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 Links Between Alcoholism And Mental Health

Posted on: August 8th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Alcoholism and mental health can seem like a complicated topic. The reason for this is that, in someone suffering from alcoholism, it is difficult to determine cause and effect. Did a mental illness lead to the person’s alcoholism? Did the person’s alcoholism lead to a mental illness? Will the symptoms of mental illness disappear when the person stops drinking?

But, with recent studies indicating that even casual drinking is linked to poorer mental health, the link between alcoholism and mental illness is well-established. We just need to disentangle the various threads to see why this is so, and what can be done about it.

Alcoholism and mental illness: in parallel

Some individuals suffer from both alcoholism and mental illness, with neither having caused or triggered the other. For example, a person who sometimes suffers from depression might start drinking for totally external reasons. They may simply drink for fun when they go out with friends, or use alcohol for some “dutch courage” at a club. In other words, their alcoholism starts independently of their mental illness.

However, someone suffering from both alcoholism and mental illness will see both aspects worsen on account of each other. The symptoms of mental illness will become more severe on account of the alcohol, which will lead the person to drink more, becoming trapped in a vicious circle.

Alcoholism leading to mental illness

Alternatively, alcoholism can directly cause or trigger mental illness. A person who has strong coping mechanisms and a solid sense of self will see those eroding as they become more and more dependent on alcohol. They may previously have had a healthy approach to difficult emotions and trying times. However, alcohol can seem like an easier, more immediate tool for dealing with difficulties. While alcohol is very dysfunctional as a coping mechanism, it becomes the person’s go-to, and their healthy skills atrophy.

It is not just the erosion of coping skills that leads to or triggers mental illness. Alcohol is in fact a depressant. It can relax and disinhibit you, but at the same time makes you vulnerable to feelings of lowness. It disrupts your thinking. It causes sleep problems. All-in-all, it plays havoc with your sense of balance.

Mental illness leading to alcoholism

But mental illness can also be a trigger or cause of alcoholism. Someone suffering from social anxiety may start drinking to feel disinhibition. Someone suffering from depression may drink to numb out the painful feelings. OCD in particular is connected to alcoholism, as sufferers search for ways to quiet their obsessive thinking.

Alcohol may help with the symptoms of mental illness temporarily. However, consequences soon set in, with lower lows than before, poor quality of sleep, and a range of personal problems. The person ends up drinking more to try and deal with their worsening situation, and their alcoholism becomes worse.

Which mental illnesses are particularly linked to alcoholism?

While alcoholism can lead to or complicate many mental illnesses, some are more closely linked to addiction than others.

  • Depression: Individuals suffering from depression may start drinking to try to feel good again. It may temporarily work but, since alcohol is a depressant itself, it ultimately worsens the problem.
  • Bipolar disorder: Individuals going through a manic episode may reach for alcohol to help slow down their racing minds or to help them sleep. They may start using it to turn off when their illness is causing them to feel “on” all the time.
  • OCD: Individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) often start using alcohol to clear their mind of obsessive thoughts. The slowness or confusion of being inebriated may seem like temporary relief from the relentlessness of their cognitive reality.
  • PTSD: Since post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is caused in part by a continued stress response even when the stressor is no longer present, alcohol can at first temporarily help relax a person’s body and mind, and inhibit their memories. Eventually, it begins to worsen the symptoms instead of relieving them.
  • Anxiety disorders: People suffering from anxiety may feel temporarily relieved from their worries when they are inebriated. This is especially common for those suffering from social anxiety disorders. In the long run, the consequences of alcoholism lead to cause for more severe anxiety.





When you or a loved one receives help for alcoholism, a psychiatrist will evaluate whether you have a dual-diagnosis. They test for various mental illnesses and try to establish how the illnesses are linked.

Regardless of whether there is a causal relationship between your alcoholism and mental health, one cannot be treated in isolation. Without treating your alcoholism, your mental health will only worsen. Without treating your mental health, any sobriety will be short-lived.

If you or a loved one are suffering from mental illness, be aware that there is an increased risk of alcoholism and other substance use disorders. Watch out for symptoms of excessive drinking or alcohol dependence.


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Xiaoxin I. Yao, Michael Y. Ni, Felix Cheung, Joseph T. Wu, C. Mary Schooling, Gabriel M. Leung, Herbert Pang CMAJ Jul 2019, 191 (27) E753-E760; DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.181583

2. 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.

3. Farren, C., Hill, K. and Weiss, R. (2012). Bipolar Disorder and Alcohol Use Disorder: A Review. Current Psychiatry Reports, 14(6), pp.659-666.

4. 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

5. Kofoed, L., Friedman, M.J. & Peck, R. Psych Quart (1993) 64: 151.

The Fundamentals Of Treatment For Drug Abuse

Posted on: August 8th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments

While there are various different paths towards recovery, there are certain fundamentals common among all of them. These are treatment modules that every recovery center will provide in each and every one of its programs.

