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 December, 2017

Who Needs to Know About My Mental Health Diagnosis?

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

Who Needs to Know About My Mental Health Diagnosis?

If you have recently received a diagnosis of a mental illness then you might feel concerned about experiencing the stigma surrounding your particular problem. Mental illness in general can be an issue that people rarely discuss and you might worry that it will affect people’s perception of you. It is rarely mandatory that you must tell people about your mental illness outside of the medical field but it is something to consider.

There might be people in your life such as friends and loved ones who you might not feel ready to tell about your mental illness. If you are worried about their reaction and the possibility that they will feel scared, hurt or distressed then you can wait for the right time. Ideally, your family and closest friends should eventually know about your issues so that they can better understand you and support you.

Disclosing your mental health issues can feel intimidating but there are many positive reasons why you should share what you are dealing with. For one thing you might receive encouragement and acceptance that will help you feel like less of an outsider. It may feel alienating to have a mental health problem but if your family and friends can show you that they still love you it can help you build confidence.

Talking to other people about what you are going through can also help reduce the stress that you experience as a result of your mental illness. Keeping your symptoms to yourself or constantly trying to hide them will only add to your general stress level. Having people to confide in about your situation can be a very effective coping mechanism in difficult times.

Telling Family and Friends

In general, it might be a good idea to tell people that you live with about your situation. Close family members who live in the household with you might want to know what is going on if they notice any of your behavior. Letting people in your home know about the diagnosis can help them make sense of any problems you currently have or have dealt with in the past.

The first people that you tell should be those that you trust the most with your personal information who you know will be discreet and sympathetic. Siblings, parents and close friends are likely to be the most supportive and understanding. Your parents may be worried and concerned about your well-being but it is important for them to know so that they can support you and be there in case something happens and you need assistance.

You don’t necessarily need to tell everyone in your family if there is someone you don’t live with or don’t see very often. If there is someone in your family who you believe won’t be compassionate or will be harsh about the situation then you can avoid dealing with them for your own peace of mind. You can keep the information within your close circle of people you trust especially in the beginning when you are still in recovery.

Choosing Who to Tell

When it comes to the people outside of your inner circle you might need to weigh the pros and cons about telling someone about your mental illness. You can also consider the pros and cons of not telling them as both situations will have benefits and drawbacks. Thinking everything through beforehand can make you feel more certain that you’ve made the right decision about who to tell.

It is important to keep in mind that not everyone will know how to handle the news that you have a diagnosis. Some people are going to have more emotional understanding and sensitivity about it than others. Some can be supportive and provide you help and guidance while others might be confused and afraid or even try to distance themselves from you if they aren’t able to handle it.

You will need to be very careful about who you disclose your mental illness to at work. It is important to understand your civil rights at work in relation to your mental health condition. Legally your boss and coworkers are not allowed to discriminate against you based on any type of disability including a mental illness. If there are certain accommodations that you need at work you might need to disclose this to your boss so that you can perform your job effectively.

It is up to your discretion to decide who in your personal life needs to know about your mental illness. Make sure to be cautious and exercise self-care so that you feel supported and loved in spite of any challenges you are facing. In most cases, you will have a positive experience and eventually will feel more comfortable in being honest about your situation.

Can Court Ordered Treatment be Helpful for Long Term Sobriety?

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

Can Court Ordered Treatment be Helpful for Long Term Sobriety?

Not everyone who attends rehab for an addiction is doing so voluntarily because they have made a decision to quit. Many people end up quitting drugs as a result of legally mandated treatment ordered by the criminal justice system. Even though it may not be the individual’s personal choice to receive treatment, these kinds of treatment programs can still be very effective at facilitating long-term sobriety.

Drug offenders are often pressured by the court to participate in drug abuse treatment as a way to help rehabilitate them and reduce the population in already over-crowded prisons. Instead of facing jail time, someone who has broken the law with a drug related crime can go to treatment and learn how to manage their addiction. Surprisingly, these types of court ordered treatment situations have success rates that are as good or better than those that lack any kind of legal pressure.

Being ordered to attend rehab depends on the crime and whether the judge and prosecution believes the person will benefit from treatment. Court ordered rehabilitation is mandatory which means that the offender has no other option but to enter a rehab program. Most often, the offender was under the influence of an illicit substance when they committed their crime and the nature of the crime is not severe enough to merit jail time.

People who commit minor crimes while under the influence of drugs might do so because their drug use has impaired their judgement. They also might be stealing or getting involved in some other illegal activity simply to fuel their addiction. In these cases, court ordered drug treatment is a good solution as their criminal behavior is only a result of their substance abuse.

