Find Yourself Forgetful? How to Enhance Your Memory

Improve MemoryWhile you may think of forgetfulness and memory loss as challenges only the elderly face but if you are a young person, you may be disappointed to learn that memory loss can affect you too. Unfortunately, like most mental health problems memory has not prejudice. But there’s something you can do to help!

Young or old, if you are finding yourself forgetful there are certain things you can do to help improve your memory. To help you begin today, here’s a few tips on how to enhance your memory.

  • Train. Yes, it’s true- like training your body through physical exercises you can help train your brain for memory improvement. “People in the early stages of memory loss can benefit from simple memory training, research suggests according to the American Psychological Association (APA) (1) Using popular training techniques like “mnemonic devices” or “vanishing cues” can help trigger you brain to better remember.

Mnemonic devices: To put this training tactic to work simply visualize something that will help you better remember whatever it is you want to be able to recall later. For example, when meeting a new person whose name is Mrs. Teal, you would visualize that person covered in the color teal to better help you remember their name.

Vanishing cues: This tactic is used more often when trying to recall information. For instance, if you are trying to think of Mrs. Teal’s name but can’t remember it, instead write down on a piece of paper any letters of the name that you can remember. Once seeing the letters on the paper fill in more, and more until you begin to remember. By doing this you are training new areas of the brain to take over defective areas.

  • Mental photos. Sometimes, being able to recall memories later on means taking a mental photo or snapshot now. According to the APA, “Good memory requires good learning and good learning is done through forming strong association with new information as you learn it.” (2) While you don’t have to physically walk around life acting like you are taking photos, mentally focusing on new things you are learning or would like to remember later, similar to a camera focuses can help you form those strong associations, and thus help improve your memory.

Make taking notes a routine part of your day. When you set important items down like a cell phone, car keys, or wallet take a moment to focus and take a mental snapshot.

No matter your age, forgetfulness and memory loss can affect you and make life more challenging. But you can work to improve your memory. By working to train your brain and making a point to take mental snapshots all throughout your day you can better challenge your brain and enhance your memory.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation

 

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Sources:

  1. Enhance Your Memory, Training your brain quote, 2015, http://www.apa.org/topics/learning/enhance-memory.aspx
  2. Enhance Your Memory, Mental photos quote, 2015, http://www.apa.org/topics/learning/enhance-memory.aspx

 

 

 

Coping with Obesity

coping with obesityObesity is defined as a condition marked by excess accumulation of body fat, according to the American Psychological Association (1) and it affects a great portion of our population. In fact, as stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third or 78.6 million U.S. adults are obese.

While you may not be at a healthy weight, there are steps you can take not just to lose weight but to better cope with obesity. If you’re overweight and tired of being down on yourself all the time, this article is for you. Here’s how to cope with obesity.

  1. Make better food choices. Though this may be an obvious tip, it’s an important one. Part of coping with obesity means taking the necessary steps to overcoming it. Learn about healthy foods vs non-healthy foods and make an effort to choose healthy and nutritious foods. Avoid foods which are high in saturated fats and cholesterol and opt for foods high in protein and low in sugars.
  2. Connect. According to a 2015 study on social relationships and obesity people who are socially-connected are at a decreased risk of becoming obese. (3) Connect with people in your community, especially with those who share the same goals as you. Together you can encourage, support, and connect with each other.
  3. Use positive criticism. Being obese does not give you free reign to come down hard on yourself about every little thing you need to change but like with any other condition, it does allow the opportunity for positive criticism. Positive criticism will act as a way to correct yourself in a positive way while building your self-confidence.
  4. Create small goals. Setting small goals for yourself is a great way to cope with obesity. As you work to achieve each little goal you not only get closer to a larger goal but you also make room for regular celebrations of your achievements. Set goals not only for weight loss but also emotions and physical activity.

You are so much more than a number on the scale, finding joy no matter where you are in life both emotionally and physically is key. Coping with obesity requires a balance of embracing who you are while working to better yourself. Remember to make better food choices, connect, use positive criticism, and create small goals for yourself. By doing so you can actively work toward a better, more-healthy you while learning to love the person you are today.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation.

