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 ‘Mental Health’ Category

Military Personnel At High-Risk For Opioid Abuse

Posted on: November 24th, 2019 by emarketed No Comments

Military Personnel At High-Risk For Opioid Abuse

The United States opioid epidemic is hitting the military population especially hard. According to DrugAbuse.gov rates of prescription opioid misuse are higher among service members than among civilians. Veterans are also more likely to suffer a fatal opioid overdose than civilians. Most professionals believe the rates are mostly due to alleviating PTSD symptoms. Specifically, combat exposure puts active duty military and veterans at a great risk for abusing prescription opioids.

Additionally, Military Times reports that about a third of opioid abuse among service members and veterans could be explained by a war injury and subsequent chronic pain. Service-related injuries are almost always prescribed prescription opioids. The National Bureau of Economic Research reports the government health care costs associated with the treatment for active-duty service members and veterans who misuse prescription painkillers is $1 billion per year.

Of the military branches, the Army and Marine Corps had showed the highest rates of use, followed by the Navy and then the Air Force. The VA also reported a significant upsurge in opioid use disorders from veterans following combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which used to be known as “shell shock” is common for military personnel. Exposure to combat stress, witnessing the loss of a friend, and natural disasters can all cause PTSD. Most common symptoms include negative flashbacks, avoidance, negative changes in thoughts and moods, numbness, irritability and insomnia. Multiple deployments, injury and high stress also affect the mental health of military personnel.

Other Mental Health Issues

While PTSD is the most talked about when it comes to military mental health, issues including depression, anxiety, mood disorders are common as well. Service members can experience depression during deployment or suffer from severe anxiety leading up to deployment. Military stress can affect the entire family, with more children experiencing behavioral issues if they have a parent deployed

The Department of Veteran Affairs Challenges

The VA along with the Department of Defense has made efforts to curb opioid prescriptions by funding research and implementing guidelines. Their Opioid Safety Initiative encouraged military personal to explore alternative pain management treatments as well as educating healthcare providers on the risks of prescribing opioids.The prescription of opioids from VA has been decreasing due to the reluctance of doctors.

The military also enforces a strict zero-tolerance policy which creates a stigma around drug abuse and addiction. Those with substance abuse issues often suffer in silence due to fear of losing rank or being discharged and can also resort to isolating themselves resulting in additional mental health distresses.

Treatment

Those diagnosed with PTSD or Opioid Abuse Disorder can greatly benefit from one on one psychotherapy as well as group therapy and other forms treatment. The VA has multiple resources available here that also include helpful resources for spouses and family members. Military personnel and their families form a tight-knit community and opening up and supporting one another in these times is most valuable.

References:

https://www.militarytimes.com/pay-benefits/2019/10/14/combat-troops-at-higher-risk-for-opioid-heroin-addiction-study-says/

https://www.military.com/spouse/military-life/wounded-warriors/opiate-addiction-and-veterans-how-to-get-help.html

https://www.vox.com/first-person/2019/11/11/20955190/veterans-opioid-addiction-shame

 

 

Mental Health and Money Disorders

Posted on: November 18th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Mental Health and Money Disorders

From the rising cost of living to student loan, Americans are in debt and have dismal savings account. According to Psychology Today “3 out of 4 Americans identified money as the number one source of stress in their lives.” Financial problems are so widespread that people are now using the term “money disorders” to describe their condition.

What Is A Money Disorder?

Money disorders are defined as repetitive destructive financial behaviors. These money disorders can further develop into mental health disorders like depression, anxiety and can even result in substance abuse. On the other hand, health care and finance professionals also say that mental health disorders often result in negative financial complications.

It is not unusual for people to develop their money disorder from their childhood. If someone grew up in poverty, financial instability or witnessed their parents stress or argue about money, they may internalize those feelings into adulthood. Even those that grew up more or less wealthy and witnessed their parents spend frivolously can also experience an affected outlook on their spending behaviors.

Types of Money Disorders

Money disorders can manifest in two main ways. Some people can be described as money avoidant and others as money worshipping. Those that are money avoidant have a general uneasiness about money all the time. They are constantly worried they will not have enough money and begin to hoard their belongings or become a workaholic. Other forms of money avoidance include financial denial, financial rejection underspending and excessive risk aversion. In short, money makes them anxious.

