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

Battling Mental Health & Alcoholism

Posted on: December 17th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Battling Mental Health & Alcoholism

Patti is a widowed mother of three sons who has been treating her depression and OCD for the past four decades. She has had some degree of success, although as she has aged, she has grown ever more unreliable and untrustworthy, and has neglected her physical health. This is in spite of chronic use of medication for her mental health, and hundreds of hours of therapy.

Her sons had run out of ideas as to how to get her to take better care of herself and to be honest with them. After all, if medical professionals could not help, what could they do.

However, after falling out with her long-time psychiatrist, she has begun to see a new provider who has recognized that Patti suffers from alcoholism. All of the treatment Patti has been receiving for the past four decades has been compromised by her continued abuse of alcohol. Alcohol has countered the effects of her medication, and her habit of lying to therapists has rendered therapy almost ineffectual.

With time spent in rehab, along with a more responsible approach from her new psychiatrist and therapist, she has begun to turn her life around, winning back the trust of her children, improving her mental and physical health, and living life with a renewed vigor.

Mental health and alcoholism

Patti’s story is far from unique. Mental health and alcoholism go hand-in-hand. Many alcoholics began drinking in order to relieve the symptoms of mental illness. Conversely, alcoholism itself can lead to mental illness through a deterioration of coping mechanisms, healthy life choices, and alcohol’s chemical effects.

Treatment that ignores the connection between mental health and alcoholism is often ineffectual and can even mask the real issues. As became clear for Patti, antidepressants and other mental health medications can be harmful when used in conjunction with alcohol. Therapy does not have the desired effects if the individual is dishonest about their alcoholism and uses alcohol rather than the techniques offered by the therapist.

On the other hand, recovery from alcoholism will not last without treating co-occurring mental illnesses. It will simply leave the individual without the damaging coping mechanisms they’ve been using. They are likely to start using alcohol again as soon as they face challenges they are not equipped to overcome in a healthy way.

Common co-occurring mental illnesses

Certain mental illnesses often co-occur with alcoholism. These include but are not limited to:

  • depression: to numb the symptoms of depression, individuals use alcohol when other coping mechanisms don’t work. Consequently, they neglect to learn healthy mechanisms, exacerbating the problem
  • bipolar disorder: even in the manic phase of bipolar disorder, sufferers can begin to use alcohol to cope. Unlike with depressive episodes, this is not to numb the pain, but rather to allow them to turn off thoughts that won’t stop cycling
  • insomnia: similarly, alcohol can, in the short term, make it easier to turn one’s mind off to help them fall asleep. However, it ultimately lessens the quality of sleep and worsens the effects of insomnia
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): people suffering with OCD often turn to alcohol to numb out obsessive thoughts
  • various personality disorders: people with personality disorders often turn to alcohol for a number of reasons, such as making it easier to socialize, crying out for help and attention, and more

Treating mental health and alcoholism

Treating mental health and alcoholism

Patti learned that treating her mental illness in isolation could never be fully effective. While it helped her survive for many years, she sabotaged relationships, caused physical harm to her body, and numbed out much of what was going on in her and her family’s lives. Only when she treated both could she finally get passed the blocks which had been hampering her life for so long.

This is the case for most people suffering from co-occurring mental illnesses and alcoholism. If they only treat their alcoholism, they are likely to relapse. If they only treat the mental illness, much of the work will be undone by their continued alcohol abuse.

The best treatment centers take a dual diagnosis approach, ensuring that residents are given the tools they need to recover in all aspects of their lives.

Parallel treatments

In some respects, this will mean that residents follow two related but separate treatment courses. They will work with the program provided for their alcoholism, fully committing to following through and ending their alcohol use. They will also work with a therapist to treat their mental illness and learn healthy coping mechanisms.

These are inevitably connected. Some of the steps residents go through to recover from alcoholism will focus on exploring the underlying cause of the problem. Furthermore, the therapist will work with the resident in learning to use healthy coping mechanisms as opposed to alcohol when faced with challenges.

Mutually effective treatments

On the other hand, certain treatments are effective for treating both mental illness and alcoholism at the same time. Mindfulness is one poignant example. Courses that use mindfulness, such as mindfulness-based stress-reduction (MBSR) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), have been proven effective at treating a range of mental illnesses. At the same time, the principles on which they are based have long been used as essential factors of addiction recovery.

One of the fundamental principles taught in recovery centers is that one cannot focus on working with the entirety of their lifetime. Rather, one can succeed by focusing on the present moment. That’s all one has control over, after all. This is essential in order to approach recovery in a way that is not overwhelming or unrealistic.

