Gooden Center
A residential drug treatment center for men located in Pasadena, CA. The Gooden Center is a proud member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP).

(626) 356-0078
191 North El Molino Avenue Pasadena, CA 91101 US

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Focus For Those In Recovery

Posted on: May 24th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Addiction is a disease that comes to many different kinds of people, in many different ways.  It claims the lives of people from every walk of life imaginable, and affects in different ways, creating millions of unique stories and struggles.  Both women and men suffer from addiction, but they often suffer in different ways, and may respond differently to treatment.

As a result, many places that offer treatment from addiction may provide gender specific services, and separate men from women.  Specifically, gender specific treatment promotes focus, removes distractions or anxieties that may otherwise take away from a focus on personal healing.  Here are some of the ways in which gender specific treatment allows people to better focus on their recovery.

Gender Specific Treatment Provides Support

Early recovery is an extremely stressful process.  It involves fighting against very intense physical and mental cravings, learning how to develop new coping mechanisms for stressful feelings that will crop up, and having to face hard moments in your life.

 There is enough stress in your life simply by being a part of this hard process of working towards sobriety and healing, and so it is good to do whatever you can to be as comfortable and focused as possible.   Having a space of men-only, or women-only space is one way to produce feelings of comfort, and make things as easy as possible.  

A Safe Place 

Peer support groups, in which a group of people struggling with addiction and recovery share their past and present issues, can be one of the most valuable and helpful ways for people to explore their inner feelings and learn from each other. However, the effectiveness of these groups is dependent on the willingness of its members to share honestly and be vulnerable with each other. Being honest with yourself and counselors is at the core of addiction treatment programs from initial treatment to after care.

The group must be a space where people can be totally safe with each other, and where people are encouraged and made to feel comfortable revealing their most vulnerable self. In a mixed gender space, the subconscious temptation for men or women to “impress” each other may kick in and prevent real intimate sharing.

Focus For Those In Recovery

Also, some people may feel less comfortable sharing about certain issues with members of the other gender present.  Creating men or women only spaces is one way in which a support group can work to make sure that everyone feels safe within it.  

Focus On The Ways Men And Women Experience Addiction Differently  

Both men and women come to the recovery process with a lot of stigma, guilt, and fear that sometimes gets in the way of letting them ask for help.  Yet this fear often gets manifested differently for men and women, in ways that reflect their different experiences, areas of concern, and social roles.

Women are often more likely to experience feelings of shame for needing help with addiction, whereas men may be more likely to deny there is a problem in the first place.  Women are often more anxious about things related to family relationships, whereas men are often more concerned about careers.  Limited our focus to one gender or the other allows for greater sensitivity and awareness to these issues.  

Takes The Focus Off Romantic Relationships

Recovery is one of the most intense and revolutionary things you will do as a person, and so the people you go through these experiences with can easily become some of the most intense and profound relationships in your life. These friendships can be extremely helpful in giving both people a sense of human connection, and hope from a common experience.

These relationships get a great deal of value from their stability, so that you continue to be sharing intimately as you work through complex feelings together. That is why deep friendships are so valuable. More whirlwind, unstable romances can have the opposite effect, and so should be avoided in early recovery. This is precisely why most rehab centers will not allow romantic relationships in their residential or sober living programs. A same-gender environment allows the formation of friendships, while making romances less likely.

The Psyche Of An Addict

Posted on: May 21st, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

The Psyche Of An Addict

Addiction is a somewhat unique disease because of the fact that it affects both the mind and body of an addict. When a person is addicted to drugs or alcohol, their body is highly affected as virtually all of their major organs feel the effect of drugs or alcohol on them. Addiction also takes a huge toll on an addict’s mind.

When a person is addicted to a substance, their brain’s reward receptors are impacted and become so used to receiving the substance that brings them pleasure that the brain’s synapses are actually transformed and cause the brain to be singularly focused on finding and using more drugs. For this and many other reasons, a person’s psyche is truly transformed when they enter a treatment program.

Treatment And Detox

The first step in achieving a transformation in treatment is for an addict to go through the process of detoxing. Detox is a crucial step because it is the phase during which a recovering addict allows the drugs and alcohol to leave their body. Detox may be a very difficult process because of the fact that it is such a transformational time for both the body and mind. During detox, the mind must undergo the process of withdrawing from drugs or alcohol and transforming to a place where it is no longer dependent on drugs or alcohol.

