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 ‘Psychology Of Addiction’ Category

Internet Addiction is Real

Posted on: September 21st, 2017 by emarketed No Comments

Internet Addiction Real

Addiction is an issue that is usually characterized by compulsive behavior and it can occur in many different patterns from drug abuse to gambling and even shopping addiction. But more recently, people working in addiction treatment are beginning to see these issues develop more often on the internet. The types of symptoms most often associated with drug abuse can occur with internet addiction.

People who exhibit symptoms of internet addiction are often more vulnerable because they also have problems with depression and anxiety. As is usually the case with substance abuse they may use the internet as a way to ease their emotional symptoms. People with internet addiction may become consumed by their obsession and will be physically unable to stop checking their phone or using their computer.

Initially there was some debate in the field of mental health as to whether internet addiction was a “real thing”. However it has been gaining ground especially due to numerous cases of compulsive internet use which can at times become debilitating. Although it has not yet been officially recognized as a disorder in the DSM, mental health counselors are working to help patients cope with their issues with internet addiction.

In spite of its unofficial status, the amount of people being treated for their internet problems continues to increase. Some studies suggest that internet addiction may affect up to 38% of the general population in the U.S. and Europe. Numbers vary due to differing research methods and a lack of standardized criteria for the disorder but there is a substantial number of people affected in most western areas.  

Lack of standardization has negatively affected the ability to study this disorder and determine its true impact. It has been generally accepted that internet addiction is a subset of technology addiction in general which can include issues such as video game addiction, television addiction and other types of media. However in the digital age, internet addiction has quickly become the most prevalent of these types of addictions.

Recognizing Symptoms of Internet Addiction

As with any addiction, compulsive use of the internet often leads to negative consequences in a person’s life. When someone uses the internet to the point where they cannot stop themselves in spite of its effect on their health, relationships or financial situation then it can be considered an addiction. There are a number of different symptoms in terms of the emotional and physical manifestations of the disorder including:

-depression

-dishonesty about internet use

-feelings of guilt

-euphoria when using the computer

-inability to prioritize time or keep schedules

-isolation and loneliness

-avoidance of work and procrastination when using the internet

-agitation and other mood swings

-boredom with routine tasks

Physically a person with internet addiction have symptoms of poor health as a result of their excessive computer use such as:

-backache

-carpal tunnel

-insomnia

-poor nutrition and personal hygiene

– dry eyes and vision problems

When someone uses the internet so obsessively that they begin to harm their own physical and mental health then it is time for them to seek professional care. What can make treatment for internet addiction difficult is that most people use their internet or smartphone for many of their personal needs. It becomes hard to avoid the internet when it has become such an ever-present part of modern life.

Understanding Internet Addiction

Even though the average person checks the internet daily and may use it often to connect with other people they do not necessarily have an addiction. Internet addiction can happen in a few different categories since the internet can encompass a lot of different things. Addiction can come in the form of online gaming, social networking, email, blogging, online shopping and inappropriate use of online pornography.

Addiction to certain aspects of the internet are not necessarily due to the amount of time spent in these activities but rather how they are used. When internet use becomes risky or causes social impairments and otherwise interferes with normal life then it can be considered an addiction. People with internet addiction often become dependent on their internet use and find it difficult or painful to stop.

Researchers theorize that internet addiction is caused by the same type of issues that can cause other addictions such as substance abuse. Like other addictions it can affect the pleasure center of your brain and release dopamine, the feel good chemical. People feel they experience certain rewards in their internet use and become dependent on the pleasurable feelings that they get when spending time online.

In order to treat internet addiction, patients must seek a therapist and a support group where they can learn to minimize their internet habits. It can be difficult and nearly impossible to completely abstain from using the internet. With treatment addicts, can start to use the internet for necessities only and learn to control their compulsive behavior.                                                                   

The 7 Best Books for Depression

Posted on: September 20th, 2017 by emarketed No Comments

7 Best Books for Depression

If you have been diagnosed with a mental problem or simply struggle with symptoms of depression from time to time there are sources available for help. Some people don’t know enough about depression to understand what they are going through or why they are experiencing certain feelings. If you are seeking help for depression you should look for every resource you have to get better beginning with professional treatment.

