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

map The Gooden Center

Archive for the ‘Mental Health’ Category

Following a Wellness Recovery Action Plan

Posted on: January 29th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Following a Wellness Recovery Action Plan

When you discover that you have mental health issues through a diagnosis it can be overwhelming to think of how it will affect your life. Even though mental health can be complex, it can be helpful for people to find ways that they can take action for their own well being. People need to have tools available to them to be able to manage their mental illness day to day.

A wellness recovery action plan is a way for people to work toward taking control of their mental health so that they are not always at the mercy of their symptoms. It is a process by which people can decrease their troubling thoughts and behaviors, increase their feelings of personal empowerment, improve the quality of their life and reach their goals. Many treatment programs offer their patients help through creating a wellness recovery action plan or WRAP that will be personalized to their needs.

In order to overcome personal wellness issues people need to be equipped with tools that make it easier to navigate daily life. A WRAP is a way for them to help figure out what tools they need and how to apply them to various situations that affect their mental health and wellness. Having an action plan helps people to feel more prepared and informed about their mental health problems.

Key Elements of an Action Plan

In the process of developing an action plan, patients will need to focus on a few key elements. They will need to make a list of things that help improve their wellness so that it is part of their toolbox whenever they are experiencing symptoms. Resources for wellness could include things like contacting friends or supporters, counseling, mindfulness exercises, relaxation techniques, journaling or other actions that they find personally help them feel better.

Once a patient knows what their wellness tools are they will know where to turn or what actions to take when they are feeling an onset of symptoms. Their action plan can also include ideas for daily maintenance so that they know what they need to accomplish everyday to maintain their wellness. They could incorporate some of their wellness tools as part of their daily routine so that they minimize stress and prevent triggers.

As part of their wellness recovery action plan, patients also need to know as much as possible about their own personal triggers. A trigger is some type of external circumstance, or event that can make you feel uncomfortable and lead to symptoms of your disorder such as anxiety or depression. When patients are aware of their triggers they can find ways to avoid them or manage them the best that they can.

In addition to recognizing triggers, patients must be aware of the early warning signs that their mental health is beginning to suffer. These could be internal, subtle signs that you feel worse than usual and the feelings could escalate if you don’t manage them with the right actions. It is important to take advantage of wellness tools any time trigger and early warning signs become an issue.

Handling a Crisis

Another crucial part of a WRAP is having a crisis plan in advance so that you will know what actions to take should you experience a difficult episode of your mental illness. Even with careful maintenance a crisis can occur at any time and you need to be prepared to handle it. You should be able to recognize signs of a crisis as early as possible so that you can ask caretakers or friends for support.

You should have a plan in place for you want to take over responsibilities for you during a crisis and what type of healthcare you will need. Make sure whoever is supporting you understands what they will need to do to provide you with care and what possible actions they should avoid for your wellness. You can also have a post-crisis plan so that you know what to do to get yourself well again and back on your daily maintenance plan.

You recovery action plan needs to take into account every possibility that could occur with your illness. From daily maintenance of mental health symptoms to a more intense episode, it is important to be prepared for absolutely everything. Having a crisis plan in place helps patients feel more confident about how to handle potential issues in the future.

A WRAP is something you can work on with your therapist or while you are in a treatment program. It will continue to be useful even after you have stabilized and are feeling better. No matter what stage you are in with your mental health, life can be unpredictable and a wellness recovery action plan can help you be ready for anything.

Accepting a Late-Onset Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis

Posted on: January 27th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Accepting a Late-Onset Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis

Bipolar disorder is a complicated mental illness and it often takes some time for people to be properly diagnosed. Even though most symptoms of bipolar disorder start to appear some time in adolescence or early adulthood, there are also cases of late onset of bipolar disorder. People who have symptoms starting later in adulthood, from their 50s on are considered to have late onset bipolar disorder.

Late onset bipolar disorder can be difficult to recognize but if you have been diagnosed with this problem then it is not too late to receive treatment. Many people who have bipolar disorder are misdiagnosed, especially older individuals whose symptoms may often be confused with other conditions. Between 5 to 10 percent of people with bipolar disorder will be at least 50 when they first begin to show symptoms of mania or hypomania.

Although it can be painful to accept that you have developed a mental illness later in life, being accurately diagnosed can be a powerful step in the right direction. Many people suffer for years with bipolar disorder but are not aware that this is the condition they have. Knowing that you have this disorder can help you learn more about it and find the right ways to manage your symptoms.

Understanding Bipolar Disorder

Most people understand very little about bipolar disorder and if you have spent most of your life without any mental illness symptoms then it might seem jarring to receive a diagnosis. It can be helpful to learn all you can about bipolar disorder including the typical symptoms and how they are usually treated. Educating yourself about your illness as you receive treatment can help you come to terms with the fact that you will live with it.

Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition and not something that can be completely eliminated but the symptoms can be managed and minimized through the help of medication, psychotherapy and family support. People with bipolar disorder can lead very normal and stable lives, even if they have a late onset. It is very important to look into treatment options as soon as you are given a diagnosis so that you can start to manage the disorder and familiarize yourself with how it affects your life.

Bipolar disorder has two different phases that tend to shift back and forth for periods of weeks or months. There is the manic stage and the depressive stage, both of which can seriously interfere with a person’s daily life if they are not getting help and support from a therapist. Each stage has its own set of symptoms and someone with late onset bipolar disorder may experience the mood swings differently than someone younger.

Some of the symptoms of late onset bipolar disorder during a manic episode are:

  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Being easily distracted
  • More energy and less need for sleep
  • Irritability

A depressive episode for late onset bipolar disorder could include:

  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Feeling fatigued and overly tired
  • Having difficulty concentrating or remembering things
  • Changing daily habits
  • Having thoughts about or attempting suicide

Because the symptoms of late onset bipolar disorder can be unique, it is important to be able to recognize when you are experiencing a manic or depressive episode so that you can get support and help. You should understand the symptoms as well as the triggers that tend to cause mood swings to occur.

Treating Late Onset Bipolar Disorder

Although it is a more rare type of illness, treatment options are beginning to expand for late onset bipolar disorder. Look for professional therapists or a treatment program that can accommodate your disorder so that you can receive personalized treatment for your unique issues. Having a treatment plan that can cater to your specific symptoms and the stage that you are in life can lead to better success in recovery.

A treatment plan will most likely include a variety of different approaches that will help to stabilize your moods and minimize your symptoms. There are a number of medications that your psychiatrist might suggest including mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, antidepressants, or anti-anxiety medications. A combination of a few of these kinds of medications might be necessary for your illness depending on the severity of your symptoms and what your doctor thinks might be best for your situation.

Aside from medication, the most important part of managing bipolar disorder is regularly attending psychotherapy. You should talk to a professional therapist about your symptoms and how they have been affecting you. Your therapist can help to teach you techniques to avoid triggers, minimize your symptoms and better ways to handle episodes when they do occur.

Even though bipolar disorder is a difficult illness, treatment can make it much more manageable. If you have been diagnosed with late onset bipolar disorder find a treatment program for the support you need.

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.

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.