Often, when the brain does not receive the substance it is addicted to, it will fire off signals to create withdrawal symptoms, which can include things like nausea, headaches, hallucinations, and tremors. In treatment, a recovering addict will have access to the professional help they need to get through withdrawing successfully.  Once they have done this, they will have transformed their brains to the point that they will no longer be chemically dependent on the substance they are addicted to.

Identifying and Addressing Triggers

When a person is addicted to drugs and alcohol, there are often a number of factors that drive them to use. These factors are often referred to as triggers and may include a wide variety of people, places, or events. It is very common for an addict to feel the urge to use when they are in the company of certain people or when the experience certain emotions.

In this way, an addict’s psyche has been built to revolve around using as well as to turn to drugs or alcohol as a solution for anger, sadness, boredom, nervousness. In treatment, a recovering addict works with a team of professionals who helps them not only identify triggers as they arise but also to find ways of addressing triggers without drugs or alcohol. The idea is that with a client-centered treatment philosophy, identifying and addressing triggers becomes a much more personal process.

Recovery Brings About Hope and Change

The road to recovery is a challenging one, but the total transformation that occurs in treatment brings about a lifetime of hope and a renewed sense of purpose for many addicts. With the right treatment program, it is truly possible for any addict to change the way they think and view the world. The idea of employing a change of perception does not come easily to one who is steeped in their addictive behavior. It is definitely going to be a road that requires some determination and an ultimate willingness to change.

Finding the willingness to change will be the catalyst for getting clean and sober, and by applying oneself it can ultimately lead to a change of perception. When one is struggling with addiction it is tough to see the big picture, and when you enter treatment you are blessed with the opportunity to give sobriety a chance. Treatment is an opportunity to change your life, and one gets out of it what they decide to put into it. 

Approaching An Intervention

Posted on: May 19th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Approaching An Intervention

If someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, chances are, you are feeling a wide variety of emotions. It is not uncommon to feel frustrated, angry, and helpless when a loved one is struggling with addiction. Addiction is a dangerous disease that can truly wreck havoc on an addict’s life and have a profoundly negative impact on their behavior.

When a person is struggling with addiction, they may effectively become a “different person,” and often will become very angry or defensive when confronted about their drug or alcohol use. For this reason, many people experience anxiety about how exactly to approach a loved one about their addiction. Here are a few useful tips on how to successfully stage an intervention for a loved one.

Seek the Help of a Professional Interventionist

It is not advisable to stage an intervention without seeking the support of a professional. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, a professional interventionist is very experienced with different kinds of interventions and can give you an idea of what kinds of behaviors you may expect to encounter when you confront your lived one about their intervention.

This can help prevent you from coming across any surprises during what is an already trying situation. An interventionist is also a valuable resource because they are not emotionally invested in the addict’s behavior and can act as a calm and rational moderator who can keep the discussion on track during the intervention. This can be very useful if an intervention becomes very heated or emotional.

Make A Written List Of The Ways In Which Your Loved One’s Behavior Has Impacted You

It is very important that all parties involved bear in mind what the purpose of an intervention is: to help make an addict aware of the way that their addiction and their addictive behavior is affecting the people in their life. This is not a time for blame or anger.

It is very easy, however, to lose sight of the intention of an intervention when emotions run high, so making a list ahead of time of everything you would like to say can help make sure that you avoid statements that come from a place of anger. Most importantly, the subject of the intervention must answer some questions sincerely. Reality does not always set in at the onset of the intervention, and time must pass for the subject to come to full grips with reality regarding their addiction.

Talk To Others Who May Have Been Affected By Your Loved One’s Addiction

Chances are there are a number of people in your loved one’s life who are being affected by their behavior. Approach the people who you believe may also be interested in attending an intervention. Once you know who would like to be in attendance, tell everyone who is interested that they may join you when you visit the professional interventionist so that the whole group may strategize together. Approaching others should always come, however, from a place of helping the addict and not gossiping about them.

