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

Alcohol-Related ER Visits

Posted on: April 22nd, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Alcohol-Related ER Visits

Even though alcohol is a legal drug, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any serious dangers associated with it. More people than ever are ending up in the emergency room because of alcohol-related incidents causing injury. The number visits of alcohol-related ER visits has risen 61 percent in the last decade.

People end up in the ER for various reasons related to alcohol but some of the most common are drinking and driving accidents as well as alcohol poisoning. People are also more reckless and less inhibited when they drink which can lead to them getting hurt. These type of accidents are taking up lots of hospital resources and driving up health costs for people who are making poor decisions while drinking.

These ER visits actually represent a public health problem because it places a strain on the U.S. emergency care system. In order to combat this problem there need to be more efforts to identify and reduce binge drinking throughout the country. Binge drinking can lead to more alcohol-related incidents because people are more likely to be highly intoxicated compared to just having a few drinks over a longer period of time.

The more alcohol a person consumes in a short period of time the more they are at risk for alcohol poisoning or other related injuries. Binge drinking is defined as 4 or 5 drinks consumed within about 2 hours. Our bodies take about an hour to metabolize one drink, so this type of binge drinking can lead to serious issues with coordination and focus.

No matter how much alcohol a person has consumed, it is never safe to drink and drive. Finding a designated driver can help minimize the toll that ER visits has on our healthcare system. Reducing binge drinking can also prevent serious injuries and maintain health and safety.

10 Ways Your Body is Withdrawing from Alcohol

Posted on: April 17th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

10 Ways Your Body is Withdrawing from Alcohol

One of the hardest aspects of quitting an addiction to alcohol is the way that your body will react to abstinence. Suddenly stopping the use of a substance you are physically and mentally addicted to can be uncomfortable and even painful at times.

Many people react in different ways and have their own experience with alcohol withdrawal. However there are certain common bodily responses that most people will find happening to them. Here are 10 ways that your body responds to alcohol withdrawal.

1. Shaking and Tremors– One of the first symptoms that people experience within the first day of abstinence or even several hours after their last drink is tremors. That means your hands or even your limbs are shaking involuntarily. The tremors may be more intense if you are especially anxious about detox and your body is responding to your anxiety.

Shaking occurs because your nervous system is suddenly flooded with more activity. People get accustomed to the depressant effects of alcohol which create less stimulation for the nervous system and the brain. Without any alcohol in your system your body responds by being hyperactive because the brain is experiencing more activity than it is used to.

2. Increased Heart Rate and Breathing – The sudden surge in activity in the central nervous system can create a number of other symptoms in the body. Many people will have a rapid heart rate or quick shallow breathing. As your nervous system goes into overdrive your heart may beat faster which can also be exacerbated by feelings of anxiety.

3. Excessive sweating – People going through withdrawal may find themselves sweating heavily especially at night. As their heart rate and breathing rate increase it can trigger perspiration as a result. It is important during detox to make sure that you stay well hydrated and replenish your electrolytes when you have severe sweating symptoms.

4. Trouble Sleeping – Most people going through detox will find it very difficult to sleep and will probably need some type of non-addictive medication to get through a full night. Issues with sleeping can begin the first day and persist for some time until the person’s body adjusts to living without alcohol. Sleep issues can be caused by a lack of dopamine in the system which can put the body into a panicked “fight or flight” state making it difficult to fall asleep.

5. Anxiety or Depression – Alcohol and other substances produce so much dopamine when they are consumed that your brain slows down its own production of natural dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical that helps regulate your mood and when you suddenly quit drinking alcohol your brain is producing a much smaller amount than you are used to. This sudden drop in dopamine can cause all kinds of problems including feelings of anxiety and depression.

Your brain will need time to start producing normal amounts of dopamine instead of the depressed levels it was creating when you were drinking alcohol. Without enough dopamine you will have much higher stress levels which will cause you to feel worried, anxious and depressed in addition to making it hard to sleep. It is important to find ways to handle this extra stress so that it does not become overwhelming.

6. Delirium Tremens – The most severe kind of alcohol withdrawal that people experience is delirium tremens or DTs which can be very intense. The symptoms can occur within 48 hours of your last drink and tend to include severe confusion, seizures and hallucinations. People usually only experience delirium tremens if they suddenly quit a very severe alcohol addiction.

7. Headaches and pain– Your body is adjust to drinking alcohol on a regular basis and when you suddenly quit it may respond by causing aches and pains throughout the body. Many people get a serious headache or a feeling of achiness throughout their whole body. This pain will eventually subside but taking over the counter aspirin can help minimize the discomfort.

8. Nausea and Vomiting– Within the first day or two of withdrawal your body is likely to respond with feelings of nausea and vomiting. The chemical dependency causes your body to react and many people feel queasy or uncomfortable in their stomach.

