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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Archive for June, 2014

Naltrexone Now Used To Help Cravings

Posted on: June 19th, 2014 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Heroin is one of the most addictive and dangerous narcotics available on the black market. Unfortunately, the last few years have seen a dramatic spike in the number of individuals suffering from heroin addiction, and medical professionals and counselors at drug treatment facilities have made a major effort to search for more efficient and permanent means of treating heroin addiction in order to lower instances of individuals who have sought treatment suffering relapses.

Medication has long been a go-to method for treating heroin addiction, in part because  heroin withdrawals are often so severe that medication is indeed required to help ease some of withdrawal’s more uncomfortable symptoms. One of the most popular medications currently being used by substance abuse doctors to treat dependency is a drug called Naltrexone.

What is Naltrexone?

Naltrexone is a medication that effects the brain’s reward center by essentially keeping it from reaping any of the benefits or rewards from heroin or opiates. Many addicts find that this is extremely helpful, as the reward generated from use and the reward center’s subsequent compulsion with said reward are essentially what constitutes addiction. When the brain’s reward center no longer receives the sensation from the drug it craves that it once did, an addict may be far less likely to use or to face the temptation to use.

In this way, Naltrexone works slightly differently than other drugs that are commonly prescribed to addicts: methadone and buprenorphine, which work on the brain by simulating the experience of being under the influence of heroin or opiates without inducing many of the severe effects or dangers. These drugs can help diminish the severity of withdrawal symptoms but some drug therapists worry that drugs like methadone may carry too many risks to be an adequate treatment for addiction. It is possible to become addicted methadone, and it it also possible to overdose on it. This is one reason Naltrexone has become the drug of choice at many treatment centers.

Withdrawal Drugs Are Not a Permanent Solution

Drugs like Naltrexone are not intended to be a lifelong treatment for recovering addicts. Rather, they are intended only for use during the initial stages of sobriety when withdrawal symptoms are still occurring and when a recovering addict may be at the highest risk for relapse. It can be very dangerous to withdraw from heroin without professional help, since heroin withdrawal symptoms can be so uncomfortable and can include things like seizures, extreme nausea, and vomiting.

While drugs like Naltrexone can help ease the withdrawal process, they should generally be administered under the care of a doctor who can supervise a patient’s progress and ensure that the drug is being taken correctly. Any person who is ready to detox from heroin should enter a treatment center immediately, as being under the care of a medial staff means that a recovering addict will have adequate support and that they will not be in a position where it is possible to find more heroin and thus relapse.

The Future Of Medication Assisted Withdrawal

As Naltrexone continues to grow in popularity as a way of helping an addict work through the initial stages of sobriety and it seems likely that similar drugs, which focus on eliminating the reward associated with heroin use, may continue to set the standard for what is desired in a withdrawal assistance drug.

Drugs like Naltrexone are certainly viewed by many in the addiction community as an integral part of helping addicts to find healthfulness in a way that is as safe as it is long lasting. With the proper tools, it is possible for any addict to find sobriety.

 

25 New Bills Address Heroin Addiction

Posted on: June 16th, 2014 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Heroin addiction continues to be one of the fastest growing health problems facing a wide variety of cities: from small towns to major metropolitan areas like New York and Washington D.C. Many people whose community has been touched by addictions have turned to government officials for answers as to how to rid their city this deadly drug. In the state of New York, lawmakers are tackling the grave problem of heroin addiction by proposing 25 different laws whose purpose is to minimize or eliminate heroin abuse.

Bills Set To Cover A Wide Variety Of Tactics

Medical professionals, addicts, and their families alike are familiar with the fact know that heroin addiction is a problem that has many different roots and causes. Because of this, fighting heroin abuse will require solutions that are similarly multi-pronged. The bills being proposed to the New York Senate cover a wide variety of programs that will each play a specific and hopefully effective role in helping end the heroin epidemic. Some of the programs, for example, focus on education for people of all ages.

These educational programs are aimed at helping ease the severity of the drug problem through prevention. Many of the prevention programs outlined in this section of the bill focus on programs that can be implemented by public schools. Many other proposed bills focus on the medical aspect of treatment. These bills acknowledge that many of the individuals who are currently struggling with addiction may not have adequate access to services.

A number of the propose bills would put protections into place that would stop a patient from being  denied treatment by their insurance companies. According to one such bill, health insurance companies who dispute the validity of a patient’s claim would be required to continue paying for a patient’s treatment program until said dispute was resolved. Another major aspect of fighting heroin use is eliminating the drugs from the streets. Some of the proposed bills would allow for extra resources for law enforcement, and may include the hiring of new officers and more harsh punishment for dealers.

