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 February, 2018

Do I Have a Thought Disorder and Can It Be Treated?

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


Thought Disorder

People who experience symptoms affecting the way they think and perceive things may have a mental health condition known as a thought disorder. When an individual is having issues with putting together sequences of ideas in a way that is affecting their daily life and their behavior then they may need treatment from a professional therapist. Even though a thought disorder can be a serious illness, it is possible to use treatment as way to help manage the symptoms and improve the condition.

There are many different issues that can occur when you have a thought disorder and it can affect people in various ways. At the core of a thought disorder are issues with illogical, problematic or incoherent patterns of thinking. These irregular thinking patterns may cause the person to behave in ways that interfere with their ability to function normally.

Normal thinking follows a certain flow starting with a thought, followed by stringing together different thoughts on that subject and then the delivery of a thought pattern. When someone has a thought disorder it disrupts aspects of the thought process so that it doesn’t flow in a logical pattern. Thought disorders come in many forms including illnesses like schizophrenia which can be debilitating if not properly treated.

Recognizing a Thought Disorder

These are not often discussed and people may not be familiar with what constitutes the illness. In order to recognize a thought disorder in yourself or your loved one it can be helpful to look through the various symptoms and signs associated with the problem. These are some of the common symptoms of a thought disorder-

  • Incoherent, rapid or illogical speech
  • Bizarre thoughts or false beliefs
  • Continual interruptions in a person’s train of thought
  • Delusions that persist in spite of evidence against them
  • Hallucinations or seeing and hearing things that aren’t really there
  • Unusual speech patterns in which the individual discusses several unrelated topics
  • Inability to convey an idea or tell a story
  • Paranoia that includes fearful or suspicious thoughts

When you see any of these symptoms in yourself or a loved one then it may indicate a problem with thinking patterns and a possible thought disorder. If you notice any of these symptoms it is important to meet with a psychiatrist for an assessment so that they can diagnose what type of thought disorder you have. More serious thought disorders such as schizophrenia may require inpatient treatment to resolve issues of hallucinations, delusions and paranoia.

How Thought Disorders are Treated

A person’s thought disorder can accompany a different type of mental illness including bipolar disorder, schizotypal personality or psychosis. In order to manage the symptoms of a thought disorder and the associated mental illness it is imperative that the individual receive an accurate diagnosis. Knowing what condition is connected to the thought disorder can help make treatment more effective.

Once you receive a diagnosis and have been evaluated by a professional they can start to determine what type of treatment plan will be most effective. A psychiatrist may recommend inpatient or outpatient treatment or regular therapy sessions to address the symptoms. The type of treatment will depend on the severity of the condition and how much it interferes with regular functioning.

If you have a thought disorder you can discuss with your psychiatrist what the best options are for medication. Taking a regular prescription medication may be necessary with a thought disorder to regulate mood and minimize hallucinations and delusions. Different medications such as antipsychotics may be helpful in managing a thought disorder but it is important to work with a psychiatrist to find the right dosage.

People who have thought disorders can greatly benefit from psychotherapy in order to help address some of the behavioral and emotional issues that can occur as a result of their disrupted thinking patterns. A therapist can help guide the individual through their thoughts and feelings so that they improve their quality of life and make it easier for them to function in day to day. The individual may see a lot of improvement while staying in an inpatient treatment center that will provide them with daily therapy sessions for intensive recovery.

Receiving a diagnosis of a thought disorder may seem devastating but with regular treatment and medication it is possible to minimize symptoms and stabilize a person’s mood or behavior. Treatment is very important for a thought disorder because if the symptoms become worse they may be lead to risky or dangerous actions. However, having a thought disorder does not mean that the person cannot lead a normal and fulfilling life.

If you or someone you love seems to be experience symptoms of a thought disorder, contact a mental health professional to start a treatment plan.

Intervention Letter Writing 101

Posted on: February 25th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Intervention Letter Writing

There are a lot of complex emotions and interactions that can take place during an intervention for drug and alcohol addiction. In order to minimize some of the intensity and organize thoughts or feelings it can be helpful to have those involved in the intervention write a letter. This letter will give them time to reflect on their experience of this person’s addiction and decide in advance what they want to say to them.

There are several steps involved in putting together an intervention and writing a letter is part of the preparation and planning of the gathering. Once a certain group of concerned family members and friends decide that they want to confront or talk to someone about their addiction then they need to figure out how to address it. If each member of the group writes a letter before the intervention takes place it can prevent any unplanned conflict or heated discussions that could derail the event.