 

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Sources:

  1.  Obesity, Definition of obesity, 2015, http://www.apa.org/topics/obesity/index.aspx
  2. Adult Obesity Facts, Number of obese American adults, 2015, http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html
  3. Social Relationships and Obesity, Study findings ‘Connect’, 2015, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26213644

 

 

How to Recognize the Signs of Schizophrenia

treat schizophreniaAbout one in 100 Americans are diagnosed with schizophrenia, a treatable serious mental illness that affects a person’s thoughts, feelings, mood, and overall functioning according to the American Psychological Association (APA). (1) With statistics like that, it’s a wonder why the mass public isn’t more educated about schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is often diagnosed through early adulthood in teens and early 20s and is rarely identified later in life. At first many of the symptoms of schizophrenia may go unnoticed but by knowing what to look for and recognizing signs you can receive early treatment. To help you learn more about this mental illness and how to detect it, here’s how to recognize the signs of schizophrenia.

  • Trouble thinking logically. People with the onset of schizophrenia sometimes have trouble thinking logically. This may include making informed decisions, as well.
  • Difficulty paying attention. A short attention span, or the struggle to stay focused on one event can be a potential sign of schizophrenia. Because difficulty paying attention is a symptom for a variety of illnesses and disorders it’s important that it is paired with other symptoms as well before concluding schizophrenia.
  • Working memory problems. Because schizophrenia is a mental illness it has the ability to impair ones’ working memory, or more commonly known as short term memory. Forgetting recent events like where you set your keys or what you ate for lunch earlier that day are both examples of short term memory.
  • Hallucinations. A more serious sign of schizophrenia is experiencing hallucinations. These hallucinations often include hearing voices or seeing things that others do not see.
  • Speaking little. If you are typically a chatter box but recently don’t have the desire to speak much, there may be an underlying problem. Speaking little is another sign of schizophrenia.
  • Repetitive body movements. Agitated or repetitive body movements are common in those who suffer with schizophrenia. These movements can be seen as repetitive movements being performed over and over again.
  • False beliefs. As part of the thought disorder, false beliefs that may seem odd or wrong are believable to you even after loved ones try to redirect your thinking. These thoughts often do not line up with the person’s typical thinking and may make little to no sense.
  • Difficult to understand. As a person with schizophrenia struggles to organize their thoughts their speech can become jumbled and difficult to understand. They may even make up meaningless words or stop talking midsentence.

Coping with any mental illness is a struggle, including schizophrenia. But with 1 in every 100 Americans diagnosed with schizophrenia it’s time to better educate the public about what to look for. It’s important to note that treatment helps relieve many symptoms of schizophrenia and many people with the illness continue to lead rewarding and meaningful lives in their communities, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. (2) Learning how to recognize signs of schizophrenia is the first step toward treatment and the start to living that rewarding and meaningful life.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation

 

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Sources:

  1. Recognizing the Signs of Schizophrenia, Schizophrenia statistics and definition, 2015, http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/recognizing-schizophrenia.aspx
  2. What is Schizophrenia?, Schizophrenia treatment, 2015, http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/index.shtml

 

Can You Fake Mental Illness?

While you may be thinking, “Why would anyone want to fake a mental illness,” you may be surprised to learn that while mental illnesses have their obvious negatives, they also offer a handful of positives. Some of which are even believed to be worth faking it for.

mental illnessWe see hideous crimes committed regularly in society. There is almost always something horrific in the news that you would think, “Clearly that person must be insane to commit such a horrible crime against humanity.” And so, we watch as they choose to plea insanity. Now, the significance of proving insanity in the court room is that if you are deemed insane you are no longer eligible for the death penalty and cannot be held responsible for your actions in the same way a sane person would be, according to the U.S. Criminal Resource Manual. (1) An obvious draw for completely sane people to want to fake a mental illness, right?

You certainly don’t have to commit a horrible crime against humanity to consider the idea of faking a mental illness. Average people, leading average lives attempt to fake mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety often. Again, you may be asking yourself, “Why?” People with mental illnesses, similar to physical illnesses, receive attention. People want to hear about your struggle and help you cope or even help you overcome your mental illness. People who strongly desire attention may seek it through faking sick, mentally. But is it possible?

According to the Queensland government, “It is extremely difficult to ‘fake’ mental illness, particularly for an extended period of time.” (2) While someone may be able to imitate depression-like or insanity-like symptoms for a short period of time, eventually ones’ true colors will begin to show. In addition, a series of tests have been specifically put in place to weed out any potential fakers when it comes to pleading insanity within the court room.

It is important to note that while people who attempt to fake a mental illness for whatever benefit entices them often has an underlying root cause. They may have a great need for attention from others or enjoy lying and fooling people. Or they simply want an escape from the responsibility of the crimes they commit. Whatever the case may be, it’s important for us to look beyond the failed attempt to deceive.

