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

My Sober Companion Relapsed

Posted on: January 15th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

 

My Sober Companion Relapsed

Ideally everyone’s experience during and after rehab will involve being surrounded by people you can count on and trust. It is very important to have effective mentors and a support network of individuals who give you guidance and useful advice. But there are times when your mentors and friends are themselves struggling with their sobriety and might falter.

Being in an environment where you are around other people who have also had problems with addiction can be uplifting in many ways. You can relate to one another in a way that you would not with someone who has never had an issue with alcohol or drugs. However, the reality with this situation is that some of the people who are helping you can relapse.

When your sober companion, mentor or friend in your support group relapses, it does not mean that you won’t be able to stay strong in your own sobriety. It might be a step back for you but you can still get back on track and prevent this unfortunate situation from affecting your recovery. The best thing you can do is provide your help and support for them and understand that what they are experiencing must be very difficult.

Putting a Relapse into Perspective

Although you might feel disappointed, betrayed and upset by your sober companion’s mistake it is important to realize that the situation has nothing to do with you. Their relapse does not mean that they don’t care about your recovery or that the things they have taught you were not useful. You are also not in any way to blame for their failure to remain sober, it has to do with their own personal situation outside of your relationship.

One of the most important things to focus on when a friend relapses is to not let it affect your resolve. It can be painful and scary to see someone you were relying on for support to slip back into their addictive habits. But it is necessary to keep in mind that just because they are going through this it doesn’t mean that you will.

It might be easy to jump to the conclusion that because your sober companion was not able to maintain their sobriety then you probably won’t make it either. This of course is not true in any way and you must remind yourself that one person’s failure does not reflect every type of recovery experience. People have their own personal problems to deal with that can affect their ability to stay sober and each individual has a unique recovery journey.

When thinking about your sober companion’s relapse try not to get completely discouraged by the events that have taken place. Addiction and sobriety can shift and fluctuate, even for people that have been sober for a long time. Try your best to remain optimistic both for yourself and your friend’s situation.

Finding Extra Support and Help

The most effective action to take after a sober companion relapses is to find someone else who can help and support you through the situation. Go to a group meeting and tell them about what has taken place. They can give you advice and guidance about what to do under the circumstances and some may have even experienced the same problem.

Try not to be too disappointed in your sober companion that it prevents you from looking for another mentor, sober buddy or sponsor. Just because this particular friend did not provide the good role model that you need does not mean that someone else can’t do that for you. You might feel disillusioned but when you find someone else you can trust it will help you resolve those feelings and move on.

Make sure to continue with whatever treatment program or aftercare you are currently involved in. The crucial thing to do in this time is not to give up on the sober routine that you already have in place that has kept you on track. Continue attending your group meetings, therapy sessions or any other activities you have as part of your recovery schedule.

It is important to have someone to talk to about what happened and your feelings about it. If you are currently seeing a therapist then discuss the situation with them or someone you are close to who is also in recovery. You will need to work through your emotions and process the event in  order to move on.

Everyone goes through various trials and disappointments throughout their recovery experience. Having a sober companion relapse does not mean that you won’t be successful in remaining sober. You can still have an effective recovery and bounce back from this setback.

If you need extra support try to contact a therapist, recovery group or a new sober coach for help.  

Is Your Family Member’s Addiction the Elephant in the Room?

Posted on: November 25th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

When someone close to you is dealing with an addiction it can be hard to find a way to cope with it. No one wants to intrude in someone’s personal life or tell them that they are making bad choices especially if you have a complicated history with them. When a family member has an addiction, everyone around them may know that something is wrong but they simply don’t know what to say or do to help them.

As you witness an addict’s behavior it may be painful to watch and it may even harm your family. When no one chooses to confront the person, their addiction becomes the elephant in the room. It is something that is on everyone’s mind but no one dares to speak up about the situation in spite of what they are going through.

Although it may be difficult and uncomfortable to bring up the subject, talking to an addict about their behavior and how it affects others is an important job. Without some perspective about their substance abuse they may continue to go down a path of denial and retreat further into their addiction. Instead of continuing to avoid dealing with the problem, family members who feel genuine concern should make a plan to talk to the addict and get them some help.

Leaving an addict alone to continue their abuse is dangerous for their health and well-being. It is only a matter of time before an addiction starts to impact their job, their physical and mental health and their relationships. Getting an addict help early on can help prevent some of the negative consequences that often occur when people are left to their own devices.

Understanding a Family Member’s Problem

Before you decide to speak with your family member, it is a good idea to research addiction and learn as much as you can. You can look into the signs and symptoms of addiction to a particular substance and see if you notice any of them in your loved one. Observe their behavior closely and try to evaluate them objectively before you choose to confront them about their abuse.

You can also share your observations with other family members and close friends to see what their insight is into their problem. They may have a different understanding of the disease and have an idea of how to approach things. If everyone agrees that they need to get help for the person then you might reach out to a substance abuse professional for more information about what to do.

