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 ‘Psychology Of Addiction’ Category

Internet Addiction is Real

Posted on: May 16th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments
Internet Addiction

Internet Addiction – Symptoms, Treatment, Research, & Practice

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.                                                                   

How Connected are Football Concussions and Mental Health Issues?

Posted on: May 4th, 2018 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

– suicidal

– 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.

My Family Member is an Addict and Homeless

Posted on: April 7th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

My Family Member is an Addict and Homeless

It is painful and devastating for loved ones when a family member has an addiction. It is even worse when they hit rock bottom and end up in a difficult financial situation. Homelessness is an unfortunate reality for many people that are struggling with a very severe drug addiction.

If you have a family member whose addiction has become so out of control that they have lost their job or their home then it is important to get them help as soon as possible. The chances of them surviving and getting back on their feet without any assistance are slim. However, it is important to have a plan about addressing their addiction before you step in and rescue them.

Taking your loved on off the streets is more helpful if you are able to give them the tools they need to get sober and become financially independent again. Avoid simply taking care of them or enabling them because it will only make the situation worse. Even though it may be difficult to talk about you need to get them into treatment for their own well-being.

There are many addiction recovery programs created for homeless people that need to get sober and find work again. Research all the available options so that you will be prepared to discuss treatment with your family member. You can take your loved one directly to a shelter or recovery program so that they can get the help that they need.

Addiction is a challenging issue and overcoming homelessness can make it even more complicated. However getting your loved one into treatment will be an important first step to help them re-enter society. Recovery can be a long and difficult process for them but with treatment and support they will be able to survive and live a fulfilling life again.

Opioid Crisis: Who Has the Solution?

Posted on: March 24th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Opioid Crisis: Who Has the Solution?

The U.S. has been devastated by a crisis of addiction in recent years, with people struggling to survive their dependency on prescription opioids. Fatal overdoses from opioids have been on the rise and the numbers have become shockingly high. Every day more than 115 die after overdosing on opioids and the problem only continues becoming worse every year.

One of the reasons that opioids became such a huge problem in America is that they were initially marketed as being non-addictive. In the 1990s when new drugs like Oxycontin went on the market, pharmaceutical companies assured the medical community that they were safe and wouldn’t lead to addiction, even backing up their claims with dubious studies. The sale of prescription opioids skyrocketed in the following years and it was subsequently discovered that these medications were in fact highly addictive.

Now opioid abuse and addiction has become one of our top national health challenges that causes serious damage to the U.S. The CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that prescription opioid misuse alone costs the U.S. about $78.5 billion a year including the costs of medical care, lost productivity, addiction treatment and criminal justice involvement. The economic and social burden of opioid addiction is something that needs to be addressed by the government soon to prevent overdoses from continuing to rise.

Expanding Access to Treatment

One of the biggest obstacles to resolving the opioid crisis is providing people with rehabilitation and access to the kind of healthcare they need to recover. It is important for addiction to be seen as a disease and not a moral failing so that the government can provide help to people that are in need. People are still struggling to get the kind of treatment they need because of a lack of access and availability for addiction recovery programs.

Many people are unable to get the treatment they need because they end up at the end of a long wait list or they simply can’t afford rehab and their insurance doesn’t cover it. It is an unfortunate reality that people who are on a waitlist for treatment often end up overdosing before they ever get the help they need. The government must work on providing more treatment centers, easier access and more affordable options covered by insurance.

It may also be helpful to provide people with medications such as buprenorphine or methadone as a temporary solution to help bring the number of overdoses down. When people have access to these medications it can cut the death rate by as much as 50 percent. Making it easy and affordable to access these medications can be a quick fix to save lives until people can get help from professional therapists.

Identifying Addicts and Preventative Education

Another aspect of resolving the opioid crisis is in the hands of physicians who can try to identify a patient that is abusing medication or has the potential to become addicted. Screening patients before giving them prescription opioids can help minimize the possibility of people abusing the drugs or becoming addicted instead of using them for legitimate medical reasons. Physicians can use certain guidelines such as history of past addictions, genetic predisposition to addiction and flagging patients who “doctor shop” to stop providing medication to vulnerable patients.