From the court room to the dinner table and everywhere in-between, you may witness someone who attempts to fake a mental illness. Whether it be insanity, depression, anxiety, or another form of mental illness, there are a variety of benefits that comes with faking it. But don’t be alarmed. Faking a mental illness is extremely difficult, especially for an extended period of time. It turns out, you can’t fake it!

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation

 

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Sources:

  1. Criminal Resource Manual, Perks of pleading insanity, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/usam/criminal-resource-manual-634-insanity-defense-reform-act-1984
  2. Frequently Asked Questions about Mental Illness, Difficult to fake mental illness quote, 2006, https://www.health.qld.gov.au/forensicmentalhealth/indigenous/docs/ind_fs1.pdf

When Anger is a Positive

There are many misconceptions about the emotion of anger. One of those misconceptions is that anger is a negative thing and that being happy is its opposite. Another misconception is that, when people become angry, violence will most likely ensue. While these thoughts are sometimes true, they are also missing the other aspect of anger – the positive side.anger management

There is a way to display anger in a proper manner that is actually helpful rather than hurtful. While constructive anger has no exact definition since it varies from one situation to another, there are some common elements (1).

  • Constructive anger is controlled. Instead of immediately expressing anger when first instigated, take time to think about the situation and determine whether your anger is appropriate (2). Thinking about your response first will help you avoid destructive anger.
  • Constructive anger is justified. Do you actually have a reason to be as angry as you feel, or could you be overreacting to the situation? Did you do anything that could have contributed to the problem? Is the level of anger you feel proportional to the situation? Considering these questions will help you avoid regretting your anger later.
  • Constructive anger is shared (3). If you are expressing your anger and the object of your anger isn’t even present, you are wasting your breath and most likely just working yourself up. If you have a legitimate reason to be angry, it should be discussed face to face with the person. In addition, the other person should be given a chance to explain, share his perspective, and eventually apologize without being attacked further.

anger managementNot only can constructive anger help an immediate relationship or situation, it can have positive effects on the future as well. Studies have shown the repressed anger is more likely to result in violence than immediately expressed anger (3). The following are a few of the positive aspects of anger.

  • Resolves. Constructive anger results in a situation being resolved, which in turn strengthens the relationship rather than hurting it.
  • Motivates. Anger is an excellent motivator. If you feel wronged about something, it can motivate you to do something about it. This can work to your advantage in the workplace, politics, health and fitness, etc. (1)
  • Helps. Constructive anger can help you learn something about yourself and the other party that you may have never known before. It has been said that, in conflict, you will see a person’s true colors. This is true for others as well as yourself. In a relationship, learning these intimate details about each other can bring you even closer together (3).

Although anger can be difficult to control, especially for people who have long-term anger issues, anger can be used constructively to benefit you and your relationships rather than harm them.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation.

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Sources:

  1. When Anger’s a Plus, Aspects of constructive anger, 2003, http://www.apa.org/monitor/mar03/whenanger.aspx
  2. Anger – How It Affects People, Characteristics of constructive anger, 2014, http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Anger_how_it_affects_people
  3. The Upside of Anger, Benefits of constructive anger, 2015, http://www.spring.org.uk/2012/03/the-upside-of-anger-6-psychological-benefits-of-getting-mad.php

Is Kindness Contagious?

I’m confident you have heard the saying, “Kindness is contagious,” before right? Well, if you hadn’t- now you have! The idea that showing someone kindness, even through just a smile, can be passed on to that person making them more likely to be kind to someone else is one that has been handed down through generations.

Just recently new research was conducted that may unlock the mystery; is kindness really contagious? According to a 2010 study done by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Plymouth, “It is natural for people to seek the positive emotions that accompany seeing and doing acts of kindness.” (1) Because there is moral beauty in being kind, humans have a natural desire to see others be kind, and in return to be kind themselves causing a natural high-like sensation. Research published in the journal of Biological Psychiatry has even aimed to learn what these moral, high-like elevations actually look like in the brain and human body. (2)

So, what does this mean for you?kindness

It means to be kind, of course! When we take the necessary time to be kind to those around us in both big and small ways we can pass on our kindness to everyone we cross paths with. Believe me, there are far worse things in life than creating a society of kind people who love to spread their kindness to others! Here’s a few ways you can show kindness today!

