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 November, 2017

Sober Living Guide

Posted on: November 27th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Sober Living

For anyone that has gone through rehab, going back to your normal life can be an intimidating transition. Even though you might have made a lot of progress in your work at the treatment center, you could have a lot of legitimate concerns about going back home. There may be certain people or situations that you are worried about facing.

Sober living is something that takes a lot of time and practice to feel comfortable in. After completing rehab, don’t expect to feel totally confident right away when you go back home and deal with day to day stresses. Even though it might be hard, there are steps you can take to become more stable in your sobriety while living on your own.

There are many aspects of your life that you will have to learn how to deal with as a sober person. Your job, spending time with friends and family, or just getting through each day can be difficult when you have been accustomed to using substances for a long period of time. You may be faced with a lot of triggers and not know how to handle them at first.

Sober living is a learning process that will require your energy and commitment. As long as you stay focused on your goal of being sober and living a healthier lifestyle then you can safely get through the most difficult triggers and cravings. There are plenty of strategies that can help you make it through your transition from rehab to living sober on your own.

Attending an Aftercare Program

If you feel particularly stressed or afraid of what will happen after you leave rehab, then take advantage of any aftercare programs that your treatment center offers. Most addiction treatment facilities provide some kind of option for former patients to continue receiving help and support in the first few months after they leave. Addiction treatment specialists understand how difficult it can be to return home and face numerous triggers so they are there to provide any kind of support you need.

Aftercare programs differ at each treatment center but most will allow you to continue coming back periodically so that you can speak to a therapist or a support group about the struggles you are facing at home. Aftercare may also offer important education opportunities such as relapse prevention which will teach former patients the tools that they can use if they are on the brink of a relapse. With relapse prevention you can learn about what to do in any situation where you feel overwhelmed by triggers.

Another reason aftercare programs can be beneficial following treatment is that they can also offer support for your family members. If there is tension in your household or your family members are not sure how to handle the issues you are dealing with then they can receive training and guidance. The more that your family understands about addiction and sober living, the more support and help you will have at home in difficult times.

The most important aspect of aftercare is having a place to talk or a channel of communication with people that you trust. You will be going through a lot when you go home and having professionals to talk to can help relieve stress and give you an outlet for your feelings. You can receive the guidance that you need and talk through all of your issues with people that understand.

Being Part of a Sober Community

Sober CommunityAs you attend aftercare and learn how to cope with your issues at home, it can be helpful to start establishing a support system by getting involved in a sober community. You can begin by finding a twelve step program in your local area where you can start to connect with other people going through the same issues that you are. Support group meetings are a great place to meet people you care about and make lifelong friends.

It is crucial when you go back home after rehab to have other sober friends that you can talk to in times of stress. If all of your friends still drink or use drugs then you will have no one you can rely on for support when you are struggling to stay sober. Make sure that you are a part of a sober community and have sober friends or mentors so that you have people in your life that can help keep you on track.

In some cases, building up your recovery community and network of friends that support you can mean ending some toxic relationships. You want to be surrounded by people that provide a positive influence and are there for you when you need them. If someone in your life proves to be a bad friend, a negative influence on you or doesn’t support your sobriety then it might be time to move on.

With a network of sober people you can start to feel more confident and secure whenever things get difficult. You will know that you always have someone to talk to should you experience a serious trigger or craving. Make a list of sober friends you can call whenever you are in a bad place and stay connected with them as often as possible.

Finding New Hobbies and Activities

As you spend time with your new sober friends you might start to think about what activities you can get involved in to keep life interesting and fun. Since much of your free time may have been spent engaging in substance abuse in the past, you may have to start developing new hobbies. This can be a positive experience as you can try things you have never done before and maybe even find something you love.

If there were certain activities you did in rehab that you enjoyed such as art therapy, music, hiking, swimming etc then you can continue to pursue these. Rehab is a time where people are often introduced to new experiences through the programs various classes and scheduled activities. If there was something you did in rehab that made you happy then make it a regular part of your life.

Planning group activities with your sober friends can also be a great way to keep yourself busy and learn how to have fun without the use of any substances. Instead of going to bars and parties as you might have in the past you can think of other group activities that don’t involve any alcohol. You can plan a group hike, go bowling, have a game night, go to a museum or even go on a camping trip together.

There are endless possibilities when it comes to finding hobbies and activities that don’t involve alcohol or drugs. You will find that being sober can actually open doors to things that you never thought of trying that actually make you feel much more happy and fulfilled.