Assess When The Best Time And Place For An Intervention Is

Ideally, an intervention should occur at a place where an addict feels that they are in a safe place and will not feel threatened. It is very likely that an addict may become angry or defensive at the onset of an intervention, so choosing a location where they feel safe can help minimize feelings of vulnerability on the part of the addict.

It is also preferable that the addict be sober at the time of the intervention so that they can process the information that is being given to them as calmly and rationally as possible. For many addicts, mornings are the time when they may be most likely to be sober. If you live with an addict, take not of the moments they seem to be sober.

Dissociative Disorders Guide

Posted on: May 18th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Within the spectrum of mental illness there are certain categories such as dissociative disorders which can include a number of different conditions related to the general issue of dissociation.  People with severe trauma in some cases will use dissociation as a defense mechanism that allows them to detach from immediate surroundings or from their own physical and emotional experience.

Dissociative disorders usually involve disruptions of memory, awareness, identity or perception and it occurs pathologically or involuntarily. Although there are a few different types of dissociative disorders, the most well-known is dissociative identity disorder which was once called multiple personality disorder.

Every type of dissociative disorder involves some type of detachment from the self that began to develop as a response to extreme stress or trauma early in life. With treatment, many of the symptoms of these types of disorders can be more manageable and people can begin to gain control over the dissociative process.

multiple personality disorderTypes of Dissociative Disorders

There are a few different conditions that involve a pattern of dissociation in response to stress and they each have their own unique set of symptoms. The most commonly discussed type is called dissociative identity disorder (formerly multiple personality disorder) and it involves a person having two or more alternating identities with the main or “host” personality being unaware of the other personalities or when they emerge.

There are other, lesser known types of dissociative disorders including dissociative amnesia which involves a temporary loss of recall or episodic memory due to a traumatic or stressful event. Another disorder called dissociative fugue is actually a type of dissociative amnesia that is reversible and is often accompanied by the establishment of a new identity. The last type of dissociative disorder is called depersonalization disorder and it causes periods of detachment from the self or surroundings which may be experienced as “unreal” with limited awareness.

Is Dissociative Identity Disorder Real?

One of the most controversial and misunderstood types of mental illnesses is dissociative identity disorder because of the myths surrounding the condition. Some stories in the media or even discussions from mental health professionals may question whether dissociative identity disorder is a real illness.

Unfortunately there is a lack of education and training in this disorder for some people in mental health and they may mistakenly believe that patients with DID are inventing their memories of abuse. The reality is that dissociative identity disorder is a very real and debilitating problem and patients sometimes only remember certain aspects or episodes of their abuse. It is actually very rare for patients to falsely “remember” abuse that never occurred but rather they will remember pieces of real trauma that caused them to develop different identities.

What is Dissociative Identity Disorder?

In order to combat the myths about dissociative identity disorder, it is important to know more about the illness itself and how it affects people. The condition is characterized by two or more distinct identities and personalities which are present in the same individual and have power over their behavior.

A person with this disorder will have memory variations which fluctuate with the alternating personalities. Each personality will have its own name, age, sex, and race as well as their own postures, gestures and distinct way of talking. When a person switches identity, their own main personality will be unaware and not remember anything that they said or did while acting as another identity. The personalities often serve to help the individual cope with problems in their life and new identities may emerge as a result of painful or difficult events.

Dissociative Identity Disorder Symptoms

Dissociative Identity Disorder SymptomsAlthough movies and TV may depict multiple personalities as being very exaggerated and overstated, real dissociative identity disorder is actually much more subtle. It may not be so obvious when someone has the disorder but there are certain symptoms and signs which may indicate that they need to be diagnosed. One of the major symptoms of this disorder is the tendency to have occasional amnesia after they enter different identities of states of being.

Someone with DID will often be unable to recall things that they have said or done beyond simple forgetfulness. They may also enter trances or have “out of body experiences” when they switch identities or seem to space out for periods of time. Other symptoms of DID can include depression, mood swings, headache and time loss. When someone’s behavior and personality changes dramatically but they seem to have no knowledge of this happening then it could indicate dissociative identity disorder.