Furthermore, much of the suffering caused by mental illness and alcoholism stems from a lack of knowledge of how to effectively navigate painful feelings which can only be experienced in the moment.

Effective long-term treatment

In order to avoid spending endless time and money on ineffective treatment of either mental illness or alcoholism, both need to be treated at the same time. Someone suffering from both simply cannot treat one in isolation without leaving the door open to further problems.

As Patti learned, treating both is the key towards living a revitalized, healthy life. Always choose a treatment center or program that takes a dual diagnosis approach. This way, you can achieve greater results for both your mental health and continued recovery.

References:

  1. Mary W. Kuria, David M. Ndetei, Isodore S. Obot, et al., “The Association between Alcohol Dependence and Depression before and after Treatment for Alcohol Dependence,” ISRN Psychiatry, vol. 2012, Article ID 482802, 6 pages, 2012. https://doi.org/10.5402/2012/482802
  2. Boisvert, R., Martin, L., Grosek, M. and Clarie, A. (2008). Effectiveness of a peer-support community in addiction recovery: participation as intervention. Occupational Therapy International, 15(4), pp.205-220.
  3. Mancebo, M. C., Grant, J. E., Pinto, A., Eisen, J. L., & Rasmussen, S. A. (2009). Substance use disorders in an obsessive compulsive disorder clinical sample. Journal of anxiety disorders, 23(4), 429–435. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2008.08.008
  4. Robert E. Drake, Carolyn Mercer-McFadden, Kim T. Mueser, Gregory J. McHugo, Gary R. Bond, Review of Integrated Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment for Patients With Dual Disorders, Schizophrenia Bulletin, Volume 24, Issue 4, 1998, Pages 589–608, https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.schbul.a033351
  5. Young, M. E., DeLorenzi, L. d. and Cunningham, L. (2011), Using Meditation in Addiction Counseling. Journal of Addictions & Offender Counseling, 32: 58-71. doi:10.1002/j.2161-1874.2011.tb00207.x

Living With Anxiety

Posted on: December 9th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Living With Anxiety

Anxiety rates have skyrocketed, and more people have been diagnosed with different forms of anxiety disorders from generalized anxiety disorder to OCD and PTSD. Although there is technically no “cure” for anxiety, there is what’s understood as permanent recovery.  Fortunately, treatment methods have come a long way that can greatly reduce symptoms and everyday struggles. Simple breathing exercises to cutting edge cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy are all available to treat anxiety.

It’s important to mention, as human, a certain level of anxiety is necessary. Anxiety makes us alert, we need our anxiety to function in life and our body relies on its signals to warn of potential danger. An anxiety disorder is when these signals are firing without the presence of danger. Those who’s anxiety symptoms are debilitating and negatively affecting their daily life need professional treatment. Psychiatrists can prescribe anxiety medication and alternative therapies to patients to help them manage symptoms and live fulfilling lives as soon as they wake up.

The idea is that anxiety is something that is managed day in and day out. Besides a treatment program there are little things one can make sure implement into their schedule to manage their anxiety.

For those living with anxiety, an uninterrupted, restful night of sleep can set the tone for the day ahead.  A purposeful morning routine is crucial as well to set into motion a productive day. Professionals advise against morning coffee for those prone to caffeine-induced anxiety. Other activities that should be avoided immediately after waking up include scrolling through social media and news feed. Those living with anxiety can benefit from a morning meditation session, a healthy breakfast or light exercise. Starting the day calm, centered and connected with yourself before factors beyond your control come into play is essential.

One of the most common factors that contribute to anxiety rates are a person’s work life. If job stress is a big source of anxiety, consider finding a job that respects your mental health. More companies are now accommodating to their employee’s mental health and offer benefits like mental health days, wellness programs, healthy snack options, meditations rooms, and so much more. If things get overwhelming it’s important take a break and step away. Being honest with your employer about your workload and capabilities is important.

Having hobbies or participating in activities outside of work are highly recommend. Besides exercise, things like book clubs, gardening, making music or volunteer work can help ease anxiety. Exercise is highly recommend for anxiety because of the endorphins produced, stress relief and improved sleep, however finding an activity you are personally comfortable with is the key.  Group activities are also valuable in maintaining social connections. Participating in support groups are important but if that is not available, making time for family members and friends is irreplaceable.

Again, anxiety disorders should be treated by a professional. The helpful everyday tips and suggestions are meant to supplement individualized treatment plan.

 

References:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/generalized-anxiety-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20361045

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/how-to-press-acupressure-points-for-anxiety

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323456.php

 

Military Personnel At High-Risk For Opioid Abuse

Posted on: November 24th, 2019 by The Gooden Center 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/