Ongoing Therapy Sessions

After completing rehab it may be hard to go back to your normal life without having someone guiding you at every step. Some people need extra support in order to get through the painful transition to sobriety. Continuing to go to a therapist on a regular basis can be beneficial for mental and emotional health.

Living sober can be especially difficult if you have any mental health issues, personal problems or unresolved conflict. Having a therapist to talk to can give you the mental stability and guidance that you need as you continue to work through your problems. People with co-occurring disorders will need to have a therapist that they see regularly to prevent their mental illness from interfering with their recovery.

While your therapy sessions during rehab may have taken place every day, you may be able to continue to see a therapist on a weekly basis for support. Many people rely on therapy to help them work through the problems that they experience every day regardless of what their status is in recovery. Make sure to find a therapist that specializes in addiction recovery and has experience with helping people maintain their sobriety.

SoberGetting Involved and Helping Other Addicts

Sometimes a great way to stay on track with your sobriety is to be involved in giving back to your community. Doing something for others and providing your time, support and generosity can actually help strengthen your own sobriety. Giving back to others especially those in the sober community can be a transformative experience that helps to heal negative thoughts and emotions.

Volunteering in any way you can will help you avoid returning to unhealthy habits because it holds you accountable and creates a feeling of positivity and purpose in your life. You can work as a mentor to someone who is newly sober or work with organizations that need volunteers for charity events. Any way that you can give back will give you a chance to forget about your own issues and work to help someone else.

While they are in the midst of an addiction, addicts can become very self-centered and motivated by their own needs and pursuit of feeling good. Volunteering and working to help someone else can combat those selfish tendencies and help you focus your attention on others rather than focusing solely on yourself. Helping out in any way you can will create a feeling of gratitude that is very important in the process of recovery and sober living.

Finding Your Spirituality

Many rehab programs and support groups include some type of spiritual aspect that can help people feel more positive in recovery. Spirituality is important to maintain in sober living because it prevents a feeling of emptiness or lack of meaning that can be dangerous and negative. Anyone who wants to maintain their sobriety will benefit from some type of spiritual practice.

Being spiritual does not necessarily mean that you need to follow any particular religion or go to a church. Spirituality can be very personal and can take many different forms depending on the individual. If there are certain ideas, teachings or practices that you feel connected to spiritually then pursue those as often as you can.

Sometimes spirituality can be as simple as meditating daily to keep your mind and spirit calm. Those without a spiritual practice may feel lost and struggle to find meaning in their lives. As long as you have some sense of spiritual connection then you will find it easier to live a sober lifestyle.

Focus on Sobriety

No matter what you discover in terms of hobbies, spirituality and a sober community the most important thing is to keep sobriety as your number one goal. Remember that you need to take care of yourself and do all that you can to prevent yourself from relapsing. Although relapse can happen and it is possible to recover from it, you should do your best to maintain your sobriety permanently.

If you find yourself in any situation or around any people that you feel are putting your sobriety in jeopardy then make sure to put your recovery first. Never put any one thing above your sobriety as it is thing that matters most at this point in your life. If there are any people that you don’t trust or feel are not being supportive enough in your efforts to become sober then you might need to take a break from them.

Keep in mind that even though it might feel hard to stay sober in the early months, over time it will get much easier. The longer that you are sober, the more confident you will become in your ability to remain a sober person permanently. You will become adjusted to the sober lifestyle and feel more comfortable every day as you grow more accustomed to your new habits.

As you develop your sober routine you will eventually that your life is happier and more fulfilled than it ever was when you were struggling with addiction. Sober living can be a healthier and more enjoyable than you have ever felt in your life before.

Is Your Family Member’s Addiction the Elephant in the Room?

Posted on: November 25th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

When someone close to you is dealing with an addiction it can be hard to find a way to cope with it. No one wants to intrude in someone’s personal life or tell them that they are making bad choices especially if you have a complicated history with them. When a family member has an addiction, everyone around them may know that something is wrong but they simply don’t know what to say or do to help them.

As you witness an addict’s behavior it may be painful to watch and it may even harm your family. When no one chooses to confront the person, their addiction becomes the elephant in the room. It is something that is on everyone’s mind but no one dares to speak up about the situation in spite of what they are going through.

Although it may be difficult and uncomfortable to bring up the subject, talking to an addict about their behavior and how it affects others is an important job. Without some perspective about their substance abuse they may continue to go down a path of denial and retreat further into their addiction. Instead of continuing to avoid dealing with the problem, family members who feel genuine concern should make a plan to talk to the addict and get them some help.

