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 ‘Alcoholism’ Category

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.

Stigma

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.

References:

https://www.addictioncenter.com/addiction/homelessness/

https://www.dailynews.com/2019/10/07/a-new-look-at-las-homeless-count-numbers-has-some-wondering-if-there-will-be-a-shift-in-conversation-around-mental-illness-drug-addiction/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/The_homeless_mentally_ill

 

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.

 

References:

https://spectrumnews1.com/ca/la-west/news/2019/10/15/sober-bars–why-no-alcohol-trend-is-hitting-la-bar-scene

https://time.com/5597204/millennial-drinking-alcohol-companies/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2019/07/02/alcohol-recovery-sober-bars-health-alcoholism-social-drinking/1593676001/

https://techcrunch.com/2019/10/08/tempest-virtual-sobriety-school/

 

5 Benefits of Quitting Drinking

Posted on: August 24th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments

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

 

If you are considering giving up alcohol then you may be weighing the pros and cons in your mind. There are numerous benefits to quitting drinking in terms of physical, mental, social and financial health. These are some of the most important benefits of quitting alcohol.

 

  1. Feeling better/ looking younger

Drinking alcohol is very taxing on your body and causes a lot of damage to the brain, liver, heart and overall functioning. Getting the toxins out of your system will vastly improve your health and prevent the development of many chronic diseases associated with alcohol. An added bonus is that most people lose weight and start looking younger when they quit drinking.

 

  1. Improving relationships

Quitting alcohol tends to lead to more social stability and can reduce the amount of conflict in a person’s life. Alcohol also tends to isolate people when they develop an addiction. Being sober can help you to connect more to the people around you in a healthier way.

 

  1. Saving Money

Drinking can be expensive, especially for people that like to go out to bars and buy numerous drinks. The cost of alcohol can add up and for people that drink frequently they often lose a lot of money fueling their habit. Many people are amazed at how much money they are able to save once they give up drinking.

 

  1. More Stable Moods

 

Alcohol tends to heighten a person’s emotional state and leads them to go through a lot of ups and downs. Quitting will help you experience more stable emotions and find new healthier ways to cope with how you’re feeling.

 

  1. New Activities

People with drinking habits tend to spend a lot of time and energy on alcohol. Once they quit it can open a door to trying new hobbies and more positive activities to have a good time.

 

References

https://medlineplus.gov/alcoholismandalcoholabuse.html

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.

 

 

 

Dual-diagnosis

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.

References:

1. Change in moderate alcohol consumption and quality of life: evidence from 2 population-based cohorts

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. https://doi.org/10.5402/2012/482802

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. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01065867

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.

Detox

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.

Maintenance

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.

References:

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