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 October, 2019

When Opioid Addiction Meets Sesame Street

Posted on: October 26th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments

opioid addiction sesame

Many people are familiar with the classic children’s television show Sesame Street, which first debuted in 1969 and has become a staple in the lives of many families across the globe. The show’s impact has cross many generations and has made numerous lists for being one of the greatest shows in television history. The fun yet educational television series has introduced many iconic and beloved characters including Big Bird, Elmo, Bert and Ernie and so many more. The award-winning show is known for its mix of puppetry, live-action, improv and animation and its ability to capture children’s attention and educate them.


The show has touched on numerous cultural and societal issues throughout its long run and though mostly celebrated for its positive and progressive attitudes, has occasionally made headlines for what some deem “controversial” subject matter. Over the 40-year show history, scandals including Bert and Ernie’s sexual orientation, Katy Perry’s risqué costume choice and issues involving the character’s voice actors have all made waves.

The show has introduced characters over the years to bring awareness and education to issues including Autism, HIV, race relations, incarceration, homelessness and even high political tensions. This year Sesame Street has introduced a character whose mother is struggling with opioid addiction. Many people have applauded this choice  to delve into something so real and widespread while others feel it is an inappropriate and extremely sensitive subject matter.

The truth is, the opioid crisis is rampant and has devastated different areas throughout the country, with children of those battling addiction becoming extremely affected.  Children of parents that abuse opioids often experience neglect, anxiety and depression and long term psychological trauma. Many children often find themselves in foster care or in the custody of other family members, especially their grandparents care. According to the NCBI, between 2009 and 2014, nearly 3% (2.1 million) of US children age 17 years and younger lived in households with at least 1 parent struggling with a substance use disorder. Other statistics reveal 5.7 million children under age 11 live in households with a parent with substance use disorder. “

Sesame Street Statement

A statement released by the shows President of Social Impact and Philanthropy reads, “Having a parent battling addiction can be one of the most isolating and stressful situations young children and their families face. Sesame Street’ has always been a source of comfort to children during the toughest of times, and our new resources are designed to break down the stigma of parental addiction and help families build hope for the future.”

The goal is to bring awareness to many of life’s circumstances, both good and bad, and teach children empathy and understanding. The characters encourage other children to speak openly about how they feel, top understand it is not their fault and most importantly that treatment is important for their parents to get better.

The Sesame Workshop offers resources for both children and their caregivers that include helpful information including addiction education, coping strategies including stress management tools, as well as constructive talking points






Bipolar Disorder and Social Media

Posted on: October 23rd, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Bipolar Disorder and Social Media

Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are a place where your family members, high school friends and new coworkers dump their vacation photos, celebrations, political rants, and for some a way broadcast their times of crisis. We’ve all came across an alarming Instagram post or Facebook status update that made us stop and wonder, “are they alright?”.

In an article in the New York Times, titled “Social Mania” the author details his brother, who is diagnosed bipolar disorder, and his relationship with social media. The author details his online behavior, “His episodes were unpredictable in every way except for how predictably they manifested on Facebook: Between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., he’d push out dozens of posts per hour, his Facebook timeline became his manic stream of consciousness, and my personal barometer for his illness”. As a vast amount of the population use social media on a daily basis, the question is, does social media help or harm users with diagnosed mental illness?

Mental health and social media have a complex relationship. While some have found support and a sense of community within social media, others believe the very nature of social media can exacerbate their mental health. As so many users share mostly the good, many can’t help but compare their own lives and ultimately feel inadequate. Studies show that the more time people spend on Facebook, the more they felt “depression and demoralization”. How they perceive others in turns skews how they perceive themselves, and an irrational sense of self often develops.

For bipolar disorder specifically, social media can become a playground for their mania. Things like dating apps, gambling app and even Instagram shopping features are almost made to incite those with strong impulsive behaviors. The amount of time spent on social media can cater to those with addictive inclinations. For those undergoing a major depressive episode social media can make them feel increasingly more isolated.

One study from National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan reported they have developed a way to identify the early signs of bipolar disorder via Twitter. By studying the time of a tweet, the frequency of posting and the language used, researchers then developed an algorithm to use patterns and distinguish between people with and without early signs of bipolar disorder. Although Facebook and Twitter can be the most telling in terms of recognizing mental health concerns, Instagram has been rated the worst in terms of negative effect on mental health.

For some, banning social media entirely from their lives may be a more extreme approach. However, it is important to be conscious of their mental state after using social media. If they feel social media has become overwhelming or worsening their symptoms they may consider taking a break. Instead of looking for online connection, those may find it more fulfilling to connect with family members, old friends or other people offline. The benefits of physical exercise is a highly recommended activity to help alleviate bipolar disorder symptoms and a healthier way to pass time and make friends.