Leaving an addict alone to continue their abuse is dangerous for their health and well-being. It is only a matter of time before an addiction starts to impact their job, their physical and mental health and their relationships. Getting an addict help early on can help prevent some of the negative consequences that often occur when people are left to their own devices.

Understanding a Family Member’s Problem

Before you decide to speak with your family member, it is a good idea to research addiction and learn as much as you can. You can look into the signs and symptoms of addiction to a particular substance and see if you notice any of them in your loved one. Observe their behavior closely and try to evaluate them objectively before you choose to confront them about their abuse.

You can also share your observations with other family members and close friends to see what their insight is into their problem. They may have a different understanding of the disease and have an idea of how to approach things. If everyone agrees that they need to get help for the person then you might reach out to a substance abuse professional for more information about what to do.

In the process of dealing with a family member’s addiction, it is important first of all to take care of yourself and make sure that you are emotionally stable. When you have more clarity and awareness about the situation it will be easier to handle whatever issues come up with your loved one. Talk to a therapist about what you have been going through with the addict and about your decision to get help for them.

How to Talk to an Addict

Is Your Family Member’s Addiction the Elephant in the Room?

When you feel ready to discuss the issue and address the elephant in the room you need to be careful when you approach the subject. If you are in a good place yourself and are able to express real concern and love rather than anger or resentment then you are more likely to be successful in the discussion. Although you might be frightened of the consequences in bringing up the problem, if you are well-prepared the conversation might actually be quite productive.

There are certain guidelines to follow when talking to a person with an addiction. Firstly, never talk to them when they are under the influence but instead wait for a moment when they are sober and can take in everything you are saying. You should wait for a good time to talk to them when you are both alone and not busy so that you can spend some time discussing things.

It is a good idea to emphasize how much you care about this person and that you only want the best for them. Try to avoid being judgemental or condescending so that they don’t become defensive. Use open ended questions so that the conversation is a dialogue and they don’t feel that they are being lectured.

By the end of the conversation you can try to discern if you have made some progress with them. If they seem open to it you can suggest treatment or support group meetings that might help them. If they seem like they are not ready to confront their problem then you can regroup and perhaps stage an intervention at a later time.

If you are not sure how to approach a discussion with an addict then you can talk to a substance abuse professional about what strategies may be the best to take.

Are Holidays the Right Time to Stage an Intervention?

Posted on: November 20th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Are Holidays the Right Time to Stage an Intervention?

The holidays are a time when family reunites and though they might enjoy their time together they also must deal with unresolved conflict in some cases. Families who are concerned about someone’s alcohol or drug use might wonder if they can use the holidays as an opportunity to reach out to them. As long as it is planned thoughtfully and carefully, there is no reason why you can’t stage an intervention during the holidays.

In fact, the holidays may present a prime opportunity to talk to someone about their substance abuse. The family may already be worried about how to handle this person’s drinking at family gatherings or consider not inviting them at all. Instead of avoiding the problem or pretending it isn’t there for the sake of getting through the holiday, it may be time to deal with the issue head on.

An intervention during the holidays makes sense for a number of reasons. The family is already gathered together including relatives that live far away and whose presence may have more of an impact on the addict. Having lots of family members around can create more awareness about the addict’s behavior when they see how problematic their substance abuse has become.

Interventions always work best when there is a group of people present who have genuine concern and want to provide positive support for the individual struggling with addiction. A bigger group of loving family members who want the best for their niece/nephew, grandchild, cousin, etc will make the intervention more meaningful. Strong family bonds can help break through the thought process of the addict and help them see that they need treatment.

How to Organize an Intervention

The important thing to keep in mind when you are considering an intervention is that it must be thoroughly planned beforehand to prevent any problems from coming up. A poorly planned intervention can leave the situation unchanged or even cause the issue to become worse. Give yourself ample time to start working on the intervention and contacting everyone that you want to include before the holidays come up.

The first step in staging an intervention is educating yourself on addiction and how to approach the conversation about their substance abuse. Gather as much information as you can so that you are not entering the situation blindly. Try to research their particular problem and the methods of treatment so that you know how to discuss the topic of getting help with them.

As you research and learn more about addiction you can start gathering people together who feel the same way as you do about the situation. Make sure to find people that you think can get through to the person but also confirm that they have a solid understanding of how to approach the problem as well. Avoid including anyone that has a lot of anger and resentment toward the addict and might create a highly charged scenario.

