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’ Category

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.

Substance Abuse and Consent

Posted on: December 10th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Substance Abuse and Consent

Sexual misconduct can occur in situations where lines become blurred due to alcohol or other drugs being abused. When someone is intoxicated it can be difficult to determine whether they are consenting to sexual behavior or if they are being taken advantage of in their compromised state. In many cases, a person may be so incapacitated by drugs or alcohol that they are not aware of what is happening to them and have not given their full consent.

Substance abuse can make the concept of consent very complicated because it can alter the mental state of both parties. There are many difficult questions to consider when alcohol or drugs are involved in a sexual encounter. How drunk is too drunk to consent to sex and how do you know when someone is too intoxicated to give consent?

There are a number of reasons why substance abuse can cause issues with consent. For one thing, when someone is very intoxicated they are less able to communicate clearly and may not be able to get their feelings about a situation understood. On the other hand, alcohol and drugs can also make people more likely to disregard messages they’re being sent and make them determined to get one thing they are focused on.

It is important for people who are intoxicated to be able to have conversations about the situation and communicate what they want or don’t want to occur. Consent means that both parties know and understand that the other person is willing to have sex. If someone is incapacitated in any way and this communication doesn’t take place then it could mean that consent was never given and sexual assault has occurred.

Too Intoxicated to Give Consent

Legally a person is considered to be unable to provide consent if they are “incapacitated” by drugs and alcohol. However, the definition of being “incapacitated” can vary depending on the circumstances and individual interpretation of what that means or looks like. In some places, someone is only legally considered incapacitated if they are completely passed out and unconscious due to their drug or alcohol use.

Some states look at the situation differently depending on whether the person is “voluntarily incapacitated” meaning that they willingly took alcohol or drugs versus whether they were unknowingly drugged. Some even require prosecution to prove that the defendant knew that the victim was incapacitated in order to consider it a crime. In many places it can be difficult to prove that someone was incapacitated if they were not completely blacked out, vomiting, or unable to walk.

These issues can be especially problematic on college campuses when many of these types of situations occur on a regular basis. The culture of the school and their interpretation of being too intoxicated can mean that colleges handle sexual assault cases very differently. Students themselves have their own different interpretation of how drunk is too drunk making it very confusing to understand what consent means.

Making Sure that Consent has Taken Place

Whenever there is some type of substance abuse involved with a partner, it can make it much harder to determine if you have consent and it can make it harder to give consent. Because the legal definition can be complicated and confusing, communication is very important in any sexual encounter involving substance use. Talking to each other is the only way to ensure that someone is not getting involved in a situation that they don’t want and don’t consent to take place.

It is important to check in with a person repeatedly if they seem very intoxicated to make sure that they are okay with what is happening and that they consent to sex. If you yourself are drunk or are on drugs, make sure to check in with yourself and how you are reacting to the situation.
Are you okay with it? Do you still want to do this? Do you need a break?

Each partner needs to ensure that the other has clearly communicated their needs and is able to give verbal consent. Even if they say yes, make sure to check in the next day and see if they feel okay about what happened. Keep communication open before and after the encounter to be a hundred percent certain that there was mutual consent.

If at any point during a situation where a person is intoxicated and there seems to be any doubt about what is going on then make sure to stop it before things go too far. If your partner seems confused or is sending mixed messages then don’t do it. Even more so if they are unable to communicate coherently or aren’t sober enough to fully understand what is going on then don’t continue.

There are many cases where someone can be intoxicated and still offer their consent but it is a good idea to be very cautious and make sure there is no doubt about the situation.

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.

Are Men at More Risk for Alcoholism?

Posted on: October 20th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Are Men at More Risk for Alcoholism?

For many years, alcoholism has traditionally been considered a man’s disease because rates of alcohol abuse can be up to twice as high among men compared to women. Although the rates of alcoholism among women has been increasing more in recent years, men still tend to struggle with alcohol abuse more often than their counterparts. There are many different factors that can explain why men tend to drink more but overall men have more vulnerability and risk for developing alcoholism.

One reason why men may be more at risk for developing alcoholism has to do with their biological makeup. A recent study revealed that the amount of dopamine that is released with men drink may cause them to be more susceptible to alcohol abuse.

The study focused on both male and female college-age social drinkers and researchers gathered data by asking each participant to undergo a PET scan. The brain scan was used to measure the amount of alcohol-induced dopamine that was released in each person after a drinking session. Dopamine is a chemical that causes pleasurable feelings and can be triggered by rewarding experiences.

Researchers found in this study that in spite of drinking similar amounts, men tended to have a greater amount of dopamine released when they would drink alcohol. The increase of dopamine was found in the ventral striatum which is an area of the brain that is strongly associated with pleasure, reinforcement and addiction formation. Men in the study also tended to have less dopamine release with repeated heavy drinking episodes which means they were more likely to develop a tolerance.

The results of this study point to an innate biological difference between men and women that could be part of the reason that men tend to struggle more often with alcoholism. If men experience a more intense rush of dopamine and pleasurable feelings when they drink then they might be more inclined to abuse alcohol than women.

Social and Biological Factors in Drinking

In addition to differences in brain chemistry, men may also end up drinking more than women because their bodies react to alcohol differently. Men can physically consume more alcohol than women with less negative effects and they also tend to metabolize alcohol faster. Men are simply built with the ability to drink more alcohol which can lead them to excessive drinking more often than women.

There are certain social factors which may also play a role in the risk of alcoholism for men. Drinking alcohol often acts as a type of social bonding activity for men. They can share a special emotional connection with their drinking buddies that is often facilitated by alcohol.

According to some research, women may have less of a need to use alcohol to induce moments of social bonding. Men at times may rely on alcohol to enjoy feel-good moments with their friends and a deeper connection. This may be another reason why men tend to suffer more often from issues of binge drinking and alcoholism.

Consequences of Heavy Drinking for Men

Men have a greater tendency to binge drink than women according to surveys studying gender differences in alcohol consumption. Studies show that the average man has about 12.5 binge drinking episodes a year while the average woman only has about 2.7. Over the course of their lifetime men have a 17 percent chance of becoming alcohol dependent while women’s risk is less than half of that.

Since men binge drink more often they also have higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations than women. Binge drinking can impair a person’s judgment and lead to risky behavior such as drinking and driving or otherwise putting yourself in danger. Men who drink more can also struggle with health problems including heart disease, liver failure and an increased risk for certain cancers in the colon, liver, esophagus and mouth.

Drinking can also have serious consequences on men’s mental health as many develop issues with depression. Studies have revealed that men are more likely to commit suicide and are more likely to have consumed alcohol before the act was committed. Men also tend to become more aggressive when they drink which can lead to physical assaults on other people.

Even though men can physically handle more alcohol than women, they also experience all the negative consequences that are associated with heavy drinking. For men who tend to drink socially as a form of bonding, moderation is key to preventing health problems and risks that are linked to alcohol. Binge drinking is especially risky so it is recommended to reduce or eliminate alcohol if you have issues with drinking excessively.

It is possible to prevent or treat alcoholism if you are aware of the risk factors and symptoms. If you think you might have an issue with alcohol abuse, seek help from a professional treatment center.