  • Smile. You can impact a large number of people with kindness simply by smiling. It doesn’t take any more time to smile than it does to frown. In fact studies have shown when you frown you actually use more muscles than you do when smiling. Remind yourself to offer others smiles whenever you get the chance.
  • Help. Whether it’s through simply being aware of your surroundings when you witness people needing help, or by volunteering your services to a needy cause by helping others you can show kindness.
  • Listen. A listening ear is a kind ear. Often times people are just looking for someone to talk to who will listen. Be kind today by listening to a loved one, friend, child, or even a complete stranger. Kindness knows no bounds.

For once, an old wise tail passed down from generation to generation is ringing true according to science. Kindness is truly contagious. Spread the word, and the love by being kind to one another every chance you get.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation.

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Sources:

  1. Kindness is Contagious, New Study Finds, Kindness is contagious study findings, 2010, https://helix.northwestern.edu/article/kindness-contagious-new-study-finds
  2. Autonomic and Prefrontal Evens During Moral Elevation, Research on moral elevations, 2015, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25813121
Tom Naratadam

Tom Naratadam, Psy.D., LCPC

Dr. Tom Naratadam chicago illinoisDr. Tom Naratadam earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and both his Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) and Masters Degree in School Psychology (Ed.S.) from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.  He completed his Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) certification in Illinois in 2015.  His professional work experience is diverse and includes work in multiple settings including residential, inpatient, outpatient, community mental health, group private practice, and school-settings throughout the Metro Chicagoland area.

Dr. Naratadam has worked as an outpatient provider with Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. since 2010. In addition to his work with Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C., Dr. Naratadam works as a bilingual school psychologist at the Chicago Public Schools – performing extensive diagnostic testing and spearheading group therapy with children and adolescents.

Dr. Naratadam has expertise working in multicultural populations and has conducted numerous workshops on cross-cultural issues related to the Latino and Asian-Indian cultures. His experience also includes several years of assessing and working with children and adolescents who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Conduct and Mood Disorders, and issues related to adolescent sexuality and identity.

Dr. Naratadam is proud of his Asian-Indian heritage. He enjoys traveling, enjoying Chicago’s wide array of restaurants, and spending time with his family and friends. Dr. Naratadam is fluent in Spanish.

Mark Parisi

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D., Licensed Clinical PsychologistDr. Mark Parisi is Licensed as a Clinical Psychologist In Illinois and Florida.

He earned his Master of Arts (M.A.) in Clinical Psychology from Roosevelt University in Chicago in 1991. Dr. Parisi went on to earn a Master of Science (M.S.) in Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology and his Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) Degree in Clinical Psychology from Florida Institute of Technology In 1995.

He is also certified as a Professional Mediator through the Association of Conflict Resolution Institute. Dr. Parisi finished his internship and residency while serving on active duty in the U.S. Army from 1995 – 1998 and specialized in Child and Adolescent Psychology, Community Mental Health, and Traumatic Stress Disorders.  He deployed overseas to the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, in 1997 with the 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army as part of Task Force 2-87.  He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) for his active duty military service in 1998. Dr. Parisi has worked post-residency since 1998 and opened his practice in the Chicagoland area back in 2000.

He has served as a consultant to schools and businesses on a wide variety of mental health topics.  As a child psychologist, Dr. Parisi has worked as a child advocate, as a consultant for Head Start, and as a pediatric evaluation and treatment expert.  He has highly specialized training in disruptive behavior disorders of childhood under Drs. Russell Barkley and Robert Brooks.

At his clinic, Dr. Parisi maintains a broad-based practice serving children as young as three years old and adults well into their golden years.  He provides individual, group, family, and couples’ therapy utilizing a Cognitive-Behavioral / Solution-Focused treatment style.  In his work as an I/O Psychologist, Dr. Parisi has performed personnel selection and job analysis for both military and civilian agencies.

In addition to his work as child psychologist, Dr. Parisi has a sub-specialty in geriatrics and has worked tirelessly as a champion for mental health issues among the elderly and chronic mentally ill.  He serves as a consultant to several area nursing homes and long term care facilities and designs state-of-the-art programs tailored to the unique needs of skilled nursing facilities around Metro Chicagoland.

Dr. Parisi grew up in Park Ridge.  He is married and lives with his family in Skokie where he enjoys family time, attending movies and plays, reading, hiking, and running.  Dr. Parisi is a member of the American Psychological Association and the Skokie Valley Rotary Club.  He presently serves as a Lieutenant Commander in the Medical Service Corps of the U.S. Naval Reserves and is a veteran of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division.