Causes of Dissociative Identity Disorder

Although many mental illnesses lack a definite cause, dissociative identity disorder is one type of illness that is thought to develop due to specific environmental circumstances. In an overwhelming 97 percent of cases of DID, patients reported a history of abuse. Although the disorder can sometimes run in families, it has no known biological cause and is thought to be a result mainly of early childhood trauma. Most patients with dissociative identity disorder have a personal history of recurring, overpowering, severe and often life-threatening traumas including physical or sexual abuse before the age of nine or extreme neglect and emotional abuse. People who experience dissociation often were raised by parents who were frightening and unpredictable. People who develop the disorder tend to have these experiences at an early age along with a stronger tendency to dissociate reflected in the fact that they are easily hypnotized.

Taking a Dissociative Disorder Test

If you are concerned that you or someone you love has been experiencing symptoms of dissociative identity disorder or any other type of dissociation then it might be time to get an assessment from a professional. Prior to making an appointment you can begin by taking a self-assessment test or asking your loved one to do a screening test online. This will give you a better idea of whether the symptoms could potentially indicate a disorder.

These types of test are by no means a diagnosis and they are not a true clinical exam but merely a way to determine if a serious assessment by a psychiatrist is necessary. If you score high for having a dissociative disorder on the test then you should seek a medical professional to help you get an evaluation and diagnosis. Once you receive a diagnosis you can then take the steps towards getting treatment for the disorder and reducing symptoms with psychotherapy.

Dissociative Identity Disorder Treatment Methods

Although DID is a very complex disorder with multiple symptoms, it is possible through treatment to help patients function better in their daily lives. As with many mental illnesses, the main component of treatment for dissociative identity disorder is psychotherapy with a licensed professional therapist who is specially trained for this type of illness.

Therapists often work with patients to help them become more comfortable with difficult emotions such as anxiety or painful memories so that they can decrease negative responses and be less likely to dissociate. They might use techniques such as dialectical or cognitive behavior therapy to increase mindfulness and soothe the patient so that they can confront emotional issues.

Although some therapists may try to “reintegrate” multiple personalities into one single identity, not all patients are willing to take this step. Therapists might instead focus on helping them increase control over their other personalities and create a more peaceful co-existence with their different identities.

Medication for Dissociative Identity Disorder

The core of treatment for DID is through plenty of psychotherapy sessions, but medication may also be used in some cases to help minimize symptoms. Many people with dissociative identity disorder have co-occurring symptoms that go along with their conditionDissociative Identity Disorder Treatment Methods such as depression, anxiety, anger and impulse control problems.

These can be treated with various types of medication such as anti-depressants such citalopram or sertraline and anxiety medication such as Xanax and valium. For people with DID who have manic or violent behavior, depressants can be helpful in diminishing the hyperactivity of the brain and also prevent seizures which can sometimes occur with the disorder.

Issues with anger and impulse control can be minimized with anti-psychotic medication which can help tranquilize and stabilize the mood. While medication can help reduce some of these co-occurring symptoms, these should only be supplemental to treatment that is mainly focused on therapy.

Enrolling in Dissociative Disorder Treatment

Because it is such a difficult disorder to live with, it is often helpful for people to enter residential treatment for dissociative disorder for a period of time. Living in a treatment facility allows them to receive 24 hour care from a team of professionals that are specially trained to understand people with DID. Treatment centers usually focus on treating patients holistically so that every aspect of their mental and physical health will improve as they stay in the facility.

Each patient will have a treatment plan that caters to their individual needs and offers specific behavioral therapies that are designed to improve the symptoms of DID. Many treatment programs offer alternative types of treatment that can ease stress and provide therapeutic benefits. The amount of time spent in the treatment center can depend on each individual case but a period of a few months will allow them time to understand their disorder and learn how to handle the symptoms.

The Identities of Dissociative Personality Disorder

Even though treatment can help ease some of their suffering, not all patients with DID will be able to rid themselves of their alternate identities. Many of them have been dissociating since a very young age and their other personalities have helped them escape and cope with severe physical and mental abuse. Their alternate identities are a type of survival tactic or defense mechanism that makes it easier for them to deal with very painful experiences. For example, many people with DID will develop a personality that is tough and strong or willing to fight back in a way that the individual is not able to do. In fact, a legendary pro football star named Herschel Walker has openly discussed his own experiences with DID and certain personalities that he developed which made him stronger and more competitive after being bullied as a child.