Interventions can be unpredictable so it is important to have the meeting planned as carefully as possible. If things happen too spontaneously it can lead to problems and cause the addict to distance themselves from loved ones, going further into their addiction. Having prepared statements in the form of letters helps everyone feel mentally prepared and allows them to avoid saying something they will later regret.

Understanding the Purpose of the Letter

Before getting started on writing a letter to read during an intervention, it is important to consider why the letter matters and what it will help to accomplish. The letter is helpful for both the addict who is being spoken to and the person reading the letter because it allows everyone to stay grounded and focused. Reading letters will keep everyone on track so that the intervention doesn’t stray from the original purpose of expressing feelings of concern.

Letters have a tone that reflects a more relaxed state of mind that a person has when they are writing and tapping into deeper feelings. The tone is less likely to sound accusatory and angry but instead more supportive and positive. People at the intervention will also be less likely to feel confused about their feelings or blank out and not know what to say.

In the preparation for the intervention, the group can also use the letters as a way to rehearse the whole event and practice reading them. They can receive feedback from other members of the group and possibly edit the letters if there is anything that needs changing. That way everyone can agree on what should be said at the intervention and the best strategy and overall tone that will get the addict into treatment.

How to Write a Letter

The process of writing an intervention can be cathartic for people who have been witnessing a loved one abuse drugs. It is a chance for them to reflect on how the drug abuse affects them and everyone involved. It also gives the writer time to consider how they feel and how the addict might be feeling as well.

An important aspect of writing an intervention letter is to allow yourself to feel compassion for the addict and think about what it is about their behavior that truly bothers you. While you are brainstorming an intervention letter, put yourself in the addict’s shoes and reflect on what they must be going through. Even though you might have some feelings of resentment or anger, try to focus more on the pain that they must feel.

While there are many different ways to write an intervention letter, it is a good idea to read it over and make sure that the overall tone is loving and compassionate. Your message should be that you love this person in spite of what they’ve done and you want them to get healthy because you care about them. Being loving but non-confrontational is the key to writing an effective intervention letter.

You can always include personal feelings about the loved one, talk about your relationship and the times they have been there for you. Starting off on a positive note can help prevent the loved one from becoming defensive right away or from feeling attacked. They will understand that the intervention is more about love and care rather than anger or disappointment.

The rest of the letter can include some specific examples of how their addiction affected you and discuss your desire for them to get help. The ultimate goal of the intervention is to persuade this person that they need to enter a treatment center. Each letter should include a statement discussing the desire of everyone for the addict to enter rehab.

An intervention can go much more smoothly if everyone writes a well-thought out letter reflecting their feelings. Look for examples of other intervention letters to give you an idea of what to write and you can work on it with the help of other family and friends.

High Functioning Alcoholic Parent

Posted on: February 18th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Alcoholic Parent

When someone has an addiction it affects everyone around them and none more so than young children who are still learning and developing social skills. Alcoholic parents can have a lifetime impact on a child’s psychological health and development as they grow into adulthood. People who had an alcoholic parent often find it difficult to navigate daily life, relationships and may even have addiction problems of their own later in life.

The severity of a person’s alcohol problem can affect their family differently but even high functioning alcoholic parents can harm their child’s development. An alcoholic parent does not necessarily have to be jobless or an emotional wreck to affect other people. Even those who can hold down a decent or high paying job and appear to be normal on the surface are still influencing their children through their more subtle alcoholic behavior.

Alcoholism is a problem that can have a deep psychological impact and for a child can make their upbringing more complex and painful than other children. A kid who grows up witnessing their parent’s addiction in some way may not understand or be able to participate in normal behavior. They may have self-esteem issues or feel different from others because of the way that they were raised.

High Functioning Addiction and Family Life

The way that a person deals with addiction can vary between individuals and an alcoholic who is high functioning may seem very different from other addicts. A high functioning alcoholic may be well-educated, middle class and have a very stable job. They may appear to be in control of their lives and become very adept and experienced at hiding their drinking habits.

A high functioning alcoholic may seem to be handling their addiction but it is going to gradually affect their psychological health and behavior. For close loved ones and children, there may be signs that their parent is addicted to alcohol that only they can see at  home. A parent’s psychological well-being can impact that of their children and alcoholics are damaging their own mental health through substance abuse.

The negative qualities of a high functioning alcoholic are going to be felt mainly by the people closest to them such their spouse and children. Their behavior at home may be very different than what they show to others outside of the family. The impact of a high functioning alcoholic parent can be devastating to the family because there is often little support from people outside the home who aren’t aware of the problem.

