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 January, 2018

Following a Wellness Recovery Action Plan

Posted on: January 29th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Following a Wellness Recovery Action Plan

When you discover that you have mental health issues through a diagnosis it can be overwhelming to think of how it will affect your life. Even though mental health can be complex, it can be helpful for people to find ways that they can take action for their own well being. People need to have tools available to them to be able to manage their mental illness day to day.

A wellness recovery action plan is a way for people to work toward taking control of their mental health so that they are not always at the mercy of their symptoms. It is a process by which people can decrease their troubling thoughts and behaviors, increase their feelings of personal empowerment, improve the quality of their life and reach their goals. Many treatment programs offer their patients help through creating a wellness recovery action plan or WRAP that will be personalized to their needs.

In order to overcome personal wellness issues people need to be equipped with tools that make it easier to navigate daily life. A WRAP is a way for them to help figure out what tools they need and how to apply them to various situations that affect their mental health and wellness. Having an action plan helps people to feel more prepared and informed about their mental health problems.

Key Elements of an Action Plan

In the process of developing an action plan, patients will need to focus on a few key elements. They will need to make a list of things that help improve their wellness so that it is part of their toolbox whenever they are experiencing symptoms. Resources for wellness could include things like contacting friends or supporters, counseling, mindfulness exercises, relaxation techniques, journaling or other actions that they find personally help them feel better.

Once a patient knows what their wellness tools are they will know where to turn or what actions to take when they are feeling an onset of symptoms. Their action plan can also include ideas for daily maintenance so that they know what they need to accomplish everyday to maintain their wellness. They could incorporate some of their wellness tools as part of their daily routine so that they minimize stress and prevent triggers.

As part of their wellness recovery action plan, patients also need to know as much as possible about their own personal triggers. A trigger is some type of external circumstance, or event that can make you feel uncomfortable and lead to symptoms of your disorder such as anxiety or depression. When patients are aware of their triggers they can find ways to avoid them or manage them the best that they can.

In addition to recognizing triggers, patients must be aware of the early warning signs that their mental health is beginning to suffer. These could be internal, subtle signs that you feel worse than usual and the feelings could escalate if you don’t manage them with the right actions. It is important to take advantage of wellness tools any time trigger and early warning signs become an issue.

Handling a Crisis

Another crucial part of a WRAP is having a crisis plan in advance so that you will know what actions to take should you experience a difficult episode of your mental illness. Even with careful maintenance a crisis can occur at any time and you need to be prepared to handle it. You should be able to recognize signs of a crisis as early as possible so that you can ask caretakers or friends for support.

You should have a plan in place for you want to take over responsibilities for you during a crisis and what type of healthcare you will need. Make sure whoever is supporting you understands what they will need to do to provide you with care and what possible actions they should avoid for your wellness. You can also have a post-crisis plan so that you know what to do to get yourself well again and back on your daily maintenance plan.

You recovery action plan needs to take into account every possibility that could occur with your illness. From daily maintenance of mental health symptoms to a more intense episode, it is important to be prepared for absolutely everything. Having a crisis plan in place helps patients feel more confident about how to handle potential issues in the future.

A WRAP is something you can work on with your therapist or while you are in a treatment program. It will continue to be useful even after you have stabilized and are feeling better. No matter what stage you are in with your mental health, life can be unpredictable and a wellness recovery action plan can help you be ready for anything.

Accepting a Late-Onset Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis

Posted on: January 27th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Accepting a Late-Onset Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis

Bipolar disorder is a complicated mental illness and it often takes some time for people to be properly diagnosed. Even though most symptoms of bipolar disorder start to appear some time in adolescence or early adulthood, there are also cases of late onset of bipolar disorder. People who have symptoms starting later in adulthood, from their 50s on are considered to have late onset bipolar disorder.

Late onset bipolar disorder can be difficult to recognize but if you have been diagnosed with this problem then it is not too late to receive treatment. Many people who have bipolar disorder are misdiagnosed, especially older individuals whose symptoms may often be confused with other conditions. Between 5 to 10 percent of people with bipolar disorder will be at least 50 when they first begin to show symptoms of mania or hypomania.

Although it can be painful to accept that you have developed a mental illness later in life, being accurately diagnosed can be a powerful step in the right direction. Many people suffer for years with bipolar disorder but are not aware that this is the condition they have. Knowing that you have this disorder can help you learn more about it and find the right ways to manage your symptoms.