9. Fever or Increased Temperature – Along with an increased heart rate some people may also experience an increase in their body temperature as a reaction to abstinence. Taking fever reducing medicine may be necessary to keep their body temperature from rising.

10. Mood Swings – One of the most difficult reactions that people have to abstaining from alcohol is severe mood swings. Their body is used to using alcohol to relax and calm their emotional state. Without a drink they may feel agitated, angry or tearful and sad.

Alcohol withdrawal can be painful and uncomfortable for a period of time but ultimately you will experience positive benefits for your physical and mental health by abstaining from alcohol.


How to Get an AA Sponsor

Posted on: April 6th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

How to Get an AA Sponsor

The connections that you make in recovery can become an important element in ending an addiction. Having people you can rely on for compassion and support will make the whole process of learning to be sober much easier. One of the most crucial relationships that you can have in recovery is the connection you have with your sponsor.

An AA sponsor is someone who has successfully remained sober for a long period of time and can act as a mentor when you are getting through the difficult early stages of recovery. They provide knowledge, guidance, experience and sympathy for people who are just starting their journey to becoming sober. Sponsorship can be a critical tool in learning more about the practical aspects of quitting an addiction.

When looking for a sponsor the relationship can be informal but it is important to find someone with at least two years sobriety. The longer they have been sober the more effective their role as a mentor will be. It should be someone who is experienced enough to provide useful advice and pass on meaningful knowledge from their own life.

You can easily find a sponsor in your AA meeting as many people in these communities tend to reach out to newcomers to offer support. You might choose someone from the group that you feel comfortable with and you can rely on or someone might approach you and offer to be your sponsor. You can start with a temporary sponsor if you need immediate help until you eventually find your permanent sponsor that you want to be your long term mentor.

AA meetings are designed to be an open community where people can reach out for help. If you need a sponsor it won’t be difficult to find someone who is willing to support and mentor you.


Alcoholism in the Family

Posted on: April 4th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Alcoholism in the Family

There are many different aspects of alcoholism that can be damaging but one of its strongest impacts is on family life. When someone in a family is addicted to alcohol it can break down family dynamics in a way that harms everyone involved. It can cause marital issues and create complicated problems with a child’s upbringing and development.

Alcoholism within families is devastating because it can negatively affect the way each relationship functions. It is well known among researchers that not only does alcoholism hurt family dynamics, it also creates more vulnerability for addiction in family members. Children of alcoholics are not only psychologically damaged from the experience but they are also more likely to become addicted to alcohol themselves.

There can be complex issues that develop when a person in the family is addicted to alcohol. Everyone in the family may react differently and have their own problems that develop as a result of the alcoholic’s behavior. It is important for each person in the family to be aware of how the addiction is affecting them and what they can do about it.

Family Dynamics and Alcoholism

There are many ways that addiction can disrupt family life and cause dysfunction in every relationship. There is no longer a normal, healthy family dynamic when someone is an alcoholic. Everyone will find a way to cope with the person’s behavior that may either cause more problems or enable the alcoholic.

Sometimes spouses or children become enablers without realizing that they are helping the alcoholic continue to abuse. When someone is an enabler they usually mean well and are trying to create harmony in the family but they are really allowing the alcoholic to keep drinking. Enabling means that the person is removing the natural consequences of the addict’s behavior.

An enabler might lie for the addict, make excuses for them, clean up after them or find other ways to prevent them from fully experiencing the consequences of their actions. An enabler may start out with the intention to help out but they may build up resentment and start to dislike the situation that they always find themselves in. The addict may come to rely on the enabler and are no longer solving their own problems or facing up to responsibilities.

While some family members fall into the role of the enabler, others may become more rebellious, angry and defiant of the alcoholic. Some children can turn into the troubled family scapegoat while others might become sensitive and withdrawn. Each child will begin to react in their own way to their parent’s behavior as they try to cope with a difficult and often traumatic childhood.

Mental Health and Family Addiction

Mental Health and Family AddictionWhen someone in the family has an addiction, the mental health of everyone living with them is likely to suffer. For children of alcoholics, this can mean developing issues with depression, anxiety or having behavioral problems. Kids who grow up with an addict tend to struggle more with relationships and normal functioning as they become an adult.

Children of alcoholics are more likely to struggle in school and tend to score lower on academic tests. They might also have trouble with finding a steady job and career later on in life because of the effects on their development. Children of addicts tend to feel more instability and uncertainty as they grow up which can affect their self-esteem.

Some kids can internalize an alcoholic’s behavior and blame themselves for things that have gone wrong at home. They might think that their parent drinks because of their own mistakes or bad grades in school. It is important for children of alcoholics to get professional help from a counselor so that they can make sense of the situation and not internalize the experience.

