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).

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Archive for December, 2019

Anger and Aggression In Men That Abuse Alcohol

Posted on: December 27th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Anger and Aggression In Men That Abuse Alcohol








A recent report from BBC states that “Men who are dependent on alcohol or drugs are six or seven times more likely to be involved in domestic abuse against women than others”. The association between domestic abuse and alcohol has been a commonly discussed and commonly contested topic for some time. Although there is indeed a link between alcohol and aggression, linking alcohol and domestic abuse can get complicated.


What is Aggression?

First let’s discuss aggression and anger a little more in depth. Aggression is an outlet for anger, and some believe anger is an outlet for emotional pain or at least emotional frustration. However, there are some people who experience chronic anger that many describe as grumpy, moody or irritable. You may wonder, why are some people angrier than other. Well, some people are better at managing their anger. Some may have been conditioned to outwardly exhibit anger while some have been told to suppress anger. In short, everyone is different.

Although it is important to mention that not all anger is misplaced, often it’s a healthy, natural response. Usually, a person is able to manage their anger and regulate their feelings in a peaceful manner. However, once alcohol exists in the equation, those same tools we use to calm ourselves or others down aren’t as effective. Alcohol impairs the way we think, react and act. Just as some people can be overly happy, social or excited while drinking the same can be seen for aggression, sensitivity and anger. A loss of inhibition makes people act and react to things differently than they would soberly.


What Happens When We Become Angry

As puts it, physically “When a person is angry, stress levels are high. This activates the stress response, which speeds up heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure, and increases body temperature.” Other may already be in an agitated state and use alcohol to self-medicate.

So now we come to the debated cause-and-effect relationship between alcohol and anger. The fact is that in domestic violence, high rates of alcohol are evident. However, according to an article in VeryWell mind “The relatively high incidence of alcohol abuse among men who batter must be viewed as the overlap of two separate social problems. Alcohol does not and cannot make a man abuse a woman, but it is frequently used as an excuse.” While WHO reports World “alcohol consumption, especially at harmful or hazardous levels is a major contributor to the occurrence of intimate partner violence and link between the two are manifold. “Some suppose that the belief that alcohol causes aggression perpetuates the behavior.


Treatment Helps

The Journal of Interpersonal Violence reported reductions in marital violence following treatment for alcohol abuse and dependence. Often times, battering is a learned behavior and things like anger management and psychotherapy to heal past trauma can help exponentially. In treatment patients learn skills like impulse control, stress management, emotional regulation coping skills and alcohol education.




Battling Mental Health & Alcoholism

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

Battling Mental Health & Alcoholism

Patti is a widowed mother of three sons who has been treating her depression and OCD for the past four decades. She has had some degree of success, although as she has aged, she has grown ever more unreliable and untrustworthy, and has neglected her physical health. This is in spite of chronic use of medication for her mental health, and hundreds of hours of therapy.

Her sons had run out of ideas as to how to get her to take better care of herself and to be honest with them. After all, if medical professionals could not help, what could they do.

However, after falling out with her long-time psychiatrist, she has begun to see a new provider who has recognized that Patti suffers from alcoholism. All of the treatment Patti has been receiving for the past four decades has been compromised by her continued abuse of alcohol. Alcohol has countered the effects of her medication, and her habit of lying to therapists has rendered therapy almost ineffectual.

With time spent in rehab, along with a more responsible approach from her new psychiatrist and therapist, she has begun to turn her life around, winning back the trust of her children, improving her mental and physical health, and living life with a renewed vigor.

Mental health and alcoholism

Patti’s story is far from unique. Mental health and alcoholism go hand-in-hand. Many alcoholics began drinking in order to relieve the symptoms of mental illness. Conversely, alcoholism itself can lead to mental illness through a deterioration of coping mechanisms, healthy life choices, and alcohol’s chemical effects.

Treatment that ignores the connection between mental health and alcoholism is often ineffectual and can even mask the real issues. As became clear for Patti, antidepressants and other mental health medications can be harmful when used in conjunction with alcohol. Therapy does not have the desired effects if the individual is dishonest about their alcoholism and uses alcohol rather than the techniques offered by the therapist.

On the other hand, recovery from alcoholism will not last without treating co-occurring mental illnesses. It will simply leave the individual without the damaging coping mechanisms they’ve been using. They are likely to start using alcohol again as soon as they face challenges they are not equipped to overcome in a healthy way.

Common co-occurring mental illnesses

Certain mental illnesses often co-occur with alcoholism. These include but are not limited to:

  • depression: to numb the symptoms of depression, individuals use alcohol when other coping mechanisms don’t work. Consequently, they neglect to learn healthy mechanisms, exacerbating the problem
  • bipolar disorder: even in the manic phase of bipolar disorder, sufferers can begin to use alcohol to cope. Unlike with depressive episodes, this is not to numb the pain, but rather to allow them to turn off thoughts that won’t stop cycling
  • insomnia: similarly, alcohol can, in the short term, make it easier to turn one’s mind off to help them fall asleep. However, it ultimately lessens the quality of sleep and worsens the effects of insomnia
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): people suffering with OCD often turn to alcohol to numb out obsessive thoughts
  • various personality disorders: people with personality disorders often turn to alcohol for a number of reasons, such as making it easier to socialize, crying out for help and attention, and more

Treating mental health and alcoholism

Treating mental health and alcoholism

Patti learned that treating her mental illness in isolation could never be fully effective. While it helped her survive for many years, she sabotaged relationships, caused physical harm to her body, and numbed out much of what was going on in her and her family’s lives. Only when she treated both could she finally get passed the blocks which had been hampering her life for so long.