Understanding Bipolar Disorder

Most people understand very little about bipolar disorder and if you have spent most of your life without any mental illness symptoms then it might seem jarring to receive a diagnosis. It can be helpful to learn all you can about bipolar disorder including the typical symptoms and how they are usually treated. Educating yourself about your illness as you receive treatment can help you come to terms with the fact that you will live with it.

Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition and not something that can be completely eliminated but the symptoms can be managed and minimized through the help of medication, psychotherapy and family support. People with bipolar disorder can lead very normal and stable lives, even if they have a late onset. It is very important to look into treatment options as soon as you are given a diagnosis so that you can start to manage the disorder and familiarize yourself with how it affects your life.

Bipolar disorder has two different phases that tend to shift back and forth for periods of weeks or months. There is the manic stage and the depressive stage, both of which can seriously interfere with a person’s daily life if they are not getting help and support from a therapist. Each stage has its own set of symptoms and someone with late onset bipolar disorder may experience the mood swings differently than someone younger.

Some of the symptoms of late onset bipolar disorder during a manic episode are:

  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Being easily distracted
  • More energy and less need for sleep
  • Irritability

A depressive episode for late onset bipolar disorder could include:

  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Feeling fatigued and overly tired
  • Having difficulty concentrating or remembering things
  • Changing daily habits
  • Having thoughts about or attempting suicide

Because the symptoms of late onset bipolar disorder can be unique, it is important to be able to recognize when you are experiencing a manic or depressive episode so that you can get support and help. You should understand the symptoms as well as the triggers that tend to cause mood swings to occur.

Treating Late Onset Bipolar Disorder

Although it is a more rare type of illness, treatment options are beginning to expand for late onset bipolar disorder. Look for professional therapists or a treatment program that can accommodate your disorder so that you can receive personalized treatment for your unique issues. Having a treatment plan that can cater to your specific symptoms and the stage that you are in life can lead to better success in recovery.

A treatment plan will most likely include a variety of different approaches that will help to stabilize your moods and minimize your symptoms. There are a number of medications that your psychiatrist might suggest including mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, antidepressants, or anti-anxiety medications. A combination of a few of these kinds of medications might be necessary for your illness depending on the severity of your symptoms and what your doctor thinks might be best for your situation.

Aside from medication, the most important part of managing bipolar disorder is regularly attending psychotherapy. You should talk to a professional therapist about your symptoms and how they have been affecting you. Your therapist can help to teach you techniques to avoid triggers, minimize your symptoms and better ways to handle episodes when they do occur.

Even though bipolar disorder is a difficult illness, treatment can make it much more manageable. If you have been diagnosed with late onset bipolar disorder find a treatment program for the support you need.

Family Therapy at Gooden Center

Posted on: January 24th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Family Therapy at Gooden Center

People that suffer from addiction often have complicated family dynamics that can make recovery more difficult for everyone involved. Addiction affects everyone in the family and there may be many relationships that have been damaged as a result of the person’s substance abuse. Attending family therapy is a necessary and greatly beneficial part of our addiction treatment and recovery program.

Family issues can be closely connected to a person’s addictive behavior and guidance from a therapist can help family members work out some of these issues. It is important for a person with an addiction to have a stable home life and try to repair some of the rocky relationships they have with loved ones. Conflict at home will only serve to fuel their addiction and make it much more difficult for them to remain sober.

The goal of family therapy is for the addict and the people closest to them to learn how to resolve personal differences, talk about problems in a constructive way and learn to be more connected. A healthy family life can be an essential part of living a sober lifestyle and maintaining better mental health. We understand the importance of family dynamics and make sure to incorporate regular family therapy sessions for each patient in recovery.

The Benefits of Family Therapy

There are many reasons that treatment should include family therapy in order to allow the patient the best possible chance for success in recovery. Numerous studies have shown that treatment approaches that involve the family have better engagement from patients and higher rates of success. Patients who take advantage of family therapy are often more committed to their sobriety and participate more in aftercare programs.

While individual therapy gives the patient a chance to focus on their own personal problems, family therapy helps them gain awareness of their behavior and how it affects others. They can learn to improve their communication style and the quality of their relationships with those that are closest to them. Many addicts struggle with their ability to communicate with others and it is an important skill they must learn throughout treatment.