Alcoholism can also destroy marriages and cause a rift between spouses that is difficult to repair. The spouse of an alcoholic will usually see their own mental health suffer as they try to cope with their partner’s actions. They might become an enabler or be in denial themselves about the situation yet they will still feel the abuse take its toll on them.

The spouse of an alcoholic might feel their anger and resentment build to the point where they can no longer remain in the marriage. Communication can break down and lead to issues that the alcoholic is not equipped to fix in their addicted state. Unfortunately many marriages end when one partner is dealing with an addiction.

Family dynamics can be very complex when a family member abuses alcohol. However, with treatment and family therapy it is possible to repair those relationships as long as the alcoholic is quitting their abuse. A treatment center for addiction can help the alcoholic as well as their family to become healthier and more connected.

Alcohol Abuse a Part of College Frat Culture “Greek Life”

Posted on: March 24th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Alcohol Abuse a Part of College Frat Culture “Greek Life”

College is a time where many young adults first discover alcohol and the culture of universities often centers around binge drinking and partying. Socially, most college students are expected to drink heavily with their peers and that is especially the case for those involved in college fraternities. Frat houses are known for their parties and unfortunately their heavy alcohol abuse can sometimes lead to problems.

Tragically, some of the alcohol abuse in college can lead to issues like rape, assault and even death. In 2014 as many as 1800 college students died from drinking related causes. There were also 696,000 assaults perpetrated by drunk students, and close to 100,000 college students who were sexually raped or assaulted in incidents involving alcohol.

Although not all of these events involved fraternities, greek life is most well-known for its culture of heavy drinking. Students involved in fraternities are much more likely to abuse alcohol than their peers often because of social pressure to do so. The general enthusiasm for drinking in frat culture makes it a good target for intervention.

Reasons and Causes of Binge Drinking in Frats

What is it about greek life that leads to serious alcohol abuse? Fraternities tend to be resistant to alcohol education because the tradition of drinking is such a big part of being a frat member. Changing the drinking culture would be a major change that would require a lot of effort and intervention.

One of the reasons that drinking is such a constant aspect of frat life is the fact that it is a community living situation. Group members are around one another every day and experience peer pressure in the house to keep drinking. It becomes difficult for individual members to avoid abusing alcohol when their brothers are encouraging them to drink.

Greek houses also tend to have initiation rituals and some type of hazing activities that center around alcohol in some form. Initiating members can involve asking them to drinking heavily and the pressure to do so in order can be too intense to overcome. There have been cases where hazing has led to alcohol poisoning, accidents and even deaths.

Fraternities and sororities also tend to have a lack of supervision over the activities of the house. There are no resident advisors, older adults overseeing the house or rule enforcers that can keep the drinking level down. The leaders of fraternities are upperclassmen who are still young themselves and often campus officials tend to look the other way on their behavior because of the positive economic impact that greek houses have on the school.  

Curbing Drinking in Fraternities

With the long standing traditions, peer pressure, and lack of supervision how can fraternities cut down on binge drinking and alcohol related accidents? In the past frat houses have been resistant to educational efforts attempting to intervene and reduce the alcohol consumption in greek culture. Even lessons from peer-mediated groups have been unsuccessful in convincing fraternities to minimize heavy drinking.

It may be necessary to develop stronger interventions in order to help curb the drinking habits that become problematic in greek houses. The existing interventions mainly focused on high risk scenarios with alcohol education but proved to be ineffective. The interventions did not address issues such as correcting misplaced norms about alcohol culture or trying to have frat members understand their own motives for drinking.

Different types of interventions that allow frat members to analyze their own behavior could possibly prove more effective but more research needs to be done to determine if that is the case. Fraternity members can be especially resistant to alcohol education because they often view alcohol use as a way to achieve their social and sexual goals. Certain intervention tactics, however, proved more effective than others such as challenging students’ social expectations when drinking which led to reduced drinking habits.

The culture of fraternities is so closely linked to alcohol that it will take some more carefully designed and administered interventions to combat the problem. Frat members are often motivated by the social aspects of drinking and the feeling that they are bonding with their brothers by drinking heavily. They might also believe that drinking makes them more fun or likeable to their peers.

Over time it could be possible to work toward cutting down on drinking in fraternities in order to keep campuses more safe and healthy for students. However, it would require challenging student beliefs and traditions, asking them to consider the reasons for their behavior and the potential consequences. Focusing interventions on greek houses could help reduce the overall binge drinking behavior throughout college campuses.

Although college students are expected to drink heavily, more actions could be taken to prevent the kind of alcohol related issues that endanger the health and lives of students.