Once you have a group of people that you feel that you can trust with putting together an intervention, make sure that everyone is on the same page about what to say and how to talk to the addict. Set a date and location as well as a structured plan so that you feel confident about the group doing their best and succeeding in getting the person help. It might be a good idea to include some non-family members so that they can focus more on the facts of the situation and have less of an emotional response.

Getting Treatment for an Addict

The ultimate goal of any intervention is to make sure that the addict is able to admit that they have a problem and need to get treatment. Before the event takes place make sure that you research a local treatment center and can quickly get the person admitted to the program immediately after the intervention is complete. Waiting too long could result in the person changing their mind or continuing their abuse as they delay their treatment.

At the intervention you can present the addict with the treatment options you have researched beforehand. You can tell them about the treatment and ask them to accept on the spot so that there is no time wasted. Ideally, the addict will say yes to the treatment center and you can get them enrolled right away to complete their initial detox process.

If you are at all concerned about staging a successful intervention you can find a professional interventionist to help you with every phase of the process. They can assist you with setting up and completing an intervention during the holidays. Consulting with any addiction professional can help you ensure that your intervention will go smoothly and your loved one will get the help that they need.

Why are American Teenagers Suffering from Anxiety?

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

Why are American Teenagers Suffering from Anxiety?

Anxiety is on the rise in the U.S. and it’s not only adults who are dealing with this devastating mental health issue. More teenagers than ever are suffering from symptoms of anxiety in a way that significantly interferes with their life. Therapists agree that it is a widespread issue and assert that anxiety is the most common reason that adolescents seek psychological help.

Over the last decade, anxiety has surpassed depression as the most common mental health issue among young people. The American College Health Association discovered a significant increase from 50 percent to 62 percent of undergraduates reporting overwhelming anxiety. In the past thirty years the number of incoming college freshman feeling overwhelmed by their responsibilities increased from 18 percent to 41 percent.

In addition to these startling statistics, the number of hospital admissions for suicidal teenagers doubled over the last ten years. What is causing so many young people to struggle with anxiety? For the people involved in treating them and caring for these kids, the answer is not easy to explain.

Part of the reason for the dramatic rise in anxiety can be due to the increase in awareness about symptoms and diagnosis of the problem. More young people may be aware that they are dealing with this problem and are seeking help for their anxiety. But this cannot account fully for the surge of anxious teens that has taken place in recent years.

Modern Life and Pressure

One possible explanation for the rise in anxiety among teens can be due to changes in our culture and the ways that parents raise children in the modern world. Teens are used to escaping from any kind of loneliness or boredom through the help of television, video games and electronic devices. This disconnection from their emotions can actually cause anxiety to increase because they will have trouble handling any uncomfortable feelings.

Children that spend too much time online, using their smartphones or hanging out on social media have less of an opportunity to develop crucial coping skills that can help minimize their feelings of anxiety. Some therapists theorize that electronic devices make it harder for children to develop mental strength and awareness that would help them deal with everyday challenges.

Another concern regarding teenage anxiety is that adolescents are given too much pressure to succeed and learn academically but they aren’t taught valuable emotional skills that they need to handle their many responsibilities. Teenagers often feel emotionally unprepared for college by the time they graduate high school and struggle with stress and time management. They may feel immense pressure to succeed in school and can’t live up to the high standards that they feel they must achieve.

Parenting Tactics, Peer Pressure and Anxiety

Another theory as to why teens may be dealing with more anxiety than they did in the past is that parenting styles have changed over time. Parents now may be more protective of their children and are preventing kids from experiencing uncomfortable challenges that can make them more prepared for the trials they will have later in life. Kids may believe that they are too fragile to handle the realities of life because they were overprotected by their parents while they were growing up.

Teens are also dealing with a lot of pressure to measure up to their peers and the lives that they present on social media. Teenagers are now comparing themselves to others and to the perfect versions of their friends that they believe they are seeing online. Kids sometimes obsessively follow one another online, worrying about whether they measure up to their peers which can generate a lot of distress.

Teenagers become hooked on social media and may not even realize how much it is affecting their mood. They feel more self-conscious, worry about being judged and yet spend hours on their phone in spite of feeling badly about themselves. The anxiety that teenagers experience due to their behaviors online can be considerable.