Family therapy not only helps addicts, it is an opportunity for their loved ones to improve their own communication and gain more awareness about addiction. Family members can use these therapy sessions to learn self-care and how to increase the quality of their relationships. The group as a whole will feel better once they have completed several sessions.

Family members also need to learn how to avoid any enabling behaviors that could endanger the addict later on when they complete their treatment. People in the family may have a tendency to enable the addict without even realizing. Therapy allows them to become more educated about addiction, codependent behavior and the best way to support their loved one in their sobriety.

Reaching Goals in Family Therapy

Attending group therapy sessions for the family is not only to improve their relationships and allow healing, it is also a way to reach important recovery goals. Everyone in the therapy sessions will need to put in some time and work to practice what the therapist teaches them whenever they meet. This means applying what they learn to see how it works to improve family relationships.

The biggest goal of family therapy is creating a home environment that will be stable, loving and free from stress and conflict that could endanger the addict’s recovery. The home should be a safe place with positive communication and everyone should have the ability to resolve issues effectively. Family life doesn’t have to be perfect, but for an addict their relationships with their family play a major role in their recovery.

Ideally the family members that the addict currently lives with or spends the most time with will need to attend therapy sessions on a regular basis throughout the patient’s treatment program. The therapist will ask for input from everyone in the group and ensure that they are all on the same page as far as improving family life. If everyone participates and does their share, family therapy can create a lot of positive change for those who attend.

Family therapy can help improve social functioning for an addict, make it more likely for them to stay in treatment and reduce harmful behaviors. It can also reduce the occurence of separation or divorce and create better relationships overall. Staying focused on the goals of family therapy will create a better outcome for everyone involved.

The Gooden Center understands the importance of family dynamics in an individual’s life and how their family relationships affect their health and stability. If you are interested in family therapy, we have options available in our treatment programs to incorporate key members of your family into your recovery plan.

The Opioid Epidemic’s Effect on Children

Posted on: January 20th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

The Opioid Epidemic’s Effect on Children

The steady increase in the number of people abusing opioids and overdosing on prescription drugs has taken its toll on the U.S. However, it is not only the drug abusers themselves that suffer because of these substances but also the people around them. Children are greatly affected by the opioid epidemic when their parents or caretakers lose control of their drug use.

From the early days of pregnancy even until they reach high school, children with parents who abuse opioids are at risk for a number of problems. Prenatal drug exposure can give children health problems and unfortunately this trend has been increasing in the U.S. More expectant moms addicted to opioids have been placing their babies for adoptions out of fear that they will not be able to provide parental care for them.

Children born to moms who have been abusing opioids have to experience withdrawal symptoms upon birth because the drugs are in their system as well. Prenatal exposure to opiates causes the worst withdrawal effects compared to other drugs. Adoptive parents often have to decide whether to adopt a baby that has been exposed to opiates due to the birth mother’s addiction.

Addicted Parents and their Children

Even for parents that were not addicted to drugs at the beginning of their child’s life, their behavior can have a dramatic impact on a kid at any age. Even previously great parents can become distracted and unavailable to children when they are dealing with an opioid addiction. Once the drugs take hold they will find it more and more difficult to be present for raising and caring for a child.

Parents can become addicted to opioids for variety of different reasons but many of them simply get hooked on prescriptions after surgery or pain issues. Once an addiction escalates they may start to disappear from their child’s lives and end up neglecting them at key stages of their development. Many of these parents struggling with addiction still care about their children but find it hard to balance parenthood with the things they are going through.

Unfortunately many kids now are either dealing with parental neglect or they are reeling from the aftermath of a parent’s fatal drug overdose. The recent opioid epidemic has sent a flood of children to foster homes after losing their parents to an addiction. In many areas of the country the number of children in court custody has increased and even quadrupled in certain cities.

Mainly because of the opioid crisis, studies revealed that there were 30,000 more children in foster care in 2015 than there were in 2012 which represents an 8 percent increase. In 14 states, the number of foster kids rose by 25 percent between 2011 and 2015. The problem became so severe in states like Texas, Florida and Oregon that kids had to sleep in state buildings because there were no more foster homes available.

Many states are low on federal child welfare money and are struggling to find a solution to the sudden influx of foster kids in need of care. The states hit hardest by prescription drug abuse and high overdose rates are not able to accommodate every child that has been orphaned by drug addicted parents. With the opioid epidemic continuing to increase, the problem is only getting worse for kids.

