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 ‘Health’ Category

Family Therapy at Gooden Center

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

Family Therapy at Gooden Center

People that suffer from addiction often have complicated family dynamics that can make recovery more difficult for everyone involved. Addiction affects everyone in the family and there may be many relationships that have been damaged as a result of the person’s substance abuse. Attending family therapy is a necessary and greatly beneficial part of our addiction treatment and recovery program.

Family issues can be closely connected to a person’s addictive behavior and guidance from a therapist can help family members work out some of these issues. It is important for a person with an addiction to have a stable home life and try to repair some of the rocky relationships they have with loved ones. Conflict at home will only serve to fuel their addiction and make it much more difficult for them to remain sober.

The goal of family therapy is for the addict and the people closest to them to learn how to resolve personal differences, talk about problems in a constructive way and learn to be more connected. A healthy family life can be an essential part of living a sober lifestyle and maintaining better mental health. We understand the importance of family dynamics and make sure to incorporate regular family therapy sessions for each patient in recovery.

The Benefits of Family Therapy

There are many reasons that treatment should include family therapy in order to allow the patient the best possible chance for success in recovery. Numerous studies have shown that treatment approaches that involve the family have better engagement from patients and higher rates of success. Patients who take advantage of family therapy are often more committed to their sobriety and participate more in aftercare programs.

While individual therapy gives the patient a chance to focus on their own personal problems, family therapy helps them gain awareness of their behavior and how it affects others. They can learn to improve their communication style and the quality of their relationships with those that are closest to them. Many addicts struggle with their ability to communicate with others and it is an important skill they must learn throughout treatment.

Family therapy not only helps addicts, it is an opportunity for their loved ones to improve their own communication and gain more awareness about addiction. Family members can use these therapy sessions to learn self-care and how to increase the quality of their relationships. The group as a whole will feel better once they have completed several sessions.

Family members also need to learn how to avoid any enabling behaviors that could endanger the addict later on when they complete their treatment. People in the family may have a tendency to enable the addict without even realizing. Therapy allows them to become more educated about addiction, codependent behavior and the best way to support their loved one in their sobriety.

Reaching Goals in Family Therapy

Attending group therapy sessions for the family is not only to improve their relationships and allow healing, it is also a way to reach important recovery goals. Everyone in the therapy sessions will need to put in some time and work to practice what the therapist teaches them whenever they meet. This means applying what they learn to see how it works to improve family relationships.

The biggest goal of family therapy is creating a home environment that will be stable, loving and free from stress and conflict that could endanger the addict’s recovery. The home should be a safe place with positive communication and everyone should have the ability to resolve issues effectively. Family life doesn’t have to be perfect, but for an addict their relationships with their family play a major role in their recovery.

Ideally the family members that the addict currently lives with or spends the most time with will need to attend therapy sessions on a regular basis throughout the patient’s treatment program. The therapist will ask for input from everyone in the group and ensure that they are all on the same page as far as improving family life. If everyone participates and does their share, family therapy can create a lot of positive change for those who attend.

Family therapy can help improve social functioning for an addict, make it more likely for them to stay in treatment and reduce harmful behaviors. It can also reduce the occurence of separation or divorce and create better relationships overall. Staying focused on the goals of family therapy will create a better outcome for everyone involved.

The Gooden Center understands the importance of family dynamics in an individual’s life and how their family relationships affect their health and stability. If you are interested in family therapy, we have options available in our treatment programs to incorporate key members of your family into your recovery plan.

The Opioid Epidemic’s Effect on Children

Posted on: January 20th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

The Opioid Epidemic’s Effect on Children

The steady increase in the number of people abusing opioids and overdosing on prescription drugs has taken its toll on the U.S. However, it is not only the drug abusers themselves that suffer because of these substances but also the people around them. Children are greatly affected by the opioid epidemic when their parents or caretakers lose control of their drug use.

From the early days of pregnancy even until they reach high school, children with parents who abuse opioids are at risk for a number of problems. Prenatal drug exposure can give children health problems and unfortunately this trend has been increasing in the U.S. More expectant moms addicted to opioids have been placing their babies for adoptions out of fear that they will not be able to provide parental care for them.

Children born to moms who have been abusing opioids have to experience withdrawal symptoms upon birth because the drugs are in their system as well. Prenatal exposure to opiates causes the worst withdrawal effects compared to other drugs. Adoptive parents often have to decide whether to adopt a baby that has been exposed to opiates due to the birth mother’s addiction.

