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 the ‘Addiction Awareness’ Category

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.

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.

Is Your Family Member’s Addiction the Elephant in the Room?

Posted on: November 25th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

When someone close to you is dealing with an addiction it can be hard to find a way to cope with it. No one wants to intrude in someone’s personal life or tell them that they are making bad choices especially if you have a complicated history with them. When a family member has an addiction, everyone around them may know that something is wrong but they simply don’t know what to say or do to help them.

As you witness an addict’s behavior it may be painful to watch and it may even harm your family. When no one chooses to confront the person, their addiction becomes the elephant in the room. It is something that is on everyone’s mind but no one dares to speak up about the situation in spite of what they are going through.

Although it may be difficult and uncomfortable to bring up the subject, talking to an addict about their behavior and how it affects others is an important job. Without some perspective about their substance abuse they may continue to go down a path of denial and retreat further into their addiction. Instead of continuing to avoid dealing with the problem, family members who feel genuine concern should make a plan to talk to the addict and get them some help.

Leaving an addict alone to continue their abuse is dangerous for their health and well-being. It is only a matter of time before an addiction starts to impact their job, their physical and mental health and their relationships. Getting an addict help early on can help prevent some of the negative consequences that often occur when people are left to their own devices.

Understanding a Family Member’s Problem

Before you decide to speak with your family member, it is a good idea to research addiction and learn as much as you can. You can look into the signs and symptoms of addiction to a particular substance and see if you notice any of them in your loved one. Observe their behavior closely and try to evaluate them objectively before you choose to confront them about their abuse.

You can also share your observations with other family members and close friends to see what their insight is into their problem. They may have a different understanding of the disease and have an idea of how to approach things. If everyone agrees that they need to get help for the person then you might reach out to a substance abuse professional for more information about what to do.

In the process of dealing with a family member’s addiction, it is important first of all to take care of yourself and make sure that you are emotionally stable. When you have more clarity and awareness about the situation it will be easier to handle whatever issues come up with your loved one. Talk to a therapist about what you have been going through with the addict and about your decision to get help for them.

How to Talk to an Addict

Is Your Family Member’s Addiction the Elephant in the Room?

When you feel ready to discuss the issue and address the elephant in the room you need to be careful when you approach the subject. If you are in a good place yourself and are able to express real concern and love rather than anger or resentment then you are more likely to be successful in the discussion. Although you might be frightened of the consequences in bringing up the problem, if you are well-prepared the conversation might actually be quite productive.

There are certain guidelines to follow when talking to a person with an addiction. Firstly, never talk to them when they are under the influence but instead wait for a moment when they are sober and can take in everything you are saying. You should wait for a good time to talk to them when you are both alone and not busy so that you can spend some time discussing things.

It is a good idea to emphasize how much you care about this person and that you only want the best for them. Try to avoid being judgemental or condescending so that they don’t become defensive. Use open ended questions so that the conversation is a dialogue and they don’t feel that they are being lectured.

By the end of the conversation you can try to discern if you have made some progress with them. If they seem open to it you can suggest treatment or support group meetings that might help them. If they seem like they are not ready to confront their problem then you can regroup and perhaps stage an intervention at a later time.

If you are not sure how to approach a discussion with an addict then you can talk to a substance abuse professional about what strategies may be the best to take.

Holiday Relapse and Why You Should Be Thinking About it Now

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

Holiday Relapse and Why You Should Be Thinking About it Now

Recovering from an addiction comes with many complications and struggles throughout the year but one of the toughest times for most sober people is the holidays. The few months between November and January can be some of the most difficult to get through because of the many parties, celebrations and gatherings that tend to involve alcohol. People who have quit drinking may feel especially tempted during this period of time because they have certain associations with the holidays and having drinks.

Another reason the holidays can cause people to be more vulnerable to relapse is that it can also be a stressful time of year. Worrying about shopping for gifts and spending time with family can be difficult especially if you have any dysfunctional family members who create more stress. Although the holidays are meant to produce feelings of togetherness, the reality is that many people actually feel more lonely and depressed.

Because of these factors, it is essential to prepare for the holidays in advance and have a plan in place to prevent holiday relapse. Even though you might be optimistic about how your recovery is going you may never know for sure how you will react during the holidays. You need to think about what the holidays will bring and create your own relapse prevention plan so that you are fully prepared for any difficult situations.

Prevention is Key During the Holidays

When you have a plan in place before the holidays you will feel more confident and prepared for any issue that might come up. Instead of feeling nervous and scared about how you will react at a holiday party or gathering, you will know what to do in any situation. Relapse will be much less of a possibility when you have a plan ready in advance.

The first step in creating a relapse prevention plan is thinking about how you will react and handle it when someone offers you a drink or asks why you don’t drink. It is inevitable that this situation will come up so you can rehearse and think about some answers beforehand that you will feel comfortable with.

There are different ways that people choose to handle being offered a drink but you can simply say “no thank you, I don’t drink”. This may be enough to shut down any other offers the rest of the night if people know that it is a deliberate choice. Be firm and avoid opening any doors that might make people want to convince you to have a beer with them later on.