If you or a loved one are going to receive treatment for drug abuse, you can expect the following.


When you are physically dependent on a substance, stopping cold turkey will lead to severe withdrawals. These withdrawals make it incredibly difficult to stick to the recovery process. In many cases, they can be dangerous and even fatal. For this reason, most drug rehab must begin with detox.

Drug detox refers to the controlled process in which an individual is withdrawn from the substance on which they’ve become dependent. At Gooden Center, detox is prescribed and monitored by medical professionals. The nature of your detox will depend on the substance. Some substances can be stopped cold turkey, while others require a tapering process using safe alternatives to the drug.

Physical dependence on a substance precludes the possibility of effective drug rehab. As long as your body is withdrawing from the substance, it will be difficult to stay clean and focus on the treatment process.

Dual Diagnosis

From the very beginning of the process, psychiatrists at Gooden Center will evaluate whether you may require a dual diagnosis. In many cases, substance abuse is caused by or leads to another mental illness. For example, people suffering with OCD may use drugs to try and quiet their obsessive thoughts. Alternatively, someone who has become accustomed to using drugs when they feel down will ultimately struggle to effectively cope with difficult emotions and this may trigger depression or anxiety.

Treatment of drug abuse will not be effective if co-occurring mental illnesses are not also treated. Aspects of the treatments will overlap, but specific mental illnesses need particular treatments. Furthermore, with the help of a dual diagnosis, therapists and doctors will better know how to approach an individual’s treatment.

Group Sessions

Addiction treatment differs from treatment of other mental illnesses in that group sessions are given far more prominence. Community is understood to be very important in treatment of drug abuse for a number of reasons. Addiction tends to lead to unintentional selfishness. When looking for one’s next fix, it is difficult to take others into account. Groups help substance users become more socially aware once again.

Group sessions also give individuals an opportunity to share their own stories and what they’re struggling with. Since everyone in the group has gone through similar hardships, while doing things they regret, this is a safe space in which no one has room to judge.

In addition, addicts can use group sessions to learn how others have managed to cope without substances. They can share their own techniques and ideas. They can learn to lean on others for support in trying times.

Individual Therapy

Group sessions are excellent for confronting one’s addiction on a general level. However, individual therapy is incredibly important to help you deal with your specific personal concerns. In individual therapy, you will discuss your background and history and identify your coping mechanisms. This will help you see which mechanisms have worked and which have become dysfunctional.

Individual therapy is also necessary when treating most mental illnesses. By working through your issues with a therapist, you are better able to notice your unhealthy patterns. With therapies such as CBT, you learn practical skills to challenge thoughts that tend to lead you in a negative direction.

Psychiatric Medication

Substance users who have a co-occurring disorder will likely be prescribed psychiatric medication to relieve its symptoms. These are generally non-addictive medications that affect the chemicals in your brain, addressing imbalances and providing increased stability. Anti-anxiety and sleeping medications such as Xanax and Stilnox, which have the potential for abuse, will not be prescribed.

Alternative Therapies

You will also have the opportunity to work with alternative therapies, including mindfulness-based techniques. Mindfulness in particular is important when treating addiction, as the approach of taking each moment on its own has helped millions get through the most trying times.

These techniques also give you more options when one or another coping skill is not appropriate to the situation.

Holistic Health

Treatment for drug abuse should take the person as a whole into account. Addiction has both physical and mental aspects, and the healthier a person is in general, the more likely they are to stay clean. Thus, your nutrition and fitness are very important. Similarly, keeping your mind active and developing hobbies or passions helps you sustain a more rounded, fulfilling life free from substances.


No one’s treatment is ever complete at the end of a program. On the contrary, without continued treatment and maintenance, relapse becomes more and more likely. Treatment for drug abuse goes on after leaving rehab, and beyond aftercare and sober living. Attending groups and being part of a recovery community are ideal safeguards to keep you on track in a fulfilling life free of drugs.


1. Ziedonis, D. and Brady, K. (1997). DUAL DIAGNOSIS IN PRIMARY CARE. Medical Clinics of North America, 81(4), pp.1017-1036.