In addition to attending regular therapy sessions you might find it helpful to read some books on the subject of depression to give you some information you need to cope. The more you understand about the symptoms of depression, why they happen and how to recover, the better you will be able to handle your disorder. Spending time doing research can help your depression seem less overwhelming and more manageable.

These are some of the best books you can find to help you learn more about depression:

  1. Healing the Child Within by Charles Whitfield

One way to understand and heal from depression is to process some of the traumas you may have been through in childhood. If you had a dysfunctional upbringing then you may need to get in touch with you inner child and heal your pain from the past. This is a classic book that has helped people handle their depression through understanding their most difficult memories.

  1. Control Your Depression by Peter Lewinsohn

This book is a practical guide to understanding depression and developing self-help techniques that will combat your symptoms. It provides insight into what depression is and how it manifests itself differently in certain people and situations. It also gives readers ways to reduce depression through relaxation, self-control techniques and ways to modify self-defeating thinking patterns.

  1. Feeling Good by David D. Burns

Focusing mainly on cognitive behavioral therapy and how it can alleviate depression, this book helps readers understand how to change their moods. It describes how distorted thinking can fuel depression and what you can do to reduce negative thinking and ease suffering. Challenging negative beliefs and self-image issues can quickly help depressed people feel better.

  1. The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon

A longtime sufferer of depression himself, the author takes both a personal and intellectual approach to examine the disorder and understand its intricacies. He draws on his own experiences with depression as well as interviews with fellow sufferers, doctors and scientists, drug designers and philosophers. The book provides insight into various aspects depression and helps to define the illness from multiple perspectives.

  1. Undoing Depression by Richard O’Connor

Another author who has gone through bouts of depression himself, O’Connor is also a licensed therapist who understands how to minimize symptoms through changing personal habits. He describes the type of patterns that develop for people with depression and how to replace those habits with new skills. The book encompasses many schools of thought and ultimately provides readers with useful approaches so that they can begin to“undo” their deeply ingrained patterns of depression.

  1. The Mindful Way through Depression by J. Mark Williams

Most people are at least familiar with mindfulness as a method of handling stress but this book describes mindful methods as a way to help break the cycle of unhappiness. In this book four experts explain how people can spiral into further depression even as they try to change their own habits.

Using a combination of eastern philosophy and cognitive therapy the author shows you how to avoid habits like self-blame and rumination by being more mindful of your emotions. Mindfulness allows you to pay attention to your emotions and truly experience them instead of letting avoidance worsen your depression.

  1. Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Life by Martin Seligman

The author of “Authentic Happiness” and one of the founders of positive psychology, Seligman has spent more than twenty years researching how optimism can change people’s quality of life. He believes learning a more optimistic attitude can be one of the key factors in overcoming depression. The book explains how to breaking the habit of giving up on things because of pessimistic beliefs and start the process of creating a more positive interior dialogue.

  1. Listening to Depression by Lara Honos-Webb

This book explains depression in a way that most people wouldn’t think to consider. It suggests that depression is not just a disease but a warning signal that your life has gotten off track and you need to heal.

The author argues that we too often try to cut off our emotions and ignore problems instead of listening to our feelings and what they are telling us about our lives. She reframes depression as a kind of gift that helps us understand what we need to change or adjust to improve our situation.

How Connected are Football Concussions and Mental Health Issues?

Posted on: August 18th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Concussions And Mental Health Problems

Football may be a favorite national pastime for most Americans but professional NFL players often have to deal with the physical toll that the sport can take on them. Football players usually experience repeated traumatic injuries that can affect their body and brain. Recently researchers have discovered that concussions and brain trauma which are common in the game can actually lead to severe mental health issues as players age.

There have been instances of mental health problems in former football players that made headlines. Junior Seau, a former player for the San Diego Chargers, committed suicide in 2012 and his autopsy revealed a brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy. It is a progressive, degenerative brain disease that has been found in a large number of former NFL players and boxers.

CTE is caused by repetitive brain trauma including concussions which begin to trigger progressive degeneration of brain tissue. The disease often leads to symptoms such as:

– memory loss

– confusion

– impaired judgement

– aggression

– depression

– suicidality

– dementia

Unfortunately, because of the effects of CTE Seau’s suicide could have been directly related to the concussions he experienced while playing football.