The Effectiveness of Mandatory Rehab

One might assume that because the person is forcibly placed in rehab, that court ordered treatment will have no effect on their recovery. The reality is that many people benefit greatly from attending rehab in this situation. They might face more challenges and risks for relapse when they leave treatment, but it is possible to stay sober long-term following mandatory rehab.

Research has shown that no matter what the circumstances of a person entering rehab, the treatment program itself has the positive potential for success. A study following a group of men who attended rehab either voluntarily or through a court order found that they had similar success rates after five years of living sober. Both groups of men were less likely to relapse and had high sustained abstinence rates.

There are many different reasons why mandatory treatment is still effective for addicts. Most people attend treatment voluntarily do so after they have hit “rock bottom” or have faced some difficult consequence of their addiction. A person who faces potential jail time is dealing with some serious consequences, and might realize that their addiction is what put them into this situation.

People who attend rehab voluntarily are sometimes confronted by people in their lives through an intervention. In this situation they are told that their addiction has become out of hand and that they need to attend treatment. Court ordered treatment is another case in which the individual is told that they would benefit from rehab because their addiction has become harmful to themselves and others.

Mostly, the effectiveness of mandatory rehab is due to the fact that treatment centers can help provide people with the motivation they need to quit. Even if someone did not have enough internal motivation to check themselves into a treatment center, their rehab program can help foster the desire to be sober. Being around people that want to make positive changes can be inspiring and change a person’s mind about their drug use.

Avoiding Relapse

Mandatory treatment can be very effective, but patients must be especially careful to avoid relapse as they often face unique challenges after returning home. People who have committed crimes due to their addiction might have a number of other problems to deal with such as educational and employment issues, mental health problems or financial difficulties. It is important for people to continue receiving support following their court ordered treatment.

Returning home can mean facing triggers and people from the past who may still be involved in drugs or crime. In order to avoid the temptation to return to a criminal lifestyle, the individual must be careful to stay in contact with other sober people from their rehab program or twelve step group. If the rehab center offers an aftercare program then this can be very helpful in preventing relapse.

Anyone charged with a drug related crime will benefit greatly from attending a treatment program as an alternative. Rehab is an inherently positive experience no matter what kind of circumstances led you there.

Managing the Manic Side of Bipolar Disorder

Posted on: December 12th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Managing the Manic Side of Bipolar Disorder

Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder can be devastating because it is a difficult and complex disorder to live with. However, with treatment and management skills it is possible to handle the symptoms and not allow them to interfere with your life. One of the more challenging aspects of bipolar disorder is dealing with manic episodes.

People with bipolar disorder shift between phases of depression and of mania which both have very different sets of symptoms. Most people understand what depression is like and how that can manifest itself in an individual. Mania is a distinct issue that can be just as problematic and make it very difficult to function normally in daily life.

One thing that can make it easier to manage manic episodes is understanding what occurs in your own mania and learning to identify certain warning signs. It can be a good idea to record certain moods and behaviors that tend to occur during and right before a manic episode. When you know your own specific symptoms it can be easier to identify when you are entering the manic phase and start to react with treatment strategies.

Identifying Mania Symptoms and Warning Signs

Every individual with bipolar disorder may experience their mania episodes differently and they will need to get to know the list of their symptoms. Mania can include a number of symptoms that vary depending on the severity of the disorder and the individual person. These are some of the more common symptoms:

  • Being abnormally upbeat or jumpy
  • Increased energy, activity or agitation
  • Inflated ego or exaggerated sense of self-confidence
  • Talking rapidly or excessively
  • Racing thoughts and inability to focus
  • Impulsive behavior such as shopping sprees or making risky investments

If there are certain symptoms that tend to occur when you are experiencing a manic episode then make a list of the ones that affect you the most. When you begin to realize that you are entering a manic phase you might notice these symptoms or certain warning signs that indicate an oncoming episode. Possible warning signs include:

  • Needing less sleep
  • Feeling unusually happy
  • Making unrealistic plans or focusing intensely on a goal
  • Feeling easily distracted
  • Having feelings of self-importance

Over time you will learn to identify the pattern of your symptoms as well your warning signs so that you will have a better idea of when a manic episode is approaching.

Preventing and Managing Symptoms

Although it may not always be possible, doing everything you can to prevent a manic episode from occurring or growing worse can be helpful in managing bipolar disorder. When you identify warning signs you might become aware of certain triggers that are causing those behaviors to occur. You can try your best to avoid the triggers that might cause a severe mood swing to occur.

Self-care and maintaining a healthy routine can also be very helpful in preventing mood swings and manic episodes from becoming a problem. It is very important for people with bipolar disorder to have regular and stable sleep patterns. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can keep your mood stable and prevent chemical changes in your body that could trigger a mood swing.