Recovery from Dissociative Identity Disorder

Since it may not always be possible to integrate each of a patient’s different personalities back into one single identity, recovery focuses more on overall mental well-being. There is often one or more personalities within an individual that are dealing with the bulk of their pain and anger at being abused as children.

Reaching these specific personalities during therapy and helping them deal with their emotions can relieve some of the suffering that they are burdened with. Some patients may choose not to integrate their personalities and instead want to improve harmony among their different identities.

For those that would like to integrate, therapists can help them recognize each personality as a fractured part of themselves that should be embraced rather than eliminated. Integration often means dissolving the barrier between different states so that patients can come to terms with different parts of their identity.

Coping with Dissociative Identity Disorder

Even though DID is a disorder that can cause a lot of personal problems, with treatment and therapy people can still live very normal lives. Those living with dissociative identity disorder can still perform jobs with high level responsibilities and contribute to society in a number of different professional environments. They can also have very functional and fulfilling relationships with others including spouses or partners.

When people with DID learn how to handle their feelings of stress, depression and anxiety they can minimize their dissociation and take more control of their lives to feel healthier and more productive. Therapy can help people cope with their different identities by making them all aware of one another so that they can exist together and work cooperatively. With healing and therapy, DID does not mean having to hide from society due to your condition.

You can work and live a normal life without fear or shame after completing treatment for DID.

Advantages of a Men’s Drug Rehab

Posted on: May 16th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Advantages of a Men's Drug Rehab

For many people in recovery, few parts of the rehab experience prove more helpful in supporting their sobriety than community. By engaging with other people also struggling with their addiction and substance abuse, you learn you are not alone, receive advice from other people facing similar situations, and begin to build up a network of supportive friends you can turn to when things get hard.

Though a lot of the time in rehab will be spent focusing on yourself, much of the benefits of the process come from not being alone. Many rehab centers are gender-specific, open only to men or women. If you are male, here are some of the reasons why a men-only rehab might give you a better rehab experience.

How Gender Affects Addiction: A 2009 survey by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that one in ten men abused an illicit drug, compared to only one in fifteen women. Men are more likely to engage in substance abuse, more likely to develop serious physical or physiological problems from their drug use, and more likely to be driven to angry and violent behavior because of their substance abuse.

Furthermore, certain treatments have been shown to more effective for most women then most men. Many men are less comfortable with the deep and direct sharing their emotions in traditional group therapy. Alternatives such as art or music therapy, engaging in physical activities together, or sports that build trust and bonding are often more effective at getting men to dig deep into themselves.

Focus on Men’s Issues: Addiction affects people of all genders and walks of life, but the way forward is not the same for everyone. This is because men and women face different challenges, and different social pressures that are manifested in the ways addiction festers and disrupts life. Men are often more likely to need help managing anger, whereas women may struggle with low self-worth. Without confronting the reality of socialized gender differences, many issues related to recovery may go unaddressed.

In a men’s recovery facility, you are able to appreciate commonalities in how you process information, express emotion, and view the world around you. This common ground can help you reveal many important things about the recovery program that will work best for you.

Safety and Honesty: Masculinity can often be a mask. From the time we are little boys, we are often punished for revealing emotions, expected to be “big and strong,” never reveal weakness or victimhood, and never admit we need help from anyone else. These lies often cause men to repress internal pain, ignoring the ways they hurt, and hiding their traumas from both the world and themselves. In a men’s recovery group, you have the opportunity to let go of the mask. You must admit your weaknesses and vulnerabilities, going against tremendous social conditioning.

Fortunately, a lot of other men are right there with you, and they will treat you with respect and show you a non-judgmental attitude that lets you know that you are safe. Together, you are working on a new way to be men, one rooted in honesty, self-reflection, and respect for each other. Admitting you need to change, and taking the steps to seek a lifetime of sobriety is a sign of strength, not weakness. When engaging with the opposite sex, many people are more likely to speak with less candor or comfort, even without intending to. Being in a group of men can help you feel more free to speak your own mind.

For all these reasons, a men-only drug rehab facility can be very advantageous to many men ready to begin the recovery process. A good treatment should not just stick you in with the same program as everyone else, but take into consideration your unique challenges

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