Treating Teen Anxiety

More kids are aware that their anxiety is interfering with their school work and causing problems for them in their personal life. Teens that reach out for help need to receive professional treatment from a qualified therapist. A combination of therapy and medication may be helpful in alleviating most of their anxiety.

In individual therapy sessions, teens can start to learn some of the coping skills that they may have failed to learn when they were growing up. They can develop strategies to effectively deal with their anxiety and prevent it from building into a more severe problem. Teens can benefit from the guidance of a mental health professional that can help them build up self-esteem and emotional stability.

If a teenager in your life is struggling with anxiety, find treatment from a therapist as soon as possible.

How Early Can Bipolar Disorder Be Diagnosed?

Posted on: November 15th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is one of the most complex and often misdiagnosed mental disorders in the world. People often struggle for years or even decades before getting an accurate diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Because the symptoms of the disorder shift between different phases, physicians may miss certain aspects of the person’s illness and wrongfully give them a diagnosis of depression, ADHD or other disorders often confused with bipolar disorder.

It is important to get an accurate diagnosis as early as possible but it can be difficult with the many changing symptoms that a bipolar person experiences. Fortunately it is possible to diagnose bipolar disorder even in childhood although it is more likely to be diagnosed in adolescents and young adults. Children can actually experience many symptoms of early onset bipolar disorder but it may take time for their family to realize that there is a problem.

Identifying bipolar disorder in young children can be complicated because kids may manifest the symptoms differently than adults do. For example, during manic episodes children may be more likely to be irritable and prone to destructive outbursts rather than experiencing the kind of euphoria that adults do. During a depressive phase they might have more physical complaints such as headaches, muscle aches, stomach aches or tiredness.

Parents may be aware that something is wrong when their child is experiencing these symptoms but may not be able to tie it to a mental illness like bipolar disorder because it may not look like depression or mania. A psychiatrist who specializes in childhood mental health may be able to identify the symptoms if they have experience with early onset bipolar disorder. Kids who are treated early for their mental illness are likely to fare better later in life and live more functionally with their disorder.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder in Children

Kids might find it hard to express what they are experiencing and adults may not understand a complicated disorder like manic depression. However there are certain signs which may indicate that a child is beginning to develop bipolar disorder and needs to receive psychiatric attention. Manic symptoms can differ greatly from depression so it is important to know the difference.

Manic symptoms in children include:

  • Severe mood swings that are different from their normal mood changes
  • Hyperactive behavior and increased energy
  • Impulsive or aggressive behavior
  • Decreased need for sleep, not feeling tired after very little sleep
  • Distracted and having trouble focusing on one thing
  • Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
  • Involvement in risky behaviors or activity

Depressive symptoms include

  • Sad or irritable mood
  • Physical complaints about aches and pains
  • Significant change in appetite or body weight
  • Loss of energy
  • Sleep problems, either too much or too little
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt

Children with bipolar disorder may struggle in school, performing poorly or taking frequent absences because of their symptoms. They may also be socially isolated from their peers, have conflict in their family life and talk about running away from home. In their teenage years, kids might start to use alcohol or drugs to self-medicate and help them cope with the disorder.

Childhood Bipolar Disorder

Since most people are diagnosed with bipolar disorder later in life, children who exhibit symptoms of the illness are thought to have a more severe form of the disorder. Those with adult onset bipolar disorder may have less dramatic symptoms. Childhood bipolar disorder may involve a continuous and rapid-cycling mixed symptom state that can easily be confused with or have co-occurring disorders.

Adults tend to have more stable periods between episodes of mania and depression but children who develop bipolar disorder before puberty may have more frequent episodes. They might experience their mania episode along with symptoms ADHD or other hyperactivity problems. Children with a co-occurring disorder will need special care and treatment for both illnesses.

Treating Bipolar Disorder

No matter what age the onset of bipolar disorder begins, it is crucial to get an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment as soon as possible. A child with excessive mood changes and angry outbursts will cause problems at school and may have trouble socializing and succeeding academically. Kids need specialized treatment from a facility or a psychiatrist that is experienced with childhood bipolar disorder.

Children require a lot of support in order to get the help that they need for bipolar disorder. A doctor may prescribe medication and provide them with counseling from a child psychologist that can help them with their mood changes. Early treatment can help prevent serious consequences and decrease the impact that the disorder has on a child’s mental health.

Although bipolar disorder is a difficult illness, it is possible to make symptoms much more manageable with treatment. If you are concerned that you or your child is suffering from bipolar disorder, contact a treatment center right away.