Because manic episodes often begin with decreased sleep, a healthier sleep pattern can make it easier to identify if your symptoms are developing. Other aspects of daily routine can be important such as eating healthy foods, getting plenty of exercise, and practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga. These kinds of habits can help keep the body and mind stable so that emotions become less extreme.

If you notice any warning signs of a manic episode taking place, try to pay more attention to your health and focus in on any self-care practices that you may have been neglecting. Under no circumstances should a person with a mental illness like bipolar disorder use alcohol or drugs. Substance abuse can worsen and complicate symptoms and are not useful as a form of self-medication even though you might feel tempted to use them for temporary relief.

Getting Support for Manic Episodes

If you do begin to experience a manic episode, make sure that you have a support network of people that can help you so that your symptoms don’t become too detrimental. Talk to your psychotherapist about what is going on and ask for guidance on how to minimize certain symptoms. Make sure family and friends are aware of the situation and can help you make good decisions if you are struggling with mania.

The most important thing to do when a manic episode occurs is to continue your treatment program, group meetings, therapy sessions or whatever plan you have in place as you manage your disorder. Make sure to contact someone you trust for help if your symptoms are becoming difficult to control.

Substance Abuse and Consent

Posted on: December 10th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Substance Abuse and Consent

Sexual misconduct can occur in situations where lines become blurred due to alcohol or other drugs being abused. When someone is intoxicated it can be difficult to determine whether they are consenting to sexual behavior or if they are being taken advantage of in their compromised state. In many cases, a person may be so incapacitated by drugs or alcohol that they are not aware of what is happening to them and have not given their full consent.

Substance abuse can make the concept of consent very complicated because it can alter the mental state of both parties. There are many difficult questions to consider when alcohol or drugs are involved in a sexual encounter. How drunk is too drunk to consent to sex and how do you know when someone is too intoxicated to give consent?

There are a number of reasons why substance abuse can cause issues with consent. For one thing, when someone is very intoxicated they are less able to communicate clearly and may not be able to get their feelings about a situation understood. On the other hand, alcohol and drugs can also make people more likely to disregard messages they’re being sent and make them determined to get one thing they are focused on.

It is important for people who are intoxicated to be able to have conversations about the situation and communicate what they want or don’t want to occur. Consent means that both parties know and understand that the other person is willing to have sex. If someone is incapacitated in any way and this communication doesn’t take place then it could mean that consent was never given and sexual assault has occurred.

Too Intoxicated to Give Consent

Legally a person is considered to be unable to provide consent if they are “incapacitated” by drugs and alcohol. However, the definition of being “incapacitated” can vary depending on the circumstances and individual interpretation of what that means or looks like. In some places, someone is only legally considered incapacitated if they are completely passed out and unconscious due to their drug or alcohol use.

Some states look at the situation differently depending on whether the person is “voluntarily incapacitated” meaning that they willingly took alcohol or drugs versus whether they were unknowingly drugged. Some even require prosecution to prove that the defendant knew that the victim was incapacitated in order to consider it a crime. In many places it can be difficult to prove that someone was incapacitated if they were not completely blacked out, vomiting, or unable to walk.

These issues can be especially problematic on college campuses when many of these types of situations occur on a regular basis. The culture of the school and their interpretation of being too intoxicated can mean that colleges handle sexual assault cases very differently. Students themselves have their own different interpretation of how drunk is too drunk making it very confusing to understand what consent means.

Making Sure that Consent has Taken Place

Whenever there is some type of substance abuse involved with a partner, it can make it much harder to determine if you have consent and it can make it harder to give consent. Because the legal definition can be complicated and confusing, communication is very important in any sexual encounter involving substance use. Talking to each other is the only way to ensure that someone is not getting involved in a situation that they don’t want and don’t consent to take place.

It is important to check in with a person repeatedly if they seem very intoxicated to make sure that they are okay with what is happening and that they consent to sex. If you yourself are drunk or are on drugs, make sure to check in with yourself and how you are reacting to the situation.
Are you okay with it? Do you still want to do this? Do you need a break?

Each partner needs to ensure that the other has clearly communicated their needs and is able to give verbal consent. Even if they say yes, make sure to check in the next day and see if they feel okay about what happened. Keep communication open before and after the encounter to be a hundred percent certain that there was mutual consent.

If at any point during a situation where a person is intoxicated and there seems to be any doubt about what is going on then make sure to stop it before things go too far. If your partner seems confused or is sending mixed messages then don’t do it. Even more so if they are unable to communicate coherently or aren’t sober enough to fully understand what is going on then don’t continue.

There are many cases where someone can be intoxicated and still offer their consent but it is a good idea to be very cautious and make sure there is no doubt about the situation.