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

The Links Between Alcoholism And Mental Health

Posted on: August 8th, 2019 by emarketed 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 emarketed 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

What to Say to an Alcoholic

Posted on: July 12th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments

The Links Between Alcoholism And Mental Health

 

When you believe that someone in your life may be abusing alcohol, you may not know what to do or what to say to them that may help the situation. How can you discuss a person’s problem with them without driving them further away into their substance abuse? People who are actively addictive are often defensive of their actions which can make it challenging to discuss the issue with them. 

 

A useful way to start a conversation with an alcoholic is to start by expressing concern and love. You can say “I feel concerned about you because..” and discussing certain things that may be examples of how their drinking has affected them or other people. Having concern for them but also concrete reasons can make it easier to reach them.

 

Sometimes when drinking becomes really out of control you will need to give the alcoholic an ultimatum. You might say “If you continue to drink we can’t..” if you are feeling like you need to distance yourself from them. This may not affect the alcoholic right away but they will eventually think about your ultimatum and it can help them make a decision.

 

Even though you might want to establish boundaries with the alcoholic it is also important to make it clear that you will support them if they choose to be sober. You can say “I will be here for you when you decide to get help.” This lets them know that you are not abandoning them but must remove yourself from their addictive behavior. 

 

When an alcohol does enter recover you can provide support, be there for them when they need to talk and provide encouragement as often as you can. It can be difficult to handle the situation when someone is addicted but following these guidelines can help you maintain your relationship with them. 

 

References

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000815.htm

 

The Role of Genetics in Alcoholism

Posted on: May 22nd, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments
The Links Between Alcoholism And Mental Health

Addiction tends to run in families for a few different reasons but genetic predisposition is one of the most common causes of problems like alcoholism. The environment and culture that a person grows up in can influence them to drink and use drugs but their genes can also have a powerful effect. Certain distinct sets of genes can also determine whether someone will be a heavy drinker or if they will suffer from alcohol abuse disorder.

People who drink heavily and those who are alcoholics have many genetic similarities that make them more inclined to use substances. There are distinct regions of their genes that are associated with both groups of people and there are five that are linked to alcoholism alone. The genetic variants that are specifically linked with alcoholism tend to be associated with neuronal function.

The gene variants that are associated with alcoholism are also closely connected with the genetic risk of developing other types of psychiatric disorders. This may play a role in the likelihood of someone developing both an addiction and a mental illness such as depression or anxiety. Research has revealed that overall, genetics can account for about half of the risk of developing alcoholism.

Understanding the role that genetics play in alcohol abuse disorder and other psychiatric disorders can help people prevent or manage potential illnesses. If you are aware of a genetic predisposition for alcoholism or other types of disorders then you can take measures to avoid developing these issues through abstinence, therapy and other types of lifestyle changes.

Although genetics can be a strong influence on a person’s tendency to develop addiction, their lifestyle and personal choices are the key to whether they can manage their vulnerability. Alcoholism rehab can help people who have genetic vulnerabilities to recover and learn to live sober in spite of their inherent risks.

Socializing with People When You Don’t Drink

Posted on: February 26th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments
Socializing with People When You Don’t Drink

When you are in recovery it can be challenging to maintain your commitment to sobriety, especially in social situations. Your coworkers might want to go out to get drinks after work or you might get invited to a party where everyone is drinking heavily. These situations don’t mean that you can’t socialize or have to remain isolated from people who drink, you simply need to develop strategies to handle it.

There can be a lot of awkward moments when you hang out with people who drink and you are sober. When someone offers you a beer or asks why you aren’t joining in you might feel uncomfortable. It can be helpful to have a plan in place so that you know how to respond to questions, cope with your feelings and safely get out of the situation if you should start feeling triggered.

You should have a prepared response for when people offer you a drink or ask about why you are sober. You don’t necessarily need to talk about your recovery if you don’t want to. You can tell them that you aren’t drinking today or that you are driving so you can’t drink which can easily and quickly end the conversation.

If you find social situations where alcohol is involved too uncomfortable you can bring a sober friend with you to make you feel less alienated. You can talk to them about what you are experiencing and they will understand and feel the same. Remember that you can always call a friend, arrange to get a ride home or leave early if you are feeling too upset or tempted to drink.

Being sober doesn’t mean completely giving up your social life, but it does mean that you need to be cautious and mentally prepared for situations where alcohol is involved.