Seau’s depression is not an isolated incident; former Philadelphia Eagles Star Andre Waters committed suicide in 2006 at the age of only 44. His autopsy revealed that his brain had so much damage it resembled an 85 year old man with alzheimer’s disease. Waters’ head injuries throughout his career most likely contributed to his depression and severe brain damage.

Clinical Depression and Brain Trauma

A study in 2007 by the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes surveyed former NFL players who received multiple concussions throughout their career. Those with three or more concussions were three times as likely to develop clinical depression than those who had never received concussions. There were also five times more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment.

Concussions occur when a sudden impact jostles the brain causing it to hit the surrounding skull or rotate unnaturally. Short term effects of a concussion include memory loss, unconsciousness, nausea and slurred speech. A person may be able to recover easily from a single concussion but repeated concussions which are common for football players can lead to severe neurological damage.

Many former NFL players who suffer from depression are found to have noticeable abnormalities in their brain’s white matter. Inside the brain, white matter is critical for transmitting signals and concussions can cause some of the connections within it to tear. Studies have shown a strong correlation between players with depression and white matter damage.

Former NFL Players and their Mental Health

Although there seems to be an increased risk for brain damage and depression among NFL players, it is not always the case that concussions cause these issues. There are a number of retired players who have had no problems with mental health such as Troy Aikman of the Dallas Cowboys who suffered an astonishing total of 10 concussions over 12 seasons. In spite of these extensive injuries, Aikman is often in front of the camera and has not suffered any mental health issues related to his brain trauma.

The statistics however, generally seem to confirm that there is a strong connection between repeated brain trauma and mental health issue in former players. About 22 percent of players who have received multiple concussions have experienced a bout of depression compared to only 6 to 7 percent among those with no concussions. Depression related to concussions tends to occur in older retired players as they reach their 50s and 60s.

Injuries and Recovery

Any time a player experiences a concussion it is best to keep them out of play until it has fully healed to avoid issues like second impact syndrome. This is an illness that develops when a second concussion occurs before the first one is properly healed. Second impact syndrome can be a life-threatening condition so it important for players to be cleared by a physician before they return to the game.

It can also be helpful for football players to receive testing following every concussion they receive to determine if there has been any damage. A neurocognitive test such as the imPACT test prior to the season can serve as a baseline test of an athlete’s neurocognitive abilities. If players receive a concussion they can be removed from play and tested for any damage or changes in their abilities.

New helmet technology currently in the works could eventually help to reduce the number of concussions that occur in the games. Studies in the field of concussion rehabilitation could also help treat these injuries more effectively to prevent long term damage. A better understanding of how concussions happen in the sport and the best methods for treating them could help improve the outlook for NFL players in the future.

The Myth Behind the Creative Addict

Posted on: June 5th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

The Myth Behind the Creative Addict

The belief that certain drugs or alcohol enhance creativity has been around for centuries. Beethoven and Van Gogh had exceptional talent and were alcoholics. During the 1960’s psychotropic drugs were often taken by musicians to expand their mind and inspire creativity. Even today, Silicon Valley tech workers are justifying the use of microdoses of LSD to facilitate productivity and creativity.

It is certainly likely that illicit drugs can lead to original thinking due to disinhibition associated with the drugs’ use, and artists often use them to overcome stage fright or performance anxiety as well. Drug use, however, can eventually impair the artist, rendering him unable to practice his craft without the continued use of more drugs or alcohol.

In particular, heroin increases the flow of dopamine to the brain resulting in pleasurable feelings. Eventually, the abuser will build up a resistance to heroin, requiring increasing and more frequent doses to achieve the same pleasant feelings. In time, the addict will lose the ability to experience pleasure from normal artistic endeavors. Such was the case with famous heroin overdose deaths like Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, John Belushi, and Sid Vicious.

