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

The Importance of Self-Care for Mental Health

Posted on: April 10th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments

The Importance of Self-Care for Mental Health

What words come to mind when you think about mental health treatment? Medication, maybe. Therapy of all kinds: CBT, DBT, existential, behavioral.

All of these have something in common. They’re prescribed or facilitated by licensed mental health professionals. However, the final piece of the puzzle is something that everyone can implement on their own: self-care.

Self-care is crucial for mental health, and is highly recommended even for those who are doing okay. Without self-care, all other treatments are fighting an uphill battle. Yes, they work. But their effectiveness is tempered by self-neglect.

Why is self-care so important for mental health? Let’s start by defining exactly what we’re referring to when we speak of self-care.

What Is Self-Care?

Self-care refers to anything you do to improve your wellbeing and happiness. This can include anything from regular exercise to the occasional bubble bath.

Usually, we speak of it in the context of doing things for yourself that, technically, don’t need to be done. You don’t need a massage. You don’t need to listen to relaxing music or go out to the movies. Doing these things therefore epitomizes self-care. Some would consider it indulgent, as it isn’t technically productive time. But it does something of far greater value than most of what we consider productive activity.

Why Does Self-Care Impact Mental Health?

Some forms of self-care are intuitively helpful for mental health. Exercise, eating well, and sleeping well, all affect our physical health as well as giving us energy to do what needs to be done every day.

But how do hobbies, baths, and the like make a difference to mental health? There are 3 main reasons.

A Sense of Security

When it comes down to it, anxiety is a product of feeling unsafe in one way or another. It differs from fear in that it is not an urgent, life threatening sense of danger we’re worried about. Rather, anxiety relates to the things that keep our world as we know it in order.

Unfortunately, the solution to the problems excessive anxiety causes us cannot be to fix everything in our lives and keep everything in control. That’s impossible, especially because it’s not really up to us most of the time.

Therapy helps us learn to manage the anxiety, but self-care has its own important place. Self-care, quite simply, makes us feel cared for. When we know we’re cared for, we feel a sense of security. That sense of security reduces the potency of the anxiety. Yes, the triggers remain, but you will feel like a more robust person, ready to deal with them.

Because You’re Worth It

One common factor in most mental illnesses is a shaky sense of self. You’re questioning who you are and, more urgently, whether you matter at all. You may not have received the unconditional love of a parent, or maybe you interpreted their care as coming at a steep price.

Whatever the reason is, you need to develop your sense of self in order to truly heal. Self-care is a perfect start. Your mind may shred all evidence that others find you worthwhile, but actions can be potent regardless. Taking care of yourself is a practical demonstration of your own self-worth. In a way, it’s as if you’re “faking it til you make it”.

Yourself And Others

In case you feel that self-care is, in fact, selfish, here’s the good news. Without caring for yourself, you’re not going to be able to care for others. As RuPaul puts it:

“If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”

In other words, you’re the person you spend most of your time with. You’re the person who experiences your own attitudes and actions. If you’re not caring for yourself, you’re neglecting your caring skills altogether. Conversely, if you are giving yourself love and care, you build your caring skills and naturally start relating to others with more compassion and empathy.

Hopefully, you can see the importance of self-care for mental health. So, what can you do to care for yourself?

Self-Care Tips

The following are some of the tenets of good self-care:

  • Do things you enjoy. We tend to see hobbies as self-indulgent or a waste of time. After all, they don’t make us money and can take up a lot of time. But hobbies are often the very things that give us the sense of fulfillment we crave. Committing to do things you enjoy is the ultimate expression of self-care.
  • Be a pleasure connoisseur. Pleasure is also something seen as selfish or unnecessary. But pleasure is what gives life its glow, making us feel good and giving us energy to pursue our goals. However, if you indulge in pleasure mindlessly, you miss much of the experience and can end up doing unhealthy things. Rather, be a pleasure connoisseur, paying attention to the things you like and why you like them. Quality, in this case, is better than quantity.
  • See friends. Not everyone loves socializing all the time. But we all need it to some extent. If you’re not much of an extrovert, see friends in a one-on-one context. If you do love crowds, don’t feel guilty about taking a night off to go to a party or gathering.
  • Go home. Work is a hugely important part of our lives. And we treat it that way. It takes up much of our mindspace, as well as eight hours of every weekday. However, it is important to give yourself a break when you can. If you find yourself staying late at work when you don’t have to, or working on weekends, it is time to go home. Work may give you satisfaction and fulfillment, and at the least it gives you financial security, but we all need time away from it.

Self-care is incredibly important to mental health. By focusing on self-care, you make yourself less vulnerable to mental illness, and make recovery that much smoother.

Do You Remember Most of Your Childhood?

Posted on: March 30th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments
Do You Remember Most of Your Childhood?

Although it can be difficult to remember a lot of details from your childhood, most people have certain emotional memories or moments that stand out from growing up. However, people that experience traumatic events in childhood may have more trouble remembering the event itself and things associated with it. Even as adults, people who have been through trauma can still subconsciously block out memories to protect themselves from pain.

Even when certain memories are repressed, they can still affect the person causing them to feel anger, anxiety or depression. When people block out memories of traumatic experiences such as abuse, recovering those memories can help them deal with problems they are having in the present. People may start remembering traumatic experiences on their own or a therapist can help bring those memories to the surface.