Those that are money worshipping are characterized by gambling, compulsive buying and overspending. Acquiring money and spending money makes these people feel good in that they ignore any negative repercussions that may result in their spending.

Stress and Depression

Due to the emotional issues that accompany these behaviors, financial insecurity wreaks havoc on our mental health. Unfortunately, debt and stress go hand in hand and because debt triggers stress, the brains is in constant panic mode making a person more susceptible to poor mental health. When you’re constantly stressed about money other things like health, family and other important things get neglected. Constant money related stress can lead a person to feel hopeless and have low self-esteem. According to debt.org those with higher levels of unemployment were more likely to purchase over-the-counter pain killers.

Those that have mental health issues like Bipolar Disorder, PTSD and Compulsive Shopping Disorder can also engage in reckless spending while they are in a manic phase. Those suffering with depression may feel spending money can fix their mood short term. Also, people generally spend more money when they feel unwell in hopes their purchases will make them feel better.

Treatment

Treatment and counseling are available for people who feel they need help managing their money disorders. Others are trying to push for banks to implement mental-health options or certain barriers for those prone to impulsively mismanage their money. Support groups and other resources are available for those looking for guidance.

References:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mind-over-money/201001/do-you-have-money-disorder

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/26/money-disorders-and-debt-can-come-from-anxiety-depression-or-trauma.html

https://www.bustle.com/p/15-fascinating-signs-you-may-have-a-money-disorder-15943988

https://globalnews.ca/news/6048717/money-disorder/

https://www.debt.org/advice/emotional-effects/

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/4w5vp9/why-your-mental-health-is-making-you-poor

 

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/

Bipolar Disorder and Social Media

Posted on: October 23rd, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Bipolar Disorder and Social Media

Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are a place where your family members, high school friends and new coworkers dump their vacation photos, celebrations, political rants, and for some a way broadcast their times of crisis. We’ve all came across an alarming Instagram post or Facebook status update that made us stop and wonder, “are they alright?”.

In an article in the New York Times, titled “Social Mania” the author details his brother, who is diagnosed bipolar disorder, and his relationship with social media. The author details his online behavior, “His episodes were unpredictable in every way except for how predictably they manifested on Facebook: Between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., he’d push out dozens of posts per hour, his Facebook timeline became his manic stream of consciousness, and my personal barometer for his illness”. As a vast amount of the population use social media on a daily basis, the question is, does social media help or harm users with diagnosed mental illness?

Mental health and social media have a complex relationship. While some have found support and a sense of community within social media, others believe the very nature of social media can exacerbate their mental health. As so many users share mostly the good, many can’t help but compare their own lives and ultimately feel inadequate. Studies show that the more time people spend on Facebook, the more they felt “depression and demoralization”. How they perceive others in turns skews how they perceive themselves, and an irrational sense of self often develops.

For bipolar disorder specifically, social media can become a playground for their mania. Things like dating apps, gambling app and even Instagram shopping features are almost made to incite those with strong impulsive behaviors. The amount of time spent on social media can cater to those with addictive inclinations. For those undergoing a major depressive episode social media can make them feel increasingly more isolated.

One study from National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan reported they have developed a way to identify the early signs of bipolar disorder via Twitter. By studying the time of a tweet, the frequency of posting and the language used, researchers then developed an algorithm to use patterns and distinguish between people with and without early signs of bipolar disorder. Although Facebook and Twitter can be the most telling in terms of recognizing mental health concerns, Instagram has been rated the worst in terms of negative effect on mental health.

For some, banning social media entirely from their lives may be a more extreme approach. However, it is important to be conscious of their mental state after using social media. If they feel social media has become overwhelming or worsening their symptoms they may consider taking a break. Instead of looking for online connection, those may find it more fulfilling to connect with family members, old friends or other people offline. The benefits of physical exercise is a highly recommended activity to help alleviate bipolar disorder symptoms and a healthier way to pass time and make friends.

 

References:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/27/well/family/bipolar-disorder-social-media.html

https://www.bphope.com/social-media-bipolar-trigger/

https://graziadaily.co.uk/life/real-life/instagram-worst-mental-health-2/

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/609900/your-tweets-could-show-if-you-need-help-for-bipolar-disorder/

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