Take Care of Your Brain

The brain is the most complex and delicate organ in the body. Our feelings, emotions, personality, and behaviors are all housed in our miraculous brain. If slight damage or trauma has occurred, it can greatly impact the rest of your life perhaps even causing or affecting a predetermined condition. Dr. Daniel Amen, psychiatrist and author of many books on the brain, recently commented on the link between mild brain trauma and behavioral, emotional, or cognitive issues.

The key is to take precautions to protect your brain. Avoid dangerous sports or activities that can cause brain damage. If you have experienced trauma, be sure to mention this to your psychologist even if you only believe it to be a minor incident. The more information you provide, the better care you will receive.

For more information, I recommend reading more about Dr. Amen and his work. http://www.brainplace.com/

Facing and Treating Addiction in a Family Business

Alcoholism and other drug abuse is an epidemic in our country. We are all aware of the general problem nationwide. Yet among family firms, drug addiction and alcohol abuse are frequently overlooked. The secret that everyone knows is that there is a family member who is addicted or engaging in drug or alcohol abuse, yet no one is to talk about it. The family member is protected not only by the family, but also by a general conspiracy among employees. The conspiracy begins because the function of the family is to nurture and protect its members. The family is likely to overlook, condone, deny, rationalize or minimize the problem for the sake of keeping the family system intact.

Should this conspiracy be treated? Yes! By ignoring the problem the addict accepts this as tacit approval of their behavior. And by ignoring the problem, the potential threat to the integrity of the family and business grows. Alcoholism and other addictions leads to the breakdown of the family, just what a family firm wants to avoid.

What can be done?

First, consider that the addict is fortunate to have the backing of both his/her family as well as his/her business. With the support of the two most important systems in one’s life, the addict has increased potential to succeed in treatment.

Second, everyone in the family has to support the decision to confront the addict and to seek family therapy with them. If there are dissenters, the addict will solicit allies to defend their continued drug abuse.

Third, education will help. Professional treatment centers emphasize that alcoholism and drug abuse are best understood as diseases. They must be confronted with their irresponsible and manipulative behavior so that they can change it. With professional treatment and ongoing support, they can be returned to their former productive and loving lives.

For further information on this subject, click on the link to read my article, “Addiction ‘Conspiracy’ of Silence Hurts the Family and Business.”


SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder is a wintertime condition characterized by depression, exhaustion, lack of interest in people and regular activities. SAD is extremely common in the Pacific Northwest due to the lack of sunlight, shorter days, and overcast skies. This type of weather contribute to SAD symptoms. If SAD is left untreated, it will affect a person’s outlook and ability to function on a day-to-day level.

It’s encouraging to note that SAD can be treated! If you are suffering from this disorder, I recommend getting outside as much as possible even if it’s overcast. Regular exercise along with a healthy diet rich in Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids will also help. If the symptoms continue to persist, light therapy or antidepressants are recommended.

For more information on how to diagnosis depression and treat it, read more at my website or call my office to make an appointment.

Use Financial Crisis as a Quest for Wisdom

Is the recent economic decline causing the stress level of Americans to increase? The answer is YES! According to the American Psychology Association’s Stress 2008 survey, almost half of Americans say their stress level is increasing due to the financial crisis and it’s primarily affecting woman. In June 2008, studies show that there are more suffering physical and emotional affects of stress than in 2007. Symptoms like fatigue, sleepless nights, headaches, depression, irritability, and lack of motivation are on the rise.

This is a major cause for concern. Many are coping with these symptoms with unhealthy habits such as overeating or skipping meals, indulging in alcohol, and smoking. More time is spent worrying about the financial situation rather than health. What can be done to prevent the increase of stress and its symptoms? I recommend shifting how you view problems, including the economic crisis. If you recognize that life is complex and problem filled, then when confronted with a situation you can face it as a quest for wisdom. Dig, assess, diagnose, and search to create workable situations. This will increase your self-worth and make you a little smarter along the way. Click here www.kmarshack.com/therapy/d_a_s/manage_stress.html to learn more about stress management.

More information on the survey is available at www.apahelpcenter.org.

Short-term Therapy with Lasting Results

Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a short-term therapy that has proven to be highly effective. It is helpful for a variety of different problems such as depression, low self-esteem, phobias, anxiety, and relationship dysfunction. What’s really impressive is that the results are long lasting!

Cognitive Behavior Therapy addresses the way that people think. The cognitive component works to change thinking patterns that keep a person from overcoming their fears. The behavior component seeks to change their pattern of reaction. The goal is to achieve a more constructive, solution-oriented thinking process.

If you are interesting in looking into Cognitive Behavior Therapy, please click on the link to view more information http://www.kmarshack.com/therapy/personal_growth/tiptherapy.html You can contact my office in Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, Washington to learn how to locate a therapist that utilizes Cognitive Behavior Therapy.

Depression – How To Recognize The Symptoms

Depression is becoming more and more common place in American society. Instead of a normal case of “the blues”, a new CDC report finds 5.4 percent of Americans 12 years of age and older have dealt with depression. 80 percent of those who report that they are depressed state that it is affecting their daily functional level. Sadly, only 29 percent have said they’ve contacted a health care professional.

How do you know if you are suffering from depression? Most often you would be experiencing a combination of these symptoms for a period of at least two weeks:

1. Depressed mood on most days for most of each day. (Irritability may be prominent in children and adolescents)
2. Total or very noticeable loss of pleasure most of the time.
3. Significant increase or decrease in appetite, weight, or both.
4. Sleep disorders either insomnia or excessive sleepiness nearly every day.
5. Feelings of agitation or a sense of intense slowness.
6. Loss of energy and a daily sense of tiredness.
7. Sense of guilt and worthlessness nearly all the time.
8. Inability to concentrate occurring nearly every day.
9. Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.

It is important to remember that depression can be treated! If you would like more information on depression, I highly encourage you to click on the link http://www.kmarshack.com/therapy/d_a_s/overcome_depression.html to read more and get the help you are looking for. You are not alone!