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

I’m not Schizophrenic I am Schizoaffective

Posted on: May 12th, 2018 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.

How Connected are Football Concussions and Mental Health Issues?

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

Concussions And Mental Health Problems

Football may be a favorite national pastime for most Americans but professional NFL players often have to deal with the physical toll that the sport can take on them. Football players usually experience repeated traumatic injuries that can affect their body and brain. Recently researchers have discovered that concussions and brain trauma which are common in the game can actually lead to severe mental health issues as players age.

There have been instances of mental health problems in former football players that made headlines. Junior Seau, a former player for the San Diego Chargers, committed suicide in 2012 and his autopsy revealed a brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy. It is a progressive, degenerative brain disease that has been found in a large number of former NFL players and boxers.

CTE is caused by repetitive brain trauma including concussions which begin to trigger progressive degeneration of brain tissue. The disease often leads to symptoms such as:

– memory loss

– confusion

– impaired judgement

– aggression

depression

– suicidal

– dementia

Unfortunately, because of the effects of CTE Seau’s suicide could have been directly related to the concussions he experienced while playing football.

Seau’s depression is not an isolated incident; former Philadelphia Eagles Star Andre Waters committed suicide in 2006 at the age of only 44. His autopsy revealed that his brain had so much damage it resembled an 85 year old man with alzheimer’s disease. Waters’ head injuries throughout his career most likely contributed to his depression and severe brain damage.

Clinical Depression and Brain Trauma

A study in 2007 by the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes surveyed former NFL players who received multiple concussions throughout their career. Those with three or more concussions were three times as likely to develop clinical depression than those who had never received concussions. There were also five times more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment.

Concussions occur when a sudden impact jostles the brain causing it to hit the surrounding skull or rotate unnaturally. Short term effects of a concussion include memory loss, unconsciousness, nausea and slurred speech. A person may be able to recover easily from a single concussion but repeated concussions which are common for football players can lead to severe neurological damage.

Many former NFL players who suffer from depression are found to have noticeable abnormalities in their brain’s white matter. Inside the brain, white matter is critical for transmitting signals and concussions can cause some of the connections within it to tear. Studies have shown a strong correlation between players with depression and white matter damage.

Former NFL Players and their Mental Health

Although there seems to be an increased risk for brain damage and depression among NFL players, it is not always the case that concussions cause these issues. There are a number of retired players who have had no problems with mental health such as Troy Aikman of the Dallas Cowboys who suffered an astonishing total of 10 concussions over 12 seasons. In spite of these extensive injuries, Aikman is often in front of the camera and has not suffered any mental health issues related to his brain trauma.

The statistics however, generally seem to confirm that there is a strong connection between repeated brain trauma and mental health issue in former players. About 22 percent of players who have received multiple concussions have experienced a bout of depression compared to only 6 to 7 percent among those with no concussions. Depression related to concussions tends to occur in older retired players as they reach their 50s and 60s.

Injuries and Recovery

Any time a player experiences a concussion it is best to keep them out of play until it has fully healed to avoid issues like second impact syndrome. This is an illness that develops when a second concussion occurs before the first one is properly healed. Second impact syndrome can be a life-threatening condition so it important for players to be cleared by a physician before they return to the game.

It can also be helpful for football players to receive testing following every concussion they receive to determine if there has been any damage. A neurocognitive test such as the imPACT test prior to the season can serve as a baseline test of an athlete’s neurocognitive abilities. If players receive a concussion they can be removed from play and tested for any damage or changes in their abilities.

New helmet technology currently in the works could eventually help to reduce the number of concussions that occur in the games. Studies in the field of concussion rehabilitation could also help treat these injuries more effectively to prevent long term damage. A better understanding of how concussions happen in the sport and the best methods for treating them could help improve the outlook for NFL players in the future.

The Trump Administration and Mental Health

Posted on: May 1st, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

The Trump Administration and Mental Health

President Trump and his administration have made it a mission to overhaul our current healthcare system and eradicate “Obamacare” which they believe was inefficient and problematic. Their new healthcare plan has passed the house but is still being considered by the senate and has not yet been voted into effect.

Many Americans are concerned about what the new healthcare plan will mean for the country’s public health in general but some are also particularly worried about mental health coverage. The expectation of Trump’s healthcare plan is that many Americans will lose their healthcare coverage through federal programs like Medicaid which will be dramatically reduced under the new bill.

Unfortunately for many people in need, the new healthcare plan will slash much of the resources that the Affordable Care Act had made more available for mental health, behavioral health and substance abuse.

Medicaid and Mental Health

Trump’s decision to reduce Medicaid will have a devastating effect on those who rely on it to provide treatment for mental illness or addiction. People are particularly concerned about the new healthcare bill and what it would mean amidst the opioid addiction epidemic that has taken over the country in recent years.

Medicaid is currently the single largest source of funding for mental health and substance abuse treatments. Much of the funding has been provided by Obamacare especially through its expansion to include low-income adults.