Recovered memories can be triggered by certain events, people or situations that remind the person of their past trauma. They may suddenly recall feelings or details of their trauma that they hadn’t thought about it years. Although it can be terrifying and painful to suddenly remember traumatic events such as abuse, ultimately recovering memories can be healing and cathartic.

When a person begins to remember more of their childhood and brings up repressed memories they can start to have a better understanding of their current problems. Many feelings that a person goes through in the present can be directly tied to childhood trauma or things they experienced while growing up. Therapists will be able to play a key role in helping a patient remember more of their childhood and all them to understand how to resolve their emotional trauma.

Our childhood often shapes who we become in the future and remembering trauma and working through those emotions can reduce issues like anxiety, depression or anger problems.

Bad Habits vs Compulsive Disorder

Posted on: March 28th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments
Bad Habits vs Compulsive Disorder

Habits are behaviors that develop over time and become automatic or unconscious actions. A person may engage in a habit with little thought about why they are doing it or whether it should be done. Although habits are all a type of compulsion, someone with a compulsive disorder has very little control over their their behavior.

Habits, although deeply ingrained, can be changed by more awareness and thought to how a person normally behaves. Compulsions are much more difficult to address because the person may experience a lot of anxiety if they are not able to engage in their usual behavior. People with compulsive disorder or OCD will repeat certain actions as a way to ease their anxiety and because they feel intense psychological pressure to do so.

If a person has compulsions they will not be able to simply stop their behavior by simply thinking about it, and they will need more complex treatment to address their actions. People with compulsive disorder often have anxieties or obsessive thoughts that cause them to engage in compulsions. They don’t know how to cope with their overwhelming fears and doubts and end up developing rituals of repetitive behavior to stop their obsessive thoughts.

While a person with bad habits may be able to resolve their behavior on their own by becoming more mindful of what they do and replacing the bad habit with a good one, compulsions are more complicated. Compulsive disorder requires psychological intervention and cognitive behavioral therapy to help address the underlying anxieties and obsessions so that the individual can change their behavior. Patients can gradually confront their fears and obsessive thoughts and start to see that they often don’t reflect reality.

The more a person engages in compulsions it can keep reinforcing anxiety and fear so addressing these issues can help change their behavior and lead them to healthier thoughts and actions.

Schizophrenia and Bipolar Similar Diagnosis, Different Treatment

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

Schizophrenia and Bipolar Similar Diagnosis, Different Treatment

More complex mental health disorders can be difficult to identify and diagnose because they may share many symptoms with other issues. People with schizophrenia are often misdiagnosed as bipolar and vice versa because the two problems both affect how the person thinks and acts. Both issues can make it challenging to think clearly and make it through everyday activities.

Even though it is hard for psychologists to recognize these two mental disorders accurately, they are two very different problems. People with bipolar disorder have extreme mood swings that can make them act erratically either in severe depression or heightened mania. Someone with schizophrenia might struggle with hallucinations and delusions that interfere with their daily functioning.

Both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder require lifelong treatment even if symptoms improve over time. Each mental illness requires specific medications to help stabilize the patient and treat their particular brain chemistry. People with bipolar disorder may need a combination of antidepressants, mood stabilizers and antipsychotics while those with schizophrenia require mainly antipsychotic medication.

Both issues will require support from a therapist and sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy that will allow them to address their emotional issues. People with schizophrenia may need help from a therapist to identify their confused thoughts and help them think more clearly about reality. Someone with bipolar disorder will need to learn strategies to help cope with both their depressive and manic symptoms when they are triggered.

It is crucial to get an accurate diagnosis for either schizophrenia or bipolar disorder to make sure that you are getting the right treatment. Once a psychiatrist understand what is causing your symptoms they will be able to treat it more effectively through the right kind of medication and therapy methods. If you have symptoms of either disorder find a professional treatment center where you can get a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Nintendo Addresses Gaming Addiction

Posted on: March 21st, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Nintendo Addresses Gaming Addiction

Video games can be a fun distraction but over time people can become dependent on video games as a way to escape their own personal problems. Video game addiction is a growing issue that is affecting teens and young adults who spend hours playing video games and find it difficult to quit. The Nintendo company has addressed these problems by discussing ways to prevent and cope with video game addiction.

Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa believes that video game addiction has more to do with a person’s behavior and attitude around video games rather than the games themselves. In order to address addiction for young people, Nintendo has created features that allow parents to limit the amount of time that their children play the games. This can help minimize the effects of long hours of playing and the possibility of becoming dependent on them.

Gaming addiction was recently recognized officially as a mental health condition and is defined as a certain pattern of behavior that prioritizes games over everything else. One of the major characteristics of addiction that can occur with video games as well is the tendency to continue escalating the behavior in spite of negative consequences. Video game addiction can result in social impairment and harm relationships with friends and family.

While Nintendo asserts that games themselves are not the cause of addiction, it is important for people to be aware of how their gaming behavior affects their lives. If playing video games starts to interfere with work, school, relationships or other important activities then it may be time to get help. Those who have had any impairment due to video games for a period of more than twelve months may be diagnosed with gaming disorder.

Limiting time playing video games or abstaining completely may be the best solution for someone who is struggling with gaming addiction.