Is LA’s Homeless Crisis Fueled By Mental Health and Addiction?

Posted on: October 17th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Is LA’s Homeless Crisis Fueled By Mental Health and Addiction?

According to The Addiction Center in 2017, there were approximately 554,000 homeless people in the United States. Many believe the number to be much higher due to the challenges in accurate data collection. The number of homeless increases each year, especially within the younger age demographic.

Causes of Homelessness

Although substance abuse can lead to homelessness, in many cases the end result of homelessness is substance abuse. Unfortunately, homelessness and addiction do often go hand in hand across age and ethnic groups. Other common causes are the result of a financial hardship including job loss, home forecloses and a lack of affordable healthcare or housing.  According to Harvard Health, “The mentally ill and people addicted to alcohol or drugs are the first victims of housing shortages.”

The National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) also lists addiction and mental illness as “two of the primary personal factors that lead to financial instability and the loss of permanent housing.” It is also important to note there do exist homeless individuals who do not have a problem with drugs or alcohol. Although rates of substance use are disproportionately high among those experiencing homelessness, homelessness cannot be explained by substance use alone as many people who suffer from addiction never become homeless

Mental health

Those experiencing homelessness may also develop mental health issues due to the harsh lifestyle. Not only do individuals who are homeless  generally face hunger and a lack of shelter, they also experience violence, sexual assault and many forms of harassment.

Homeless women suffer from gender-based trauma which in turn results in higher amounts of drug use compared to homeless men. The majority of homeless women also suffer from mental and emotional disturbances that often develop even before they become homeless.

Some mental health issues that homeless people experience include:

  • Severe anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Paranoia/Delusions/Disorentiation
  • Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Major depressive disorder

The Cycle Continues

Without proper shelter, security and a lack of access to affordable treatment for substance abuse and mental health care, the homeless population continue deeper into the destructive cycle of abuse and often relentlessly withdraw from mainstream society.

There are numerous programs and continuous efforts to “solve the homeless crisis” but those involved face many challenges. Recently, Mayor Eric Garcetti allocated funding to emergency shelters with “A Bridge Home” program for those waiting to be placed in a more permanent form of housing. However, connecting those in need with these services are hard because of the widespread substance abuse and mental illness. The timing and bureaucracy of finding solutions also pushes those away.


Unfortunately, negative narratives and a general misunderstanding of homelessness continuously lead to an ongoing negative stigma. Many believe the end to homelessness starts with the end of the homeless stigma. When attitudes are shifted and more people are informed of the causes and challenges, they can treat those experiencing homelessness with empathy and respect.



Non- Alcoholic Beverages and Sober Bars On The Rise as Sober Movement Booms

Posted on: October 12th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Non- Alcoholic Beverages and Sober Bars On The Rise as Sober Movement Gains Steam

As more people are searching for a better-balanced lifestyle, their drinking habits are one of the first changes they seek to make. Even if many people are still partaking in imbibing, the way in which they consume alcohol is indeed shifting. The “sobriety spectrum” is term used for people who may not be in the recovery community per se, but rather “sober-curious” or plainly “health-conscious”. Mindfulness is in and overindulgence is out. As Millennials have spearheaded the revolution in health and fitness, alcohol alterations are next for this “generation moderation”

A ripple effect of the overall wellness movement has seeped into the big bar business with bartenders offering low alcohol and no-alcohol beverages on their menus. In highly health-conscious areas like Los Angeles, people are swapping out their usual mixes for“Low Alcohol By Volume” and “No ABV” cocktails.


Sober Bars

Sober bars are becoming more popular as well. In New York City, the city that nevert sleeps and is known for bar patrons hanging out until the wee hours in the morning has opened its first permanent booze-free bar called Getaway. The owner explains “you can sit there, chat with the bartender, chat with the person next to you. It’s a social place; the alcohol almost seems secondary.” The bar is a great spot for young professionals, first-dates and anyone looking for a social experience without the alcohol.


Alcohol Companies Respond

Similar to how big tobacco responded to plummeting sales due to the non-smoking undertaking by investing into e-cigarettes, the health and wellness movement has also prompted alcohol companies to explore non-alcohol options to meet a growing consumer demand. With investors flocking to capture these “sober-curious” consumers, countless startups have popped up offering the non-alcohol products. Even the heavy hitters like Anheuser-Busch are getting in on the abstinence action by investing in alternatives.


The Sober Elite

Until more recently, those in the sober community often felt out of place, uninteresting and even ignored when it came to mainstream media. However, the perception and stigma of sobriety has transformed with many of Hollywood’s top celebrities speaking openly and candidly about their sober lifestyle. Robert Downey Jr, Denzel Washington, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lopez, Natalie Portman, Kim Kardashian and the list goes on and on. Proving you can even live a life of glitz and glamour sans the alcohol.