The Impact of an Alcoholic Parent

Each member of the family will experience the alcoholic parent’s behavior differently and may react in their own individual way. Children of alcoholic parents are the ones that have most long-term effects compared with spouses or other family members. Children are more likely to experience mental health issues including depression, anxiety, antisocial behavior, relationship problems, and their own issues of addiction.

When children see their parents abusing alcohol, blacking out or being emotionally unavailable because they are intoxicated they can internalize those experiences. They may develop low self-esteem and judge themselves very harshly, believing that they are inadequate. They may have trouble socializing or feeling comfortable at social gatherings because they associated them with their parent drinking.

Children of alcoholic parents also have issues with intimate relationships because they have difficulty trusting people or being vulnerable around others. They may be unable to get truly close to others and develop a healthy emotional attachment that can fulfill their needs. They might struggle especially with romantic relationships which may be too complex for them to handle their emotions.

Because alcoholic parents, even high functioning ones, often become emotionally or even physically unavailable to children they may develop an intense fear of abandonment. Children of alcoholics may grow up to hold onto relationships that they shouldn’t or struggle with their ability to trust people because they are terrified of being abandoned by loved ones. They may worry that people will leave them or grow bored with their relationship with them.

A high functioning alcoholic parent may believe that because they appear to have their drinking under control that their family is not affected by their behavior. The reality is that their addiction affects their family most of all and will have a lifetime affect on how they function in life and relate to others. Children of alcoholic parents may not realize until later on in adulthood that they were deeply harmed by their parent’s drinking habits.

If an alcoholic parent gets help and is able to quit their addiction then they can start to repair the relationship they have with their family. Children may be able to recover from the psychological issues they have experienced due to their parent’s alcoholism. With therapy and treatment it is possible for families to experience positive change and recover from the impact of addiction.

Do People Need a Depression Intervention?

Posted on: February 14th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Depression Intervention

When most people think about the concept of an intervention, they imagine it is reserved for people with serious drug or alcohol addictions that need to get help. The truth is that an intervention is a useful format for a discussion of any problem that you feel is negatively affecting your loved one’s life. In fact, some people that are struggling with mental illnesses such as depression may need other people to encourage them to get help for their problem.

Although an intervention for a mental illness may not take place in the same confrontational style as an addiction intervention, it can still be a useful tool in communicating to a loved one who is struggling. People suffering from depression may feel that they have to live with this problem or they may not even realize how much it is affecting them and the people around them. When other people in their lives tell them that they need help they may be more likely to listen.

Interventions can come in many forms and they are simply a way to help someone understand that the people in their life are concerned about them. An intervention allows a person to begin to recognize that there is an issue that they haven’t been dealing with appropriately. After intervening, ideally the person with depression will respond by entering a treatment center or seeking a regular therapist.

Recognizing Depression

People are dealing with depression often don’t fully realize that they have a treatable mental illness. Because of their growing symptoms they may be less self aware and unable to recognize the changes that they are going through. They may know that they feel bad but aren’t aware of how many changes it has caused in their life and how their behavior has been affected.

Staging an intervention helps the depressed person start to get an outside image of what has been taking place that they may have been too absorbed in their feelings to understand. When friends broach the topic of getting help it may be an important realization for them that would be harder to reach on their own. Friends can also give them hope that they will get better through getting treatment.

Before setting up an intervention it can be helpful to make sure that your loved one is exhibiting traditional symptoms of depression and truly needs professional help. Familiarizing yourself with the recognizable signs and symptoms of depression can allow you to be certain you are making the right decision about intervening. These are some of the common symptoms of depression-

  • Trouble focusing on or completing tasks
  • Issues with sleep such as fatigue or insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Dramatic weight changes and problems with appetite
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or things once enjoyed
  • Physical pain, achiness or headaches
  • Persistent feelings of sadness, guilt or hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

If your loved one is showing many of these signs or symptoms and you are worried about their health and well-being then it might be a good time to talk to other friends and family members about getting help for them.

Intervening and Talking about Depression

When people stage an intervention for an addict they might need a group of several people who can confront them in a way that will help them realize that they have hurt others with their actions. For a mental illness like depression, it might be more effective to have a smaller group of only two or three people so that the person doesn’t feel overwhelmed. They don’t need to be confronted so dramatically but they do need some feedback from an outside perspective of a couple of people to understand that they need help.