In the process of dealing with a family member’s addiction, it is important first of all to take care of yourself and make sure that you are emotionally stable. When you have more clarity and awareness about the situation it will be easier to handle whatever issues come up with your loved one. Talk to a therapist about what you have been going through with the addict and about your decision to get help for them.

How to Talk to an Addict

Is Your Family Member’s Addiction the Elephant in the Room?

When you feel ready to discuss the issue and address the elephant in the room you need to be careful when you approach the subject. If you are in a good place yourself and are able to express real concern and love rather than anger or resentment then you are more likely to be successful in the discussion. Although you might be frightened of the consequences in bringing up the problem, if you are well-prepared the conversation might actually be quite productive.

There are certain guidelines to follow when talking to a person with an addiction. Firstly, never talk to them when they are under the influence but instead wait for a moment when they are sober and can take in everything you are saying. You should wait for a good time to talk to them when you are both alone and not busy so that you can spend some time discussing things.

It is a good idea to emphasize how much you care about this person and that you only want the best for them. Try to avoid being judgemental or condescending so that they don’t become defensive. Use open ended questions so that the conversation is a dialogue and they don’t feel that they are being lectured.

By the end of the conversation you can try to discern if you have made some progress with them. If they seem open to it you can suggest treatment or support group meetings that might help them. If they seem like they are not ready to confront their problem then you can regroup and perhaps stage an intervention at a later time.

If you are not sure how to approach a discussion with an addict then you can talk to a substance abuse professional about what strategies may be the best to take.

What to Do When You Have a Panic Attack

Posted on: October 16th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

What to Do When You Have a Panic Attack

Most people experience bouts of anxiety occasionally when they have an important interview, a date, a test or anything that they feel nervous about. For people with anxiety disorders however, they can experience a sense of panic in certain situations that can be overwhelming enough to interfere with their life. A panic attack can escalate and become difficult to recover from and people may feel that they have to simply leave the situation entirely.

If you suffer from panic attacks it does not mean that you have to avoid people, places or situations that make you nervous. There are ways to cope with feelings of panic and bounce back enough to return to your normal self. Having a plan with how to cope with your panic attacks can make you feel more prepared so that you can face the anxiety when it occurs instead of having to avoid anything.

Dealing with Symptoms of Panic

A panic attack is usually characterized by sudden and intense feelings of anxiety that can take over your mind and body. Panic attacks often have physical symptoms such as:

-Shaking

-feeling disoriented

-nausea

-rapid breathing

-racing heartbeat

-sweating

-dizziness

The symptoms usually aren’t dangerous but they can be very frightening and make it hard for people to focus on easing their anxiety.

When you experience the symptoms the best option is to try to understand that they are only temporary, they are not harmful and they are simply caused by your anxiety. Instead of trying to distract yourself or put your mind on something else, the best option is to acknowledge what you are experiencing. Tell yourself that although you are having these symptoms you are not in any danger but are simply feeling afraid.

Although your first instinct may be to leave the situation, it can actually be more beneficial to ride out the attack. If you run away you won’t have the chance to see that nothing bad is actually going to happen. Confronting your fear can help you become less sensitive to the situation as you realize that it is completely safe.

Eventually the more intense symptoms will begin to pass and you can start to focus on your surroundings and get yourself grounded again. You can simply accept the fact that you are having these symptoms and feelings instead of wishing you didn’t or praying that they will go away. The acknowledgement and acceptance of the fear can help the attack begin to fade.

Breathing Exercises to Reduce Panic

The reason acceptance is so important is that resisting your feelings of panic will only make the attack worse. Your most powerful urge may be to flee but instead you can wait it out and maybe work on some exercises until the attack subsides. Breathing techniques can help get you more focused and aware of what you are feeling so that you will be less likely to run away or resist.

Breathing exercises can also be helpful because one of the characteristic symptoms of panic attacks are short quick breaths which can create more tension and stress in the body. If you become aware that you are breathing very quickly then you can work on deep breathing strategies. Start by breathing in very deeply and slowly through your nose and then breathing out slowly through your mouth.

If you count your breaths, close your eyes and focus on your breathing you can start to calm yourself down physically and bring more awareness to your body. Focusing on your breath not only reduces the kind of short, choppy breaths that generate tension but it also helps you turn down some of your anxious thoughts. Deep breathing can help you feel better quickly so that you can ignore the urge to run away.

Observe Your Reactions and Become Aware

When an attack is happening sometimes to helps to become very aware of your symptoms and even write down what you are experiencing. Writing about your anxiety can help you distance yourself from the feelings and be more observant of how you are reacting instead of being lost in the experience.

Writing down or talking to someone about what your are going through can help put things into perspective. You might read what you wrote later and realize how distorted your ideas were at the time. Or a friend might listen to your fears and help you understand that they are unfounded and that you are safe.

The important thing to remember about dealing with panic attacks is to do your best to ride out the symptoms until they subside. When you let yourself acknowledge the anxiety you will realize that it is only temporary and you will be able to return to a calm state of mind again. The more you learn to accept your anxiety, the less powerful it will become.

Internet Addiction is Real

Posted on: September 21st, 2017 by The Gooden Center 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 The Gooden Center 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.