Addicted Parents and their Children

Even for parents that were not addicted to drugs at the beginning of their child’s life, their behavior can have a dramatic impact on a kid at any age. Even previously great parents can become distracted and unavailable to children when they are dealing with an opioid addiction. Once the drugs take hold they will find it more and more difficult to be present for raising and caring for a child.

Parents can become addicted to opioids for variety of different reasons but many of them simply get hooked on prescriptions after surgery or pain issues. Once an addiction escalates they may start to disappear from their child’s lives and end up neglecting them at key stages of their development. Many of these parents struggling with addiction still care about their children but find it hard to balance parenthood with the things they are going through.

Unfortunately many kids now are either dealing with parental neglect or they are reeling from the aftermath of a parent’s fatal drug overdose. The recent opioid epidemic has sent a flood of children to foster homes after losing their parents to an addiction. In many areas of the country the number of children in court custody has increased and even quadrupled in certain cities.

Mainly because of the opioid crisis, studies revealed that there were 30,000 more children in foster care in 2015 than there were in 2012 which represents an 8 percent increase. In 14 states, the number of foster kids rose by 25 percent between 2011 and 2015. The problem became so severe in states like Texas, Florida and Oregon that kids had to sleep in state buildings because there were no more foster homes available.

Many states are low on federal child welfare money and are struggling to find a solution to the sudden influx of foster kids in need of care. The states hit hardest by prescription drug abuse and high overdose rates are not able to accommodate every child that has been orphaned by drug addicted parents. With the opioid epidemic continuing to increase, the problem is only getting worse for kids.

Long Term Effects on Youth

Even for children who still live with addicted parents, the effects on their development can be severe. Children in households where parents struggle with substance abuse are more likely to experience long-term effects of neglect or abuse than other children. Having an addicted parent is considered a type of early trauma exposure that can have serious repercussions on their mental health.

Children with addicted parents are more likely to suffer from mental health disorders including their own issues with substance abuse and illnesses like depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. Living with an addict can have a profound impact on a young person’s mental health. There have also been reports of an increase in teen suicides that are closely linked with the opioid crisis.

Kids with parents who suffer from addiction are exposed to neglect and sometimes abuse and violence. Growing up in this environment can make them more likely to struggle academically and socially as they get older. Parents who don’t get help for their addiction are potentially creating life-long problems for their children.

Opioid addiction is on the rise but it is possible for people to recover and lead more stable lives while providing better parental care. There are many treatment centers that can offer help for anyone struggling with a dependency on prescription drug. If you or someone you love has a problem with painkillers then contact a treatment facility near you to get help.

I’m not Schizophrenic I am Schizoaffective

Posted on: December 29th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

I’m not Schizophrenic I am Schizoaffective

Although schizoaffective disorder is a mental illness that is closely related to schizophrenia, the two problems are distinctly different diagnoses. Many people mistakenly believe that schizoaffective disorder is a subtype of schizophrenia but this is not the case. They are both separate mental disorders that have their own unique set of symptoms.

People who are schizoaffective often receive a diagnosis of schizophrenia in the early stages of their illness because the two problems are so frequently confused. There are many similarities between the two illnesses which can cause some physicians and psychiatrists to misdiagnose their patients. However, there are also significant differences that make it possible to categorize one separately from the other.

Even though schizophrenia is the more well-known disorder that is often considered very severe, the truth is that schizoaffective disorder is much more complex and difficult to diagnose and treat. A diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder can be problematic because it combines characteristics of different disorders. However, with the right treatment it is still possible for a schizoaffective individual to improve their condition and function as well as they can.

What is Schizoaffective Disorder?

Someone who is schizoaffective is experience a hybrid of different conditions that combines characteristics of schizophrenia and certain mood disorders such as bipolar disorder and depression. The fact that it is a hybrid condition affecting a person’s mood is what sets it apart from schizophrenia which is related to thoughts and behavior but not directly to a person’s mood. Schizoaffective disorder blends different health conditions and affects a person completely including their thoughts, feelings, behavior and mood.

One way to understand how schizoaffective disorder combines different characteristics of disorders is to think of it as a part of a spectrum. On one end of the spectrum would be schizophrenia and on the other would be a mood disorder such as bipolar disorder. Schizoaffective disorder would fall somewhere in the middle of these two illnesses.

People with schizoaffective disorder can often exhibit symptoms that are experienced by people with bipolar disorder including extreme mood swings. They will feel the high of mania and the low of depression through different phases of their life in a similar way to bipolar disorder. However, a schizoaffective person will also experience symptoms normally associated with schizophrenia such as hallucinations and delusions.

