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

E-Cigs and Vaping Addiction

Posted on: November 6th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments

E-Cigs and Vaping Addiction

Electronic cigarettes or “e-cigs” have surged in popularity over the past couple years. Although less people smoke traditional cigarettes, e-cigs and vaping have become the new standard, making this vaping trend reach epidemic proportion especially within younger age demographics. According to Psycom, 1 in 5 high school students (3.05 million) and 1 in 20 middle school students (570,000) use e-cigs and vape pens. This dramatic increase in teen usage has resulted in high schools out right banning any vaping paraphernalia from school campuses across the nation.

What is vaping?

Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling the vapor produced by heating up the nicotine liquid. Some liquids are nicotine free and are solely flavored vapors awhile others have THC. These pens deliver high levels of nicotine, making the product extremely addictive. What was supposed to be a smoking cessation aid has actually formed a whole new throng of nicotine addicts. The number of lung illnesses linked to vaping has risen again across the United States.

Anti-tobacco made impressive gains over the years with smoking rates progressively down and even went so far to challenge millennials and Gen Z to be the generation that ends smoking. However, these anti-smoking groups have now met a whole new monster. Now their main fight is against vape pens, most popularly,

Their new video campaigns titled “No One Knows The Long-Term Effects of JUULing. Not even… the CEO of JUUL.” has garnered thousands of views. Although there are a number of e -cig brands and dozens of startups, Juul makes up a huge portion of the market and receives a lot of lot of backlash and blame. Juul has landed in lot of trouble for “accidentally” being marketed to young people via social media and for using their consumers s lab rats.

Adolescent Brain Development and Addiction

What is the most troublesome is that many teens believe that vaping is safer than cigarettes and that they are making a responsible health decision. The prefrontal cortex, also known as the decision maker, is not fully developed until the mid-20s. The pre-frontal cortex forms judgments and controls impulses and emotions and when it’s still in its immature state, immature behavior mostly results.

Not only does this make teens and young adults more risk-seeking but another part of their brain that is fully developed is the nucleus accumbens, also known as the reward system. Unfortunately, this combination makes teens and substance abuse very dangerous. Studies show that teens and young adults are more likely to become addicted to alcohol and drugs because of this brain plasticity.

Mental Health and Treatment

A study report by the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine reports that people who suffer from depression, anxiety and other mental health concerns are twice as likely to try e-cigs and three times as likely to use vape pens.

Many adolescents don’t believe they can become addicted to nicotine but face challenges when they try to quit. Those that do manage to quit encounter many daily relapse triggers including their friends or classmates that continue to vape, locations they would normally vape or general boredom. In this case, prevention is key. Taking time to educate your teen or young adult about the very real dangers of e-cigs and vape pens.Treatment including cognitive behavioral therapy, individual psychotherapy and group therapy as well as mindfulness treatment can help with nicotine addiction.

References:

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/vaping/vaping-illness-epidemic-shows-no-sign-slowing-n1064546

https://observer.com/2019/11/juul-e-cigarettes-addiction-tobacco-harm-reduction/

https://childmind.org/article/teen-vaping-what-you-need-to-know/

https://www.yalemedicine.org/stories/vaping-nicotine-addiction/

https://www.socialworktoday.com/news/dn_062014.shtml

https://www.psycom.net/mental-health-wellbeing/juuling-teenagers-vaping/

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/

 

The Philosophy of Second Chances

Posted on: April 15th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments
The Philosophy of Second Chances

When people offend or hurt us, we tend to react differently depending on our beliefs about that person, our feelings of trust and our past experiences. How do we know when it will be a good idea to give a person a second chance and forgive them? Forgiveness can be fundamental for human relationships but it is also important to protect yourself in some cases and simply avoid toxic people.

Everyone needs to draw their own line for themselves when it comes to giving second chances. Even though it can be challenging to forgive someone who has hurt you, the reality is that people feel happier when they share more compassion and empathy rather than anger. People are adaptable and able to learn from their mistakes, so as long as you explain to someone how they hurt you they may be able to change their ways.

Forgiveness and second chances can actually be a useful and practical solution for conflict and can even save emotional energy for everyone involved. It also allows other people to be more forgiving to you in the future if you were to make any mistakes. It can ease your mind knowing that your relationships with other people don’t have to involve so many expectations.

There are some cases where you may feel unable to give someone a second chance. Maybe they have hurt you many times in the past, don’t seem remorseful about what they’ve done or they refuse to acknowledge that they made a mistake. It is always your decision to follow your intuition about forgiveness and choose when to give someone a second chance.

Although it can sometimes be easy to shut someone out of your life, more often you will feel better and open to others when you are able to forgive.

I’m not Schizophrenic I am Schizoaffective

Posted on: May 12th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Schizophrenic or Schizoaffective?

Schizophrenic or Schizoaffective

Schizophrenic or Schizoaffective? What do you think? Although such 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 the 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 such 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 this 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 this 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 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.