This is the case for most people suffering from co-occurring mental illnesses and alcoholism. If they only treat their alcoholism, they are likely to relapse. If they only treat the mental illness, much of the work will be undone by their continued alcohol abuse.

The best treatment centers take a dual diagnosis approach, ensuring that residents are given the tools they need to recover in all aspects of their lives.

Parallel treatments

In some respects, this will mean that residents follow two related but separate treatment courses. They will work with the program provided for their alcoholism, fully committing to following through and ending their alcohol use. They will also work with a therapist to treat their mental illness and learn healthy coping mechanisms.

These are inevitably connected. Some of the steps residents go through to recover from alcoholism will focus on exploring the underlying cause of the problem. Furthermore, the therapist will work with the resident in learning to use healthy coping mechanisms as opposed to alcohol when faced with challenges.

Mutually effective treatments

On the other hand, certain treatments are effective for treating both mental illness and alcoholism at the same time. Mindfulness is one poignant example. Courses that use mindfulness, such as mindfulness-based stress-reduction (MBSR) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), have been proven effective at treating a range of mental illnesses. At the same time, the principles on which they are based have long been used as essential factors of addiction recovery.

One of the fundamental principles taught in recovery centers is that one cannot focus on working with the entirety of their lifetime. Rather, one can succeed by focusing on the present moment. That’s all one has control over, after all. This is essential in order to approach recovery in a way that is not overwhelming or unrealistic.

Furthermore, much of the suffering caused by mental illness and alcoholism stems from a lack of knowledge of how to effectively navigate painful feelings which can only be experienced in the moment.

Effective long-term treatment

In order to avoid spending endless time and money on ineffective treatment of either mental illness or alcoholism, both need to be treated at the same time. Someone suffering from both simply cannot treat one in isolation without leaving the door open to further problems.

As Patti learned, treating both is the key towards living a revitalized, healthy life. Always choose a treatment center or program that takes a dual diagnosis approach. This way, you can achieve greater results for both your mental health and continued recovery.


  1. Mary W. Kuria, David M. Ndetei, Isodore S. Obot, et al., “The Association between Alcohol Dependence and Depression before and after Treatment for Alcohol Dependence,” ISRN Psychiatry, vol. 2012, Article ID 482802, 6 pages, 2012.
  2. Boisvert, R., Martin, L., Grosek, M. and Clarie, A. (2008). Effectiveness of a peer-support community in addiction recovery: participation as intervention. Occupational Therapy International, 15(4), pp.205-220.
  3. Mancebo, M. C., Grant, J. E., Pinto, A., Eisen, J. L., & Rasmussen, S. A. (2009). Substance use disorders in an obsessive compulsive disorder clinical sample. Journal of anxiety disorders, 23(4), 429–435. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2008.08.008
  4. Robert E. Drake, Carolyn Mercer-McFadden, Kim T. Mueser, Gregory J. McHugo, Gary R. Bond, Review of Integrated Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment for Patients With Dual Disorders, Schizophrenia Bulletin, Volume 24, Issue 4, 1998, Pages 589–608,
  5. Young, M. E., DeLorenzi, L. d. and Cunningham, L. (2011), Using Meditation in Addiction Counseling. Journal of Addictions & Offender Counseling, 32: 58-71. doi:10.1002/j.2161-1874.2011.tb00207.x

Living With Anxiety

Posted on: December 9th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Living With Anxiety

Anxiety rates have skyrocketed, and more people have been diagnosed with different forms of anxiety disorders from generalized anxiety disorder to OCD and PTSD. Although there is technically no “cure” for anxiety, there is what’s understood as permanent recovery.  Fortunately, treatment methods have come a long way that can greatly reduce symptoms and everyday struggles. Simple breathing exercises to cutting edge cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy are all available to treat anxiety.

It’s important to mention, as human, a certain level of anxiety is necessary. Anxiety makes us alert, we need our anxiety to function in life and our body relies on its signals to warn of potential danger. An anxiety disorder is when these signals are firing without the presence of danger. Those who’s anxiety symptoms are debilitating and negatively affecting their daily life need professional treatment. Psychiatrists can prescribe anxiety medication and alternative therapies to patients to help them manage symptoms and live fulfilling lives as soon as they wake up.

The idea is that anxiety is something that is managed day in and day out. Besides a treatment program there are little things one can make sure implement into their schedule to manage their anxiety.

For those living with anxiety, an uninterrupted, restful night of sleep can set the tone for the day ahead.  A purposeful morning routine is crucial as well to set into motion a productive day. Professionals advise against morning coffee for those prone to caffeine-induced anxiety. Other activities that should be avoided immediately after waking up include scrolling through social media and news feed. Those living with anxiety can benefit from a morning meditation session, a healthy breakfast or light exercise. Starting the day calm, centered and connected with yourself before factors beyond your control come into play is essential.

One of the most common factors that contribute to anxiety rates are a person’s work life. If job stress is a big source of anxiety, consider finding a job that respects your mental health. More companies are now accommodating to their employee’s mental health and offer benefits like mental health days, wellness programs, healthy snack options, meditations rooms, and so much more. If things get overwhelming it’s important take a break and step away. Being honest with your employer about your workload and capabilities is important.

Having hobbies or participating in activities outside of work are highly recommend. Besides exercise, things like book clubs, gardening, making music or volunteer work can help ease anxiety. Exercise is highly recommend for anxiety because of the endorphins produced, stress relief and improved sleep, however finding an activity you are personally comfortable with is the key.  Group activities are also valuable in maintaining social connections. Participating in support groups are important but if that is not available, making time for family members and friends is irreplaceable.

Again, anxiety disorders should be treated by a professional. The helpful everyday tips and suggestions are meant to supplement individualized treatment plan.