If someone asks you why you are choosing not to drink, you don’t necessarily have to tell them you are in recovery if you don’t feel comfortable enough to share. You can prepare some answers that you think will make you feel okay with the conversation and will prevent any further prying. You can say for example that you quit for health reasons which is reasonable and in most cases is probably the truth on some level.

Create a Support System

Most people in recovery know how important it is to have a support system in place when you are struggling with temptation. This is especially the case during the holidays when many people feel isolated and under more stress than usual. It might be a good time to talk to your sober friends more often and ask for extra support.

If you are going to a party that you are particularly nervous about you always have the option of bringing a sober buddy with you. Being the only sober person at a party can feel very alienating and can drive you to want a drink again. Take a friend from your AA group so that you can support each other and get through the night safely.

It is always a good idea not to spend too much time alone when you are in recovery and particularly during the holidays. As part of your prevention plan, try to organize some activities and outings with friends that don’t involve alcohol. Activities with friends from your AA group will not only help you but also everyone else in your meetings that is having a hard time.

As part of your prevention plan make sure that you have the option to leave when you are in any situation that may endanger your sobriety. If you are at a party that feels overwhelming, then make sure you have your own car or arrange a ride home so that you don’t have to stay.

You don’t want to be in any situation that will trigger a relapse. As important as it is to challenge yourself, your highest priority should be staying sober. Practice self-care and focus on your goals so that you can stay on track throughout the holidays.

Tragedy and Anxiety

Posted on: October 13th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Tragedy and Anxiety

When tragic events occur it can trigger intense stress, sadness and feelings of anxiety. Tragedy and anxiety are closely connected because tragic events can lead to both a temporary increase in anxiety and in some cases permanent issues with an anxiety disorder. When young children experience a tragedy early on in their life then it can cause problems with anxiety for them well into adulthood if they don’t have the right kind of support and guidance to recover.

As adults we experience different levels of tragedy, from national events like natural disasters and mass shootings to events that occur on a more personal level such as the death of a loved one. Tragedy is a part of life and whatever type of tragedy we are faced with it is important to manage symptoms of anxiety and find healthy ways to process your feelings about it. Sometimes getting professional help is the best option in order to cope with a tragedy and be able to move on without it interfering with your life.

Helping Children with Anxiety After a Tragedy

When children see or experience a tragedy it can have a tremendous impact on them because they are more vulnerable. Children are sensitive and can feel the tension and anxiety in the adults around them. They may be too young to put the event in perspective and may experience feelings of helplessness and a lack of control.

Talking to children about their feelings can give them an outlet so that they can sort through the thoughts that they have following a tragedy. They may have interpreted the tragedy as a personal danger to themselves and the people they care about so it is important to discuss with them and learn about their perspective. Every child responds differently to certain events so it is important to find out what is going on in their mind so that you can deal with their particular issues.

After a tragic event, children need lots of comforting and reassurance in order to feel safe and it is important that parents provide that whenever possible. Parents shouldn’t avoid talking about the tragedy but should instead be honest and open about it so that the topic doesn’t become taboo and kids can talk about their feelings. Children can learn to express their feelings in different ways such as talking, drawing, or playing.

Very young children may exhibit signs of anxiety after a tragedy such as wetting the bed, thumb-sucking, or fear of sleeping alone. After national tragedies such as shootings or natural disasters it may be a good idea to monitor their media viewing if it is causing them stress to see the images on the news. You can schedule an activity during news shows such as reading or drawing so your child won’t be affected if you want to watch it.

Coping with Tragedy as an Adult

Children that struggled with tragedies and never learn the right coping skills may continue to deal with anxiety when they get older. Adults may also have trouble handling tragedies and feel just as overwhelmed and confused by a tragic event. People with existing symptoms of anxiety may find it hard to handle negative events on the news as it may affect their sense of safety.

Seeing violent events unfold on the media can cause people to feel nervous and have trouble sleeping or concentrating because they worry that it could happen to them. One way for adults to cope with tragedy is to consider how rare these events actually are and that few people actually experience a violent incident. Another way to frame these types of incidents is to understand that people who commit violent crimes are often experiencing their own darkness and painful problems that drive them hurt others.

The important thing to remember is that even though it may seem like these tragic events happen all the time they are actually few and far between. You can continue about your daily routine and be completely safe knowing that violence is extremely rare. Sometimes the best solution is to go about your daily routine in order to realize that life goes on as normal even after a tragedy.

If your anxiety doesn’t seem to subside then you might consider talking to a professional counselor about your feelings. You can try one on one therapy to discuss what you are experiencing or attend support groups if you feel you need to connect with someone and share stories. There are many resources available for people who have had their own experience with tragedy and need to recover from the event.

Any tragic experience can cause grief, sadness and anxiety because these are normal human responses. If these feelings begin to interfere with your life or you are having trouble moving on, seek help from a therapist.