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

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 Alcohol.org 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.

 

References:

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-50887893

https://www.verywellmind.com/alcohol-facilitates-aggression-62647

https://www.verywellmind.com/domestic-abuse-and-alcohol-62643

https://www.quitalcohol.com/alcohol-abuse/alcohol-domestic-violence.html

https://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/world_report/factsheets/ft_intimate.pdf

https://www.alcohol.org/co-occurring-disorder/anger-management/

 

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.

References:

  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. https://doi.org/10.5402/2012/482802
  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, https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.schbul.a033351
  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

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

Anger and Aggression In Men That Abuse Alcohol

 

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