Some Critics of the Bills

Some residents and political officials in New York state are critical of the proposed bills because they fear that many of them would present substantial costs for the tax payers. Proponents of the bills have addressed critics by saying that fears about costs do not include the bigger picture. Those who support the proposed bills argue that prevention plans will actually be financially advantageous in the long run, as tax payer money associated with arrests and crime as a result of heroin distribution and use may be drastically lowered.

Heroin is a Problem That Impacts All Kinds Of Communities

Sen. Phil Boyle, R-Long Island, is chairman of the New York State Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. He has been adamant about the need for drug prevention legislation because the epidemic is having an effect on New York residents “from Buffalo to Montauk, New York City, rural communities, everywhere throughout the state,”. New York is one of many states struggling with heroin addiction.

Officials in the federal government have recognized the need to attempt to stop the drug from entering the United States. Many experts believe, however, that it is necessary for local governments and state governments to take serious action in order to prevent the use and abuse of heroin in their areas. This will allow for programs that are more tailored for the unique needs of each community. As more laws are passed to help reduce instances of use and abuse, many experts hope this problem will become less severe.

5 Verses From The Bible That Help With Addiction

Posted on: June 12th, 2014 by The Gooden Center No Comments

 

One of the best tools that any recovering addict can keep at the ready is a strong sense of spirituality and a belief in a higher power. Recovery is by no means a simple or easy process, but it is possible for a recovering addict to survive and thrive, especially when they turn to the Bible in some of their more challenging times.

The Bible contains answers and inspiration for any situation or feeling that recovery could bring about. Here are some of the most helpful Bible verses that a recovering addict may turn to.

1. Psalm 27:4-6

One thing I ask from the Lord,

   this only do I seek:

that I may dwell in the house of the Lord

   all the days of my life,

to gaze on the beauty of the Lord

   and to seek him in his temple.

For in the day of trouble

   he will keep me safe in his dwelling;

he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent

   and set me high upon a rock.

Then my head will be exalted

   above the enemies who surround me;

at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;

   I will sing and make music to the Lord.

This verse is a wonderful reminder of the importance of forging a relationship with God and the fact that with God, it is possible to overcome even the most harrowing of situations.

2. John 16:33

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

There are many times in a recovering addict’s life when he must summon courage and find his strongest self. This is a reminder that obstacles are inevitable, but with God anything is possible.

3. 1 Peter 3:11

They must turn from evil and do good;

   they must seek peace and pursue it.

Getting sober means constantly facing the demons that are triggers to use. In the path to become a more healthy and happy person, it is important to continue to seek things that bring peace and joy and to make the constant conscious decision to avoid decisions, people, and situations that are toxic.

4. James 4:10

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

One of the most effective and important things a recovering addict can realize is that he must let go of the idea that he has control over everything. The reality is, of course, that there are countless things in life that no one has control over, and rather than deal with these things by using, it is important to recognize or own powerlessness and to let God take care of us. With this faith will come the strength to lead the lives we want.

5. Corinthians 4:5

Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.

It is important that in the quest to become a healthier and more evolved person, that a conscious effort is made to avoid judging both one’s self and others. There is no place for judgement in recovery, and those who keep an open mind about themselves and the people they encounter are much more likely to have a closer relationship to God and to enjoy all of the help and love that they relationship will bring. With God, a recovering addict can and will find health.

The Danger Of Treating Heroin Addiction With Pharmaceuticals

Posted on: June 10th, 2014 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Heroin addiction is a deadly disease and one that, unfortunately, is plaguing many areas of the country in record numbers. Many communities are struggling to find ways in which this sometimes lethal condition may be treated so that the tragic numbers of deaths related to heroin overdose may be cut down. Like any other kind of addiction, heroin addiction is a complicated disease, and proper treatment requires smart and well thought out strategy.

There are a number of different types of treatment available for individuals struggling with heroin addiction, and finding the right treatment depends on the personality type of the addict. One type of treatment that many addiction therapists are weary of, however, is the use of other drugs to treat heroin addiction. Many doctors argue that this type of treatment may be counter productive and even dangerous.

What Type of Drugs Are Used To Treat Heroin Addiction?

The most commonly used drug in prescription-assisted heroin addiction treatment is methadone. Methadone is in essence a synthetic version of heroin, which means that it satisfies the brain’s reward center’s cravings for heroin without providing the extreme mind altering effects, and, possibly, while being less dangerous than heroin. Unlike heroin, methadone is regulated and dispensed in the form of a tablet. Many communities have methadone clinics, where heroin addicts can be administered methadone to help ease the withdrawal symptoms of heroin.