A significant portion of people with substance abuse and/or mental health issues have low incomes or are even homeless. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, most people with little income were ineligible for public insurance through Medicaid. Even those with lower middle class incomes who simply had inadequate insurance were unable to receive coverage for mental health until the ACA made significant expansions.

The Cost of Repealing Obamacare

The ACA made it possible for people with low incomes to have access to preventative and rehabilitative services for mental health or substance abuse issues. Previously, Medicaid would only cover issues severe enough to merit admission into an emergency room or institution. With better coverage, people were able to get help before their situation became a mental health emergency.

Previously, most insurance companies would provide more coverage for physical health problems and very little for mental health or substance abuse issues. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act passed in 2008 mandated that employer plans would cover medical and mental health or substance abuse services equally. The ACA also expanded that law to many people on Medicaid, ultimately covering mental health services for more than 30 million people.

Unfortunately, Trump’s new American Health Care Act would take away most of this coverage by cutting Medicaid expansion and reducing funding for low income adults. It would also allow states more flexibility to avoid parity rules and reinstate many of the old barriers for mental health care.

Who Will Lose Coverage?

While the current trend under the Obama administration has been to reduce the number of uninsured Americans to the lowest rates in over 50 years, Trump’s plan would reverse this trend and likely increase the rate of uninsured by 7.4%. The area of the country that would be hit the hardest by this new healthcare plan would be rural America which benefited greatly from ACA’s expansion of Medicaid.

The new healthcare plan would also negatively affect senior citizens who will have to pay higher premiums, deductibles and co-pays if the bill passes. Lower income individuals will receive thousands of dollars less in tax credits which allowed them to afford healthcare under the ACA. Repealing Obamacare for many demographics will mean that they can no longer afford healthcare and will not be covered for medical or mental health services.

Those with mental health issues will be among those who are most affected by the change, especially the many Americans who received care through Medicaid. Although the American Health Care Act will not repeal the Mental Health Parity Act it will remove a mandate that required Medicaid to cover basic mental health and substance abuse services. As a result of this, 1.28 million people currently receiving mental health care through Medicaid will be threatened with losing these services.

The new healthcare plan proposed by the Trump Administration could cause problems for those in need of treatment for substance abuse problems including the millions of Americans addicted to opiates. Although Trump promised to fight the painkiller epidemic, his plans to end Medicaid coverage for substance abuse services will make it more difficult for people to receive addiction treatment.

Although many republicans support the bill, it remains to be seen how the new healthcare plan will affect Americans including many of Trump’s supporters.

What is CBD Oil?

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

What is CBD Oil?

Among the various medicinal marijuana products available in certain areas, CBD oil is a new and controversial item that people can purchase for its supposed health benefits. There is some confusion about what CBD oil actually is and how it can be used to treat certain illnesses. The oil is not legal in every state but it is sometimes legal in states where medicinal marijuana is not.

CBD is short for cannabidiol and it is one of the many compounds that are found in the cannabis plant. Researchers are still working determine the various therapeutic uses for CBD oil but it is believed to have a huge range of health benefits. It is said to reduce pain, anxiety, depression, balance the metabolism, help with sleep disorders and a number of other uses.

Although it comes from the cannabis plant, CBD is used for therapeutic purposes only and does not provide a mind-altering high. The oil can come in many different forms such as oils, creams, sprays or even capsules. People can find CBD oil in medicinal marijuana shops that provide various kinds of cannabis treatments.

Uses and Benefits of CBD Oil

CBD oil is derived from the hemp plant but it is low in THC, the chemical that produces the usual “high” associated with marijuana. The oil has been receiving more attention recently due to changing marijuana legislation in many states that have legalized both medicinal and recreational marijuana. CBD can be an option for therapeutic use of marijuana for those who want to avoid any addictive high or the feeling of being disoriented.

The reason that CBD oil is thought to have various medicinal properties is because of the many cannabinoid receptors we have in the brain and nervous system. These receptors react to both plant-derived cannabinoids like CBD and to natural cannabinoids that are produced in the body. CBD oil helps boost the function of the endocannabinoid system which helps regulated the health of the body in different ways.

People that use CBD oil often have specific health problems that they are hoping to address with the medicinal oil. The oil is used to treat issues such as-

  • Arthritis
  • Chronic pain and inflammation
  • Insomnia and other sleep disorders
  • Anxiety, stress and depression
  • Problems with appetite or low metabolism
  • Weak immune system
  • Skin conditions
  • Chronic diseases

Most often people use CBD oil for its analgesic properties to help relieve pain in the body. It can help people that suffer from issues such as back pain or even full body pain due to conditions like cancer. It is useful for pain relief because it can disrupt the activity of pain receptors in the body and cause a release of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine instead.

CBD oil is also thought to fight inflammation which can provide relief from things like arthritis, migraines and joint disorders. It can also combat anxiety by producing the “feel good” neurotransmitters and increasing the level of positive hormones in the body. It can help people sleep by providing a strong sedative quality that fights issues with insomnia.