The Future of Sobriety

The sober movement trickles into other areas of entertainment including nightlife events and even large festivals offer substance-free zones. Mobile Apps, sober communities and sober options are becoming more prevalent for those looking to socialize without alcohol. As more people dabble in sobriety with things like Sober October or Dry January and try these new beverages, who knows what this movement could become.




What Is Residential Drug Treatment Really Like?

Posted on: October 10th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments

How Thought Disorders are Treated

Everyone has some sort of idea of what residential drug treatment is like. We’ve all seen TV series and movies in which the protagonist spends time in rehab, to varying levels of success. In most cases, the rehab isn’t the main focus, but is rather a driver of the plot. Because of this, representations of rehabs are not generally accurate. Most of the time, they’re not even close.

So what is residential drug treatment really like? Let’s take a look at what you should be expecting.

A Happy Environment

You probably expect rehab to be one of the most difficult periods of your life. A time during which you have to give up the things you enjoy and spend hours regretting your mistakes. The reality is almost the opposite.

Mental Health Treatment in PasadenaAfter you have detoxed from substances, you will find that residential drug treatment is quite a happy environment. Every resident has made mistakes and is dealing with a lot of uncertainty, shame, and regret. However, because you’re in a place where you can openly face these feelings, they don’t have the same debilitating effect on you. You can feel shame and regret knowing that you’re trying to do better. You can accept the uncertainty, knowing that while you are in rehab, your needs are taken care of.

During groups, you get to know your fellow residents better than most people in your life. When you have free time together, you spend your hours chatting and becoming friends. Everyone in rehab has made some of the mistakes you’ve made, and it is therefore an environment where you can view each other without judgment. You get to be candid and reflect on your past with some more perspective, and friends who understand you.

Empathetic Staff

There are plenty of scenes in TV shows and movies where a character, sitting in a group, makes an impromptu speech, belittling the rehab process by sharply pointing out all its flaws. They walk out with the group unsure how to continue, led by a flabbergasted counselor.

When Opioid Addiction Meets Sesame Street

This does not happen in real life! Counselors in rehab are well-trained and empathetic. They are often individuals who previously struggled with addiction. Therefore, they will understand and relate to you if you express your doubts or anger about rehab. They have seen a lot of people come and go, with such vastly different stories that little surprises them. Stories that do surprise them are heard with interest and empathy, rather than shock and horror.

Staff at residential drug treatment centers do not take challenges personally. They themselves may well have expressed the same feelings in the past. Rather than trying to “convert” residents to their way of thinking, they will always hear you out and help you come to a better understanding of yourself and what you need.

Personal Commitment

Another trope we often see in media is people who don’t want to be in rehab and are just waiting to be discharged to go back to their substance of choice. When leaving, they say something like “See you in a month,” knowing they’ll be back soon.

When Opioid Addiction Meets Sesame Street

In real life, most people in rehab are there by choice. They can leave at any time if they want to. Unless someone is ordered by a court to go to rehab, no one can make them stay. The reason they’re in rehab is usually because life could not go on without some sort of change. Residents don’t want to leave until they feel ready to live life without relapsing.

You probably feel this way. One or more aspects of your life – whether family, financial, legal, or anything else – has collapsed or is on the verge of collapsing. You need to recover or things will only get worse.

Every other person present is going through something similar. They’re not going to be undermining your process, but rather empathizing with you the way no one else can.

Positive and Relaxed

For this reason, staff at residential drug treatment centers don’t walk around policing residents as if they’re inmates. There are rules you’ll need to follow to ensure everyone has the opportunity to recover. However, you are expected to follow these rules out of your own personal commitment, and because they’re not at all oppressive.

When Opioid Addiction Meets Sesame Street

Rehab is about a positive process of learning to approach life in a new, healthy way. It is certainly not about negative reinforcement or punitive measures. You will build a rapport with the staff, developing relationships that foster growth and productivity.

Only those who are harming other residents or causing severe disruptions are likely to face warnings and potentially be told to leave.

Various Approaches to Recovery

Many people expect all residential drug treatment centers to follow a 12 Step approach. The 12 Step Program, developed by Alcoholics Anonymous, has indeed become the flagship way of treating addiction. However, it is not the only way, and even in centers which use the 12 Step Program, other tools and methods supplement your recovery.

Addiction is a complex disease, and it is different for everyone. While certain treatments seem to work for most people, there are other options. This is often especially important for those who struggle with the “Higher Power” mentioned in the 12 Steps or those who have tried the program but have not found it helpful.

Residential Drug Treatment

Residential drug treatment may seem like a frightening proposition, but it is actually a positive step that you are likely to enjoy. You will find a welcoming environment where you are encouraged to make friends, grow, and express whatever you are feeling.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, contact us today for help.