Whenever physicians become aware of a patient who is seeking out multiple medications from different doctors, they should provide that person with some type of treatment. Cutting off access to opioid prescriptions and providing addicted patients with medications like methadone can help them to start the process of quitting. It is important to realize that physicians need to do their part to start reducing the rising numbers of opioid misuse and overdose.

Preventative education can also be a useful tool in helping people understand the dangers of using opioids. Addictions began to steadily rise because the public was provided with misinformation about the safety of medications like Oxycontin. Educating people about the highly addictive nature of these drugs can influence people to choose alternative types of treatment so that they can avoid developing a dependency.

The combination of increased access to treatment, medication and more preventative measures are all solutions that could potentially help resolve the opioid crisis. There is no one answer as to how the country can solve this growing problem but it is crucial to start taking measures now so that the issue does not continue to escalate. The more people have the ability to receive the treatment they need and are provided with the information that can prevent addiction, the less likely that abuse will keep rising.

 

Opioid addiction is a complicated issue but treating the problem with compassion and concern can help save lives and prevent people from living with a dependency.

Middle Aged Men “Manxiety”

Posted on: March 23rd, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Middle Aged Men “Manxiety”

A recent trend in mental health issues has been affecting men in their late thirties and forties who are dealing with stress. Older men are coping with the struggles of work, family or being single in a time when they are no longer young with their full life ahead of them. The stress of middle age can lead to the highest levels of anxiety in a person’s life.

When a person is in their twenties they may feel less pressure to be in a stable career or have a long-term relationship. They often don’t worry as much about work or starting a family because they have time to think about what they want to do later in life. In middle age, people can experience a lot of difficulties that they didn’t have to face when they were in their twenties.

In their thirties or forties, people must reflect on what they’ve achieved and what they haven’t. They might begin to think about how their dreams of the past didn’t work out and life didn’t go exactly as they had planned. For men in middle age this can mean not having the career that they wanted or not finding a partner.

Coping with Stress in Middle Age

There are a number of reasons that a man in middle age may experience stress and struggle to cope with their problems. People in middle age can have demanding careers, more responsibilities such as taking care of children or aging parents or difficult marriages. On the other hand they may be experiencing the opposite problem where they have not found a relationship, are still working a low paying job or are getting past the age of potentially having children.

While stereotypically it is women that struggle with feelings of being past their prime if they are single in middle age, men are now starting to experience these worries too. More and more men in their thirties and forties are dealing with the stress of not being settled in their life. They may feel a lack of options as they get older or feel that their biological clock is ticking.

Although rates of anxiety and depression are typically higher for women in middle age, men are also dealing with psychological issues that can affect their health. Research has shown that middle aged men under psychological distress are three times more likely to have a stroke than those without any psychological symptoms. It is important not to ignore the signs of anxiety and to look for coping strategies so that middle aged men can remain healthy.

Men and Anxiety

One of the reasons that it is crucial for men to learn about the signs of anxiety and depression is because it is common for men to ignore or write off their feelings. They may dismiss feelings of anxiety or hide their problems from others by simply saying they are stressed. It can be harder for men to recognize that they need help because they are taught not to show their emotions or to push through them without expressing how they feel.

There has been plenty of research surrounding the type of anxiety that women experience as they age especially in connection with physiological changes such as changing hormone levels and menopause. However, men are sometimes overlooked in these studies in spite of their increasing need for help with psychological issues in middle age. They may experience symptoms but avoid talking about it because of stigma or fear of appearing weak.

Men can have issues such as nervousness, fearfulness, irritability, impatience, edginess or just general anxious feelings. At times these feelings can begin to interfere with their ability to focus or concentrate at work and may make it harder for them to handle relationships. When feelings of anxiety interrupt a person’s life it is important for them to seek help from a professional.

Treating Middle Aged Anxiety

When men feel anxious or depressed they may feel hesitant to seek help or try to keep moving forward instead of dwelling on their problems. However, without professional assistance anxiety symptoms can build up and lead to greater physical and mental health problems. Treatment is crucial in order to minimize symptoms of anxiety and prevent any further issues.

Men have many of the same psychological needs that women have as they age and they need to focus on their own mental health as they cope with the stress of middle age. Anyone who experiences anxiety, no matter what age or what phase they are in their life should seek professional help so that they can heal and recover. If you are suffering from anxiety, contact a local therapist or a treatment center that specializes in anxiety so that you can learn how to manage your symptoms.