Friends or family members that want to intervene and help a depressed person need to make sure that they are gentle, calm and compassionate when they open up a discussion. It is important the person doesn’t feel attacked or judged but understand that people are worried about them and want what’s best for their health. Expressing their concern can help them realize that their depression is a visible problem that other people can easily recognize.

Setting up an intervention for a depressed person is an important task because if someone is left alone with their symptoms they are likely to get worse. Depression can quickly evolve into suicidal thoughts and attempts if it hasn’t already gotten to that point. Getting someone help for depression can literally mean that you are saving their life.

When you start to see someone you love battling feelings of sadness and depression you don’t have to watch helplessly. Taking action and talking to them about getting treatment is the most positive way to cope with the situation. Look for a treatment center or a therapist that will be available at the end of the intervention for the best outcome.

How to Cope with Crippling Anxiety

Posted on: February 10th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Crippling Anxiety

Anxiety is an issue that most people face occasionally when they are dealing with a difficult situation or an upcoming event that is important to them. Feeling anxious once in a while is a normal and natural part of life but having anxiety that becomes overwhelming can cause a lot of personal problems. People with crippling anxiety may find it hard to even get through their daily routine.

People who have normal anxiety levels will experience a natural reaction to events that make them nervous or frightened. The instinctive “fight or flight” response may make our hearts beat faster or our hands sweaty because of an adrenaline rush in the body. This reaction can actually help motivate us at times so that we can prepare for a big meeting, an interview or other important moments.

However, when anxiety is not a natural reaction to specific events or seems incongruous with the actual situation it can signal a potential anxiety disorder. When someone feels so anxious that they cannot make it to the interview or they choose to avoid certain people or places because they trigger anxiety then they may need to get help. Crippling anxiety can be more intense physically than normal anxiety and it can occur more frequently and seemingly at random.

Avoidance and Anxiety Symptoms

When someone’s anxiety is so overwhelming that it begins to interfere with their ability to manage day to day activities and keeps them from going places or doing things they need to do then it must be treated professionally. An anxiety disorder is a serious issue but people can improve their symptoms through therapy and treatment. They can begin to learn various strategies to help deal with their anxiety and make life more manageable.

One of the main issues that can reinforce and increase anxiety is the tendency for people to avoid the things that make them feel nervous. It may feel natural and soothing to allow yourself to opt out of something that you know will make you feel uncomfortable. This tactic of avoiding anxious situations can be problematic especially if they are situations that are not actually as threatening or scary as the anxious person believes.

The more often a person avoids the places, people or situations that give them anxiety the more it reinforces the idea that they can’t handle those things and must stay away. It becomes a never-ending cycle of anxious feelings and avoidant behavior that only gets worse over time. Anxiety becomes crippling when a person begins to see more situations as threatening and feels uncomfortable so often that they can’t sort out what they should feel nervous about what they shouldn’t.

Facing Fears and Dealing with Symptoms

Coping with anxiety often means allowing yourself to experience the anxiety in the situation and using strategies to get through it. If you never let yourself be in the situation that is making you afraid then you will never be able to realize that it is not a true threat. Avoiding situations allows anxiety to build up and become bigger than it needs to be.

One confusing aspect of having anxiety is not knowing exactly which situations you need to be afraid of and which ones are harmless. Talking to friends, family or a therapist can help you gain perspective on your anxiety and see things from their point of view. They may be able to convince you that the things you are anxious about are really no big deal.

When you understand that certain anxieties that you have are unfounded you can learn to face them by practicing tactics designed to reduce your physical symptoms and help you “ride out” the anxious feelings when you are in the situation. Relaxation and breathing techniques can be very useful in easing anxiety when it is at its most intense. Your therapist can help you find the techniques that work best for you.

Breathing work can be helpful for anxiety because it is the tendency for anxious people to have very shallow, short breaths when they are feeling nervous or stressed out. This type of breathing keeps the body tense and alert which can worsen anxiety. Deep breathing exercises can help produce a feeling of calm relaxation that minimizes feelings of fear, stress and nervousness.

You can also talk to your psychiatrist about whether anxiety medication might be a good option for you. Medication does not permanently resolve anxiety but it can provide some relief for people who experience panic attacks and very severe anxiety issues. Medication may be a useful temporary solution while you are doing work in therapy and getting better.

If you have anxiety problems that interfere with your daily life then take steps to improve your symptoms through professional treatment. Contact a therapist or treatment center today to learn how to cope with anxiety.