fortunately, PTSD is very responsive to a variety of psychotherapies. In individual therapy, the survivor can learn a new perspective on the past. With the gentle support of an experienced psychotherapist, you will find new and healthier ways to put old memories to rest. Please visit the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder page on my website for symptoms of PTSD and therapy recommendations. 

New CES Therapy Available to Stop Cigarette Cravings

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

“I can quit smoking anytime I choose." This is a common statement that you may hear, but it is easier said than done. Quitting cigarette smoking can be one of the most challenging things to overcome. Many experience severe cravings and withdrawal symptoms that can make it difficult to completely quit. The good news is that it is possible, and with a new treatment available, it could make it dramatically easier.

Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) is an electrical treatment that is being used to treat cigarette cravings. A small electrical stimulus is applied to the earlobe sending low frequency currents to the nerves in the brain. CES has been used to treat insomnia, anxiety, and depression, but recent studies show that it is also effective in treating addictions.

A study was performed between July 2006 and January 2008 using CES on 1,000 smokers with the hope that it would control the craving for cigarettes. Out of the 1,000, 972 (97.2%) lost their cravings after just a few minutes into a CES 20 minute session. Cravings will kick in again so many continued to use CES for a regular basis until they were able to conquer their addiction. Three patients out of the 1,000 were unable to use this form of therapy.

In order to use CES, you must have a prescription from a licensed practitioner. I have being using CES with some of my clients and have seen some great results. I use Alpha Stem's CES from Allevia Health. For more information, visit

I am very excited about continuing this process with my clients to help them conquer their addiction to cigarettes. If you live in the Portland, OR or Vancouver, WA area, please contact my office if you are interested in finding out more about CES. I also have additional information on how to stop smoking on my website.

Don’t Give Up When Conquering Anxiety

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Have you experienced excessive anxiety and worry about your daily activities, such as work or school performance? Does your anxiety or worry interfere with your normal routine, job performance, social activities, or relationships? If so you may be one of the 19 million American adults suffering from an anxiety disorder. These disorders fill people's lives with overwhelming anxiety and fear. Unlike the relatively mild, brief anxiety caused by a stressful event such as a business presentation or a first date, anxiety disorders are chronic, relentless, and can grow progressively worse if not treated.

Seeking professional help from a mental health care professional is key to overcoming anxiety disorders. A psychologist will help you learn how to deal with your anxiety. Psychologists often work closely with a psychiatrist or other physician, who will prescribe medications when they are required. When you find a health care professional the two of you are working together as a team. Together you will develop a plan to treat your anxiety disorder.

In addition to therapy, here are a few tips to help you minimize the effect of anxiety:
  • Eat a well balanced diet. Avoid sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco.
  • Practice deep breathing techniques
  • Exercise
  • Keep an anxiety log to help you identify things that trigger anxiety
  • Find time to relax and recreate

Visit Coping with Anxiety on my website for additional information. It is important to give any treatment a fair trial. And if one approach doesn't work, the odds are that another one will, so don't give up.

When Being Shy Becomes a Problem

Friday, April 30, 2010

When a study was done to find out what people feared the most, public speaking ranked number one, even higher than death! It not only is feared the most, but is one of the most prevalent and common fears that people experience. Until recently, it was dismissed as a minor problem and was considered normal that people would get nervous speaking in front of others. But recent research shows that people who do experience this problem and find it debilitating and controlling their life have a valid problem.

Symptoms such as heart palpitations, sweating, shaking, dizziness, blushing, shortness of breath, choking, one's mind going blank, etc., can be typical responses to being in the spotlight. However, if you find yourself worrying too much about what others think of you, and fear embarrassment or humiliation in front of others to the extent that you avoid situations where you are the center of attention, you may have social phobia.

Learn more about social phobias and treatment options in a self-help tip on my website.

How Couples Therapy Helps Women Dealing with Alcoholism

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Alcoholism is a disease. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, nearly 14 million Americans—1 in every 13 adults—abuse alcohol or are alcoholic. Abusing alcohol is not only damaging to your health, it can also have devastating effects on relationships with family, friends and coworkers. Studies show that women are less likely to seek help for their addiction to alcohol than men. If your wife or partner is suffering from alcoholism, there is something you can do to help them.

A new study focused on women dealing with alcoholism and how couples therapy could be a powerful option in overcoming their addiction. The women who participated in couples therapy had greater results than those in individual treatment. The social support of a committed spouse or partner seems to have play a role in helping the addict work on their addiction. Click here to view this study in its entirety.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was used as a treatment in this study. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is designed to help address the way you think. It helps identify faulty and irrational thinking to more constructive, solution-oriented thinking. Click here for more information on the benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Whether you are a man or a woman, please seek help if you are suffering from an addiction to alcohol. There are many resources available for you. Visit the Alcoholism Recovery section on my website for more information.