Other artists died prematurely due to causes exacerbated by their drug and alcohol abuse like Jerry Garcia, Whitney Houston, Elvis Presley, and Ernest Hemingway. Each one of these artists, and many others, eventually found their creativity stifled. In fact, when Hemingway received the Pulitzer Prize just a few years before his suicide, he remarked in his speech that the writer “…grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates.” At the time of Whitney Houston’s death, she was attempting to stage a comeback after a number of years of poor performances.  Jerry Garcia’s mental and physical health had been in decline for several years before he died of a heart attack after checking into rehab again in 1995.Creative Addict

Creatives are unique and admirable for their special qualities. They like to take risks, they think big and are nonconformist, they like to daydream and consider the possibilities, and they are keen observers of people and life and are willing to open themselves to new experiences. These are the qualities artists need in order to write, paint, and perform. For the artist who succumbs to the lie that drugs and alcohol will heighten her creativity, she will find in time their talents stole away by addiction. To become and remain a successful artist, it takes discipline and thousands of hours of hard work. It’s difficult to motivate yourself to work when in the throes of an addiction.

If you need to foster your creativity, you will find healthier and more effective proven methods by getting outside in nature, switching up the time of day that you normally work, changing the environment that you work in, spending some time in a different creative interest, taking time for rest and exercise, and using your natural curiosity to learn something new. And if you are an artist struggling with addiction, it’s imperative you receive treatment. Make the call to get the help you need to live the healthy, creative life you deserve.

Focus For Those In Recovery

Posted on: May 24th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Addiction is a disease that comes to many different kinds of people, in many different ways.  It claims the lives of people from every walk of life imaginable, and affects in different ways, creating millions of unique stories and struggles.  Both women and men suffer from addiction, but they often suffer in different ways, and may respond differently to treatment.

As a result, many places that offer treatment from addiction may provide gender specific services, and separate men from women.  Specifically, gender specific treatment promotes focus, removes distractions or anxieties that may otherwise take away from a focus on personal healing.  Here are some of the ways in which gender specific treatment allows people to better focus on their recovery.

Gender Specific Treatment Provides Support

Early recovery is an extremely stressful process.  It involves fighting against very intense physical and mental cravings, learning how to develop new coping mechanisms for stressful feelings that will crop up, and having to face hard moments in your life.

 There is enough stress in your life simply by being a part of this hard process of working towards sobriety and healing, and so it is good to do whatever you can to be as comfortable and focused as possible.   Having a space of men-only, or women-only space is one way to produce feelings of comfort, and make things as easy as possible.  

A Safe Place 

Peer support groups, in which a group of people struggling with addiction and recovery share their past and present issues, can be one of the most valuable and helpful ways for people to explore their inner feelings and learn from each other. However, the effectiveness of these groups is dependent on the willingness of its members to share honestly and be vulnerable with each other. Being honest with yourself and counselors is at the core of addiction treatment programs from initial treatment to after care.

The group must be a space where people can be totally safe with each other, and where people are encouraged and made to feel comfortable revealing their most vulnerable self. In a mixed gender space, the subconscious temptation for men or women to “impress” each other may kick in and prevent real intimate sharing.

Focus For Those In Recovery

Also, some people may feel less comfortable sharing about certain issues with members of the other gender present.  Creating men or women only spaces is one way in which a support group can work to make sure that everyone feels safe within it.  

Focus On The Ways Men And Women Experience Addiction Differently  

Both men and women come to the recovery process with a lot of stigma, guilt, and fear that sometimes gets in the way of letting them ask for help.  Yet this fear often gets manifested differently for men and women, in ways that reflect their different experiences, areas of concern, and social roles.

Women are often more likely to experience feelings of shame for needing help with addiction, whereas men may be more likely to deny there is a problem in the first place.  Women are often more anxious about things related to family relationships, whereas men are often more concerned about careers.  Limited our focus to one gender or the other allows for greater sensitivity and awareness to these issues.  

Takes The Focus Off Romantic Relationships

Recovery is one of the most intense and revolutionary things you will do as a person, and so the people you go through these experiences with can easily become some of the most intense and profound relationships in your life. These friendships can be extremely helpful in giving both people a sense of human connection, and hope from a common experience.

These relationships get a great deal of value from their stability, so that you continue to be sharing intimately as you work through complex feelings together. That is why deep friendships are so valuable. More whirlwind, unstable romances can have the opposite effect, and so should be avoided in early recovery. This is precisely why most rehab centers will not allow romantic relationships in their residential or sober living programs. A same-gender environment allows the formation of friendships, while making romances less likely.