Long Term Effects on Youth

Even for children who still live with addicted parents, the effects on their development can be severe. Children in households where parents struggle with substance abuse are more likely to experience long-term effects of neglect or abuse than other children. Having an addicted parent is considered a type of early trauma exposure that can have serious repercussions on their mental health.

Children with addicted parents are more likely to suffer from mental health disorders including their own issues with substance abuse and illnesses like depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. Living with an addict can have a profound impact on a young person’s mental health. There have also been reports of an increase in teen suicides that are closely linked with the opioid crisis.

Kids with parents who suffer from addiction are exposed to neglect and sometimes abuse and violence. Growing up in this environment can make them more likely to struggle academically and socially as they get older. Parents who don’t get help for their addiction are potentially creating life-long problems for their children.

Opioid addiction is on the rise but it is possible for people to recover and lead more stable lives while providing better parental care. There are many treatment centers that can offer help for anyone struggling with a dependency on prescription drug. If you or someone you love has a problem with painkillers then contact a treatment facility near you to get help.

My Sober Companion Relapsed

Posted on: January 15th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

 

My Sober Companion Relapsed

Ideally everyone’s experience during and after rehab will involve being surrounded by people you can count on and trust. It is very important to have effective mentors and a support network of individuals who give you guidance and useful advice. But there are times when your mentors and friends are themselves struggling with their sobriety and might falter.

Being in an environment where you are around other people who have also had problems with addiction can be uplifting in many ways. You can relate to one another in a way that you would not with someone who has never had an issue with alcohol or drugs. However, the reality with this situation is that some of the people who are helping you can relapse.

When your sober companion, mentor or friend in your support group relapses, it does not mean that you won’t be able to stay strong in your own sobriety. It might be a step back for you but you can still get back on track and prevent this unfortunate situation from affecting your recovery. The best thing you can do is provide your help and support for them and understand that what they are experiencing must be very difficult.

Putting a Relapse into Perspective

Although you might feel disappointed, betrayed and upset by your sober companion’s mistake it is important to realize that the situation has nothing to do with you. Their relapse does not mean that they don’t care about your recovery or that the things they have taught you were not useful. You are also not in any way to blame for their failure to remain sober, it has to do with their own personal situation outside of your relationship.

One of the most important things to focus on when a friend relapses is to not let it affect your resolve. It can be painful and scary to see someone you were relying on for support to slip back into their addictive habits. But it is necessary to keep in mind that just because they are going through this it doesn’t mean that you will.

It might be easy to jump to the conclusion that because your sober companion was not able to maintain their sobriety then you probably won’t make it either. This of course is not true in any way and you must remind yourself that one person’s failure does not reflect every type of recovery experience. People have their own personal problems to deal with that can affect their ability to stay sober and each individual has a unique recovery journey.

When thinking about your sober companion’s relapse try not to get completely discouraged by the events that have taken place. Addiction and sobriety can shift and fluctuate, even for people that have been sober for a long time. Try your best to remain optimistic both for yourself and your friend’s situation.

Finding Extra Support and Help

The most effective action to take after a sober companion relapses is to find someone else who can help and support you through the situation. Go to a group meeting and tell them about what has taken place. They can give you advice and guidance about what to do under the circumstances and some may have even experienced the same problem.

Try not to be too disappointed in your sober companion that it prevents you from looking for another mentor, sober buddy or sponsor. Just because this particular friend did not provide the good role model that you need does not mean that someone else can’t do that for you. You might feel disillusioned but when you find someone else you can trust it will help you resolve those feelings and move on.

Make sure to continue with whatever treatment program or aftercare you are currently involved in. The crucial thing to do in this time is not to give up on the sober routine that you already have in place that has kept you on track. Continue attending your group meetings, therapy sessions or any other activities you have as part of your recovery schedule.

It is important to have someone to talk to about what happened and your feelings about it. If you are currently seeing a therapist then discuss the situation with them or someone you are close to who is also in recovery. You will need to work through your emotions and process the event in  order to move on.

Everyone goes through various trials and disappointments throughout their recovery experience. Having a sober companion relapse does not mean that you won’t be successful in remaining sober. You can still have an effective recovery and bounce back from this setback.

If you need extra support try to contact a therapist, recovery group or a new sober coach for help.