Understanding the Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder

A schizoaffective person may suffer unnecessarily if they receive an inaccurate diagnosis of either schizophrenia or a mood disorder. They need treatment for all of their symptoms rather than one aspect of them so it is important that they have a correct diagnosis in order to improve. These are some of the signs and symptoms of schizoaffective disorder:

  • Auditory hallucinations in the form of voices that may be hostile or accusatory
  • Delusions or false, irrational beliefs that cause fear, paranoia and mistrust of others
  • Disorganized thinking as exhibited by thought or speech patterns that lack coherence
  • Thought blocking where the mind suddenly goes blank
  • Excessive, repetitive or agitated body movements that have no obvious purpose

As well as manic symptoms such as:

  • talking too fast
  • Racing thoughts
  • Difficulty thinking and concentrating
  • Inflated self-esteem and delusions of grandeur

They might also have depressive symptoms including:

  • Low energy and motivation
  • Appetite and weight changes
  • Talking too much or too little
  • Trouble completing projects
  • Apathy about school, work or relationships
  • Feelings of hopelessness or thoughts of suicide

Diagnosing Schizoaffective

Because there are many different sets of symptoms and one individual may not exhibit all of them it can be very complex to recognize and diagnose schizoaffective disorder. It requires more extensive exploration of a patient’s medical and psychological background. Psychiatrists must be cautious about diagnosing someone as schizoaffective and have enough expertise in order to make an official diagnosis.

In order for someone to receive a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder they will need to have experienced psychotic episodes for at least a month that involved delusions, hallucinations or disorganized thinking. They will also need to have a mood disorder that is dominant more than half of the time. If either mania or depression have been present for an extended period of time along with psychotic episodes then they will most likely be diagnosed as schizoaffective.

Although schizoaffective disorder is complex, like most mental illnesses it is treatable with the help of medication and psychotherapy. Antipsychotics can be helpful for any schizophrenic symptoms and antidepressants or mood stabilizers can help treat a mood disorder. Individual psychotherapy along with group therapy can be very beneficial to help treat the sources of their symptoms.

An inpatient treatment program for a period of time can be very helpful in allowing a schizoaffective person to learn to manage their disorder and minimize their symptoms. If you think you or someone you love might have this disorder then contact a mental health professional for assistance.

Who Needs to Know About My Mental Health Diagnosis?

Posted on: December 24th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Who Needs to Know About My Mental Health Diagnosis?

If you have recently received a diagnosis of a mental illness then you might feel concerned about experiencing the stigma surrounding your particular problem. Mental illness in general can be an issue that people rarely discuss and you might worry that it will affect people’s perception of you. It is rarely mandatory that you must tell people about your mental illness outside of the medical field but it is something to consider.

There might be people in your life such as friends and loved ones who you might not feel ready to tell about your mental illness. If you are worried about their reaction and the possibility that they will feel scared, hurt or distressed then you can wait for the right time. Ideally, your family and closest friends should eventually know about your issues so that they can better understand you and support you.

Disclosing your mental health issues can feel intimidating but there are many positive reasons why you should share what you are dealing with. For one thing you might receive encouragement and acceptance that will help you feel like less of an outsider. It may feel alienating to have a mental health problem but if your family and friends can show you that they still love you it can help you build confidence.

Talking to other people about what you are going through can also help reduce the stress that you experience as a result of your mental illness. Keeping your symptoms to yourself or constantly trying to hide them will only add to your general stress level. Having people to confide in about your situation can be a very effective coping mechanism in difficult times.

Telling Family and Friends

In general, it might be a good idea to tell people that you live with about your situation. Close family members who live in the household with you might want to know what is going on if they notice any of your behavior. Letting people in your home know about the diagnosis can help them make sense of any problems you currently have or have dealt with in the past.

The first people that you tell should be those that you trust the most with your personal information who you know will be discreet and sympathetic. Siblings, parents and close friends are likely to be the most supportive and understanding. Your parents may be worried and concerned about your well-being but it is important for them to know so that they can support you and be there in case something happens and you need assistance.

You don’t necessarily need to tell everyone in your family if there is someone you don’t live with or don’t see very often. If there is someone in your family who you believe won’t be compassionate or will be harsh about the situation then you can avoid dealing with them for your own peace of mind. You can keep the information within your close circle of people you trust especially in the beginning when you are still in recovery.

Choosing Who to Tell

When it comes to the people outside of your inner circle you might need to weigh the pros and cons about telling someone about your mental illness. You can also consider the pros and cons of not telling them as both situations will have benefits and drawbacks. Thinking everything through beforehand can make you feel more certain that you’ve made the right decision about who to tell.