Another type of medication that is slightly newer than methadone is buprenorphine, which offers similar effects to methadone. A third type of prescription that is available to recovering addicts is naltrexone, which is unique in that it does not simulate heroin use, but rather blocks the effects of heroin and thus ideally removes an addict’s incentive to use.

Mental Dangers Presented By Prescription Options

There appears to be a number of dangers involved in using drugs to treat the addiction to another drug. It is irrefutably true that heroin is a far more dangerous drug than any of its prescription replacements, so the notion that a transition is ideal is not completely misguided. That said, many counselors and therapists warn that when an addict transitions from heroin to another drug, they do not develop the adequate mental skills to remain drug free for life.

The process of recovery is a long and difficult one, and heroin is certainly on of the most painful and uncomfortable drugs that a person can withdraw from, which is why doctors agree that withdrawal should always occur in the context of a treatment facility.

Though heroin withdrawal can be very uncomfortable and difficult, it may be much more advantageous for an addict to completely withdraw and then begin the process in treatment of developing the mental tools necessary to avoid triggers without using. Addicts who successfully do this may be much less likely to relapse.

Physical Dangers Posed By Methadone and Similar Drugs

The other reality of methadone use is that while it is more safe than heroin itself, methadone is by no means a safe drug. It is possible to overdose on methadone and similar medications, and many addicts who use methadone still have the tendency to use to excess, since addiction is a disease that never truly goes away. This means that it is very likely that a person who was at one point addicted to heroin may use methadone to the point of overdosing.

This risk may be especially prevalent among addicts who have begun to administer the drug to themselves, as happens frequently at many clinics after an addict has received their initial few doses. Methadone is simply not a safe option 

 

Religion’s Unique Role In Recovery

Posted on: June 2nd, 2014 by The Gooden Center No Comments

For many recovering addicts, the process of recovery and and achieving sobriety goes hand in hand with having a strong sense of spirituality. Developing a connection with a higher power is an integral part of most twelve step programs, and the second step itself makes reference to a higher Power and they way in which it can help restore recovering addicts to sanity.

Making the decision to regain control of one’s life is certainly one that requires resolve and a strong sense of self, both things that are much easier to attain when done in conjunction with some kind of spiritual or religious practice.

Religion and Strength

It is clear that working through recovery to achieve sobriety requires a tremendous amount of strength and personal resolve. Staying sober means facing constant obstacles in the form of triggers that may tempt a recovering addict to use.

Recovery is a life long process, and while avoiding drugs and alcohol may become more habitual the longer an addict is in recovery, impulses to use will simply always be a part of any addict’s life. For this reason, many addicts find strength and hope in their religious beliefs. Understanding that there is a Higher Power whose plan it is for an addict to succeed in remaining sober can help a recovering addict stay strong through even the most challenging moments of their sobriety.

Letting Go Of Control

Another integral part of recovery is letting go of the things that one does not have control of. Just as an addict must be very clear with himself about the ways in which he does have the power to change his life, he must also understand that part of living means coming across obstacles or challenges that are not in his control. While this thought may bring about a sense of anger or hopelessness to a person who does not have the support of religious beliefs, recovering addicts to recognize that a higher Power has a plan for themselves and those around them can feel less feelings of anger and despair, which helps them to remain focused on making the right decisions to stay safe and sober.

Helping Others

Many people in recovery find that working in the service of others is a wonderful way to continue growing as a person and to continue cultivating the qualities that can help them stay strong and committed to their sobriety. Helping others is a wonderful way to cultivate gratitude because it can draw attention to the things in one’s own life that they have to be grateful for. Serving others also has the effect of making one feel better about themselves.

Self Image

Many studies have shown that there are few things that improve a person’s self image more substantially than doing something to help others. The higher a person’s self image is, the more likely they are to successfully avoid drugs and alcohol. Depression is one of the most formidable triggers to use, and depression is very closely correlated with having a low self image. Having a form of religion in one’s life helps a recovering addict commit more acts of service for a number of reasons.

Firstly, many religious groups organize service events that make it easy to find ways to give back to the community and to stay mindful of the importance of helping others. Many religions also stress the importance of committing acts of kindness and selflessness and can provide some powerful inspiration to recovering addicts as they continue their journey to improve as people and to find new ways of evolving and enjoying the life sobriety affords them.