2. Wendt, D. C., & Gone, J. P. (2017). Group Therapy for Substance Use Disorders: A Survey of Clinician Practices. Journal of groups in addiction & recovery, 12(4), 243–259. doi:10.1080/1556035X.2017.1348280

3. Blobaum P. M. (2013). Mapping the literature of addictions treatment. Journal of the Medical Library Association : JMLA, 101(2), 101–109. doi:10.3163/1536-5050.101.2.005

4. Lichtigfeld, F. J., & Gillman, M. A. (1998). Antidepressants are not drugs of abuse or dependence. Postgraduate medical journal, 74(875), 529–532. doi:10.1136/pgmj.74.875.529

5. Fluyau, D., Revadigar, N., & Manobianco, B. E. (2018). Challenges of the pharmacological management of benzodiazepine withdrawal, dependence, and discontinuation. Therapeutic advances in psychopharmacology, 8(5), 147–168. doi:10.1177/2045125317753340

6. 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

How Addiction Triggers Can Affect the Brain

Posted on: July 14th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments


The Links Between Alcoholism And Mental Health

Most people have experienced how certain sights and smells can trigger memories or cravings for food, alcohol or smoking. People in addiction recovery must cope with these triggers on a regular basis in order to prevent relapse. Studies have shown that the concept of a “trigger” is a real cue that can light up certain areas of the brain, especially for people with addictions.


Scientists have researched how environmental stimuli or cues can produce certain reactions in the brain. Exposure to certain cues can strengthen the memories we associate with specific behaviors such as using addictive substances. When alcoholics are exposed to an ad for alcohol for example, it makes certain areas of their brain hyperactive including the prefrontal cortex and thalamus.


Since triggers can cause our brain to react, researchers have found that our brain is constantly fighting off unwanted reward signals that cause cravings. As the brain must exert effort to fight off these triggers, when a person is under stress it can become more difficult to ignore environmental cues that lead to cravings. Research discovered that people need their full cognitive control to ignore reward signals which means that when the brain is occupied by other problems it can be harder to fight triggers.


Stress and anxiety can put extreme strain on the brain’s functioning and can make it harder for people with addictions to manage environmental cues. When someone is under a lot of stress it is especially important for them to avoid situations where they might be tempted by signals. If they are calm and centered it can be easier for them to manage triggers in a more tempting environment.


Recent findings explain why fighting triggers in recovery can be so difficult and research provides more insight into how addicts can manage their cravings.



How Drug Addiction Can Affect the Brain

Posted on: July 8th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments

How Drug Addiction Can Affect the Brain


No matter how much someone goes through as a result of their drug addiction, they will find it very difficult to quit because of the way that drugs can change the way their brain works. Drugs affect a person’s brain chemistry and their behavior in a way that make them dependent on substance abuse. Trying to quit on their own will often lead to relapse because they are mentally and physically addicted to drugs.

Drug use targets the brain’s reward system and floods it with dopamine which triggers feelings of intense pleasure. The more you use a drug the more your brain becomes adjusted to those higher dopamine levels. Over time you develop a tolerance which means you need more of the drug to get the same rush of dopamine.

With the dopamine rush that people get from drugs, other things they used to like may bring them less pleasure such as food, hobbies or spending time with friends. Over time, people with drug addictions start to abandon everything else so that they can pursue the feelings of happiness that they need from substance abuse. Any time they aren’t able to take the same amount of drugs they normally do, they will start to feel depressed, anxious and physically sick.

Drug abuse can cause other negative changes in the brain such as problems with judgement, decision making, memory and the ability to learn new things. These brain changes can contribute to difficulties controlling drug use and lead people to keep using more as time goes on. People all react differently to drugs but the way that they change brain chemistry can lead to very severe addiction issues.

In order to end a drug addiction, it is important to seek professional help so that physical and mental changes caused by abuse don’t lead to relapse.



Teen and Young Adult Smoking on the Decline

Posted on: June 29th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Teen and Young Adult Smoking on the Decline

The number of teens and young adults who report using cigarettes has been steadily declining over the years. Information about the dangers of smoking and changes in trends may have contributed to lower rates of smoking among young people. In spite of the progress made in reducing smoking, statistics show that 1 in 12 teens and 1 in 3 young adults still smoke cigarettes.

A study revealed that during the period between 2004 and 2010 the percentage of adolescents who said they smoked declined from a high of 12 percent to a low of 8.3 percent. Young adults aged 18 to 25 also showed a reduction in cigarette use during the same period with the number falling from 40 percent to 34 percent in 2010. Researchers believed the decline in the number of smokers was due to antismoking campaigns as well tax increases, higher prices of cigarettes and laws prohibiting the sale of cigarettes to minors.

The study also found that the number of teens and young adults who smoked every day fell as well as the number of cigarettes smoked by daily users. That means the frequency and amount of cigarettes used has declined overall among young people. The largest group of young smokers in the study included those who smoked fewer than five cigarettes a day.

The findings are encouraging when looking at the overall trend of smoking but addiction experts and health advocates feel that there is more progress to be made. The number of teens and young adults who smoke is still much too high as these young people are endangering their health and possibly their lives. Smoking remains one of the nation’s leading causes of preventable deaths and teens who get hooked early on may have more trouble quitting in the future.