A Link Between Depression and Smoking

Sunday, April 25, 2010

According to studies performed by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention), adults with depression are more likely to smoke than those with no symptoms of depression. They also tend to smoke more heavily. Click here to view the entire study.

Overcoming depression and an addiction to cigarettes are two different challenges that can be tamed with proper help. First, address the depression. There are many factors that contribute to depression. A very effective way to treat depression is by therapy with a mental health professional. They will be able to give practical assistance to help overcome the issues that are causing your depression. Click here to read more about Overcoming Depression.

Another part to overcoming depression is to make lifestyle changes. That is when the issue of smoking can be addressed. To be a successful at becoming a non-smoker, you must take two steps:

First: Change your environment at work and at home so that smoking is not as easy to do.

Second: Recognize that most of your smoking is done to take care of other emotional needs. When you desire a  cigarette, ask yourself, “What do I really want instead?” Then take care of the real need.

The emotional work you are doing to overcome your depression will also help you to recognize why you are smoking in the first place. A mental health care professional will be able to add further assistance to you in this area. Visit my website for more information to help you stop smoking.

Optimism Is Good Medicine

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Recent studies show that optimism can have a powerful impact on your health. It seems that those who have a positive view of their health often fare better. It has not be proven "how" this works in the body, but studies show interesting results. For a more detailed look at a recent study, read Skip the Vitamins, Use Optimism to Lift Immune System.

If you are not a naturally optimistic person, don’t be discouraged. Here are a few tips to help you adjust your thinking to a more positive perspective:

1. Start off each day with a positive thought. It will help you set the tone for how you will choose to think for the day.

2. Smile, smile, smile. Smiling will draw others toward you creating a positive exchange and will guarantee to lift your mood.

3. Live one day at a time. Stop worrying about the past and the future. Focus on the present and make that day the best it can be.

4. Find a good support system. Pick associates that are going to encourage positive thinking and will help you work through your negative feelings.

If optimistic thinking still feels difficult, seek professional help. A mental health care professional will be able to help you uncover the cause of your negative thinking and provide working tools to guide you through the change.

Help and Healing for Victims of Verbal Abuse

Monday, February 08, 2010

What is emotional abuse? According to the United Stated Department of Justice, emotional abuse is defined as, "Undermining an individual's sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one's abilities, name-calling, or damaging one's relationship with his or her children."

Being a victim of emotional or verbal abuse can cause serious side effects such as depression, post traumatic stress, and anxiety. What can you do if you have been a victim to heal and move forward? What about reformed abusers, how can they move on to a healthier life?

Patricia Evans, author of The Verbally Abusive Relationship, and Mack at MEVAC, founder of Men Ending Verbal Abuse and Control, have teamed up to develop Survivors Empowered. This program is designed to help victims and reformed abusers heal from their past and transform their physical and emotional lives. For more information on this fantastic program, visit

If you live in the Vancouver, WA or Portland, OR area, and have been a victim of verbal abuse or are a reformed abuser, please feel free to contact my office to set up an appointment for one-on-one therapy. Therapy will give you personal empowerment – heal your body and mind and open up a whole new world of choices.

What’s Behind Recent Trend of Sleep Deprivation

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Waking up feeling refreshed and alert is a rarity for many today. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 41 percent of Americans have not had adequate sleep for two weeks in the past month and one third of adults are not getting the right amount of sleep every night. What is behind sleep deprivation these days?

There was a great article on this topic on -  Sleep-Deprived Nation - which examined a number of factors that can cause or contribute to sleep deprivation. With the recent troubles in the economy, many are working overtime or taking on a second or even third job in order to make ends meet. What gets cut is time to sleep. Then the added stress of working extra can make the time you have to sleep not restful.

Technology can also play a role with sleep problems. Our cell phones have become personal hand held computers that stay by our nightstand, but are constantly blinking from an incoming text message or email. Watching television before bed keeps the mind stimulated and active which makes it hard to shut down at bedtime. Then there’s the time drain of surfing the Internet instead of going to bed! The list could go on and on.

As a psychologist, one of my major concerns about sleep deprivation is the long terms affects it can have on a person. Sleep deprivation can easily escalate into more severe sleep related illnesses as well as psychological disorders like depression and anxiety.

If you find yourself relating to this information, I recommending speaking to a mental health care professional who can help you identify the cause of your sleep deprivation and give you the proper guidance to deal with it. Sleep is a necessity for humans and it is the body’s way of healing. Also visit my this page on my site for a discussion on Overcoming Depression.

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