It is important to keep in mind that not everyone will know how to handle the news that you have a diagnosis. Some people are going to have more emotional understanding and sensitivity about it than others. Some can be supportive and provide you help and guidance while others might be confused and afraid or even try to distance themselves from you if they aren’t able to handle it.

You will need to be very careful about who you disclose your mental illness to at work. It is important to understand your civil rights at work in relation to your mental health condition. Legally your boss and coworkers are not allowed to discriminate against you based on any type of disability including a mental illness. If there are certain accommodations that you need at work you might need to disclose this to your boss so that you can perform your job effectively.

It is up to your discretion to decide who in your personal life needs to know about your mental illness. Make sure to be cautious and exercise self-care so that you feel supported and loved in spite of any challenges you are facing. In most cases, you will have a positive experience and eventually will feel more comfortable in being honest about your situation.

Managing the Manic Side of Bipolar Disorder

Posted on: December 12th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Managing the Manic Side of Bipolar Disorder

Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder can be devastating because it is a difficult and complex disorder to live with. However, with treatment and management skills it is possible to handle the symptoms and not allow them to interfere with your life. One of the more challenging aspects of bipolar disorder is dealing with manic episodes.

People with bipolar disorder shift between phases of depression and of mania which both have very different sets of symptoms. Most people understand what depression is like and how that can manifest itself in an individual. Mania is a distinct issue that can be just as problematic and make it very difficult to function normally in daily life.

One thing that can make it easier to manage manic episodes is understanding what occurs in your own mania and learning to identify certain warning signs. It can be a good idea to record certain moods and behaviors that tend to occur during and right before a manic episode. When you know your own specific symptoms it can be easier to identify when you are entering the manic phase and start to react with treatment strategies.

Identifying Mania Symptoms and Warning Signs

Every individual with bipolar disorder may experience their mania episodes differently and they will need to get to know the list of their symptoms. Mania can include a number of symptoms that vary depending on the severity of the disorder and the individual person. These are some of the more common symptoms:

  • Being abnormally upbeat or jumpy
  • Increased energy, activity or agitation
  • Inflated ego or exaggerated sense of self-confidence
  • Talking rapidly or excessively
  • Racing thoughts and inability to focus
  • Impulsive behavior such as shopping sprees or making risky investments

If there are certain symptoms that tend to occur when you are experiencing a manic episode then make a list of the ones that affect you the most. When you begin to realize that you are entering a manic phase you might notice these symptoms or certain warning signs that indicate an oncoming episode. Possible warning signs include:

  • Needing less sleep
  • Feeling unusually happy
  • Making unrealistic plans or focusing intensely on a goal
  • Feeling easily distracted
  • Having feelings of self-importance

Over time you will learn to identify the pattern of your symptoms as well your warning signs so that you will have a better idea of when a manic episode is approaching.

Preventing and Managing Symptoms

Although it may not always be possible, doing everything you can to prevent a manic episode from occurring or growing worse can be helpful in managing bipolar disorder. When you identify warning signs you might become aware of certain triggers that are causing those behaviors to occur. You can try your best to avoid the triggers that might cause a severe mood swing to occur.

Self-care and maintaining a healthy routine can also be very helpful in preventing mood swings and manic episodes from becoming a problem. It is very important for people with bipolar disorder to have regular and stable sleep patterns. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can keep your mood stable and prevent chemical changes in your body that could trigger a mood swing.

Because manic episodes often begin with decreased sleep, a healthier sleep pattern can make it easier to identify if your symptoms are developing. Other aspects of daily routine can be important such as eating healthy foods, getting plenty of exercise, and practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga. These kinds of habits can help keep the body and mind stable so that emotions become less extreme.

If you notice any warning signs of a manic episode taking place, try to pay more attention to your health and focus in on any self-care practices that you may have been neglecting. Under no circumstances should a person with a mental illness like bipolar disorder use alcohol or drugs. Substance abuse can worsen and complicate symptoms and are not useful as a form of self-medication even though you might feel tempted to use them for temporary relief.

Getting Support for Manic Episodes

If you do begin to experience a manic episode, make sure that you have a support network of people that can help you so that your symptoms don’t become too detrimental. Talk to your psychotherapist about what is going on and ask for guidance on how to minimize certain symptoms. Make sure family and friends are aware of the situation and can help you make good decisions if you are struggling with mania.

The most important thing to do when a manic episode occurs is to continue your treatment program, group meetings, therapy sessions or whatever plan you have in place as you manage your disorder. Make sure to contact someone you trust for help if your symptoms are becoming difficult to control.