Risks and Side Effects of CBD Oil

One of the reasons that CBD oil is considered a safer and more therapeutic alternative to other cannabis products is because it does not contain THC. When people experience paranoia or anxiety while using marijuana products it is usually due to the psychotropic qualities of THC. CBD oil therefore has less of the side effects that are commonly associated with other types of marijuana.

Studies of CBD oil have found that it is well-tolerated across a wide range of doses and there are no significant side effects in the central nervous system or effects on mood. The most commonly reported side effect with the use of CBD oil is tiredness which is likely due to the sedative properties in the product. People have also noticed diarrhea and changes in their weight or appetite.

It is difficult to determine the risks of CBD oil as there is very little long-term safety data available and the product needs to be further researched. It is important to discuss the use of CBD oil for specific health concerns with your doctor before trying it so that you can avoid any problem with treatment. CBD has not been approved by the FDA for the treatment of any condition so it is not officially regulated by the government.

If you are interested in using CBD oil to treat a condition, talk to your doctor to help determine the dose and the type of product that they feel will be most effective. Make sure to discuss any potential risks that they feel could affect you based on your specific condition. Always follow the instructions carefully as far as dosage and application of the product for the best results.

Should Sober People Drink Kombucha?

Posted on: March 10th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Should Sober People Drink Kombucha?

A recent health trend that has been growing more popular every year is the drink known as kombucha. Sold mostly in health stores initially, it is now available in almost any grocery store and many restaurants. People drink kombucha for its fruity flavor and probiotic properties that are said to improve digestion and boost the immune system.

One of the issues with kombucha that makes it mildly controversial is the fact that the drink is essentially a fermented tea. Through the natural process of fermentation, there is a trace amount of alcohol in every glass or bottle of kombucha. Although the specific percentage is often not listed, most brands will state on their label that the alcohol content is less than 0.5%.

However, there are certain types of kombucha which contain more than the legal amount of 0.5% and now require the buyer to present their I.D. before purchasing it. The alcohol levels in these brands are still minimal but it raises questions about how to classify kombucha. Although kombucha is not technically a beer, wine or other typical alcoholic drink, is it still safe for people in recovery to drink?

What is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a simple drink made from some type of tea, usually black or green tea, sugar for fermentation, fruit juice for flavor and a “scoby” or symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. These ingredients are combined and allowed to ferment for a period of time. The drink is said to have great healing properties and contains numerous enzymes, probiotics and polyphenols which are good for digestion and helping the liver.

Even though it has been touted as a superfood, kombucha had some controversy in recent years after the popular GT brand had to pull all of its bottles from the Whole Foods shelves. It was discovered that their black label kombucha contained more than the legal limit of 0.5% and it was then that the drink became more regulated with certain brands and flavors requiring I.D. to be purchased. Some brands even purposefully make higher percentage kombucha with drinks containing as much as 7% alcohol.

Sobriety and Kombucha

Although kombucha that doesn’t require I.D. is not technically an alcoholic drink, some people may still be weary of drinking it. People in recovery or those that choose to be sober may feel that kombucha is not safe for them. The question of whether a sober person should drink kombucha depends on the individual and their personal stage of recovery.

Someone who recently quit drinking and is still experiencing cravings for alcohol should probably avoid drinking kombucha. It is believed that even trace amounts of alcohol can trigger the body to crave more alcohol. That is why many people in recovery need to avoid cooking with alcohol or using other products that might contain some alcohol.

Twelve step programs tend to discourage members from drinking things like non-alcoholic beer because it becomes a slippery slope that can lead them down the road to relapse. Even the smell of alcohol can be enough to trigger cravings and relapse. Non-alcoholic beer typically has about 0.5% alcohol content which is the same as many kombuchas.

When considering whether to drink kombucha or not, a sober person should evaluate how it makes them feel. Does drinking it make them feel healthy and happy or does it simply make them crave a real beer or wine? Some people might be able to drink kombucha without experiencing any triggers or cravings but it depends on the individual person.

Health and Recovery

A good way to test whether a person should drink kombucha is to think about their motivation for doing so. Are you drinking it because it makes you feel relaxed or reminds you of the way you felt when you had a beer? Or are you simply enjoying it for its health properties and the taste?

When a drink is reminiscent of alcohol for someone it can become a problem because they will eventually want to have a real drink. If you are concerned about drinking kombucha there are plenty of alternative choices for probiotics and health drinks that can be just as effective. Many drinks and foods have probiotics added but are not fermented so there is no trace alcohol that could be harmful to recovery.

The decision to drink kombucha is a personal one and something that the individual has to make for themselves. If you don’t feel stable in your recovery then you should avoid it but if you are finding your sober life easier then it might be okay to at least try it. You need to listen to your body and your mind to make sure that you are making the right choice for your own recovery goals.