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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Posts Tagged ‘alcohol’

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

Change Your Relationship with Alcohol

Posted on: February 22nd, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Changing Relationship Alcohol

For many Americans, drinking alcohol has become a part of daily life. People drink after work, on the weekends, during holidays and celebrations. Therefore changing drinking patterns requires changing some aspects in a persons lifestyle. However, making these adjustments with your relationship to alcohol can change your life for the better and transform your health.

There are many reasons that alcohol can have negative consequences on your life even if you don’t drink regularly and wouldn’t consider yourself addicted. Alcohol takes its toll on the body and causes changes in the brain. It can lead to mood changes, depression, anxiety and a number of physical health issues.

The relationship that people have with alcohol can be harmful to their well-being too especially if they are mentally dependent on it. They may start to believe that they can’t have a good time, relax after work or feel comfortable socializing without having some drinks. That dependent relationship with alcohol can make you feel powerless and too focused on the act of drinking rather than experiencing life as it is.

Changing your relationship with alcohol means learning to find other ways to have fun and feel calm and relaxed that are healthier for your mind and body. Instead of seeing alcohol as the only means to achieve a certain state of mind, you can explore other options that will not have the same negative consequences. When you cut down or completely quit drinking you can discover the other things that life has to offer without relying on alcohol to fulfill your needs.

Without alcohol you can enjoy better physical and mental health, more freedom and a more positive perspective. Drinking can limit you in ways that you don’t realize until you rid yourself of a dependency on alcohol.

Athletes and Alcoholism

Posted on: December 5th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Athletes and Alcoholism

Although many athletes may have strict diets and rigorous training routines, the use of alcohol is actually widespread in the world of sports. Alcohol is used for celebration, relaxation and socializing after a big game or competition. Unfortunately, alcohol can be very detrimental to an athlete’s health and performance especially when it is regularly abused.

Drinking alcohol can affect many things that are necessary for good athletic performance such as motor skills, hydration, aerobic performance and recovery. An athlete who abuses alcohol or develops an issue with alcoholism will have more trouble managing their body composition and they may develop nutritional deficiencies. These issues can lead to an increased risk for injury and longer recovery time after being injured.

Alcohol causes a depression in central nervous system activity which can affect coordination, reaction time, balance, and judgement. Athletes who abuse alcohol may find that they are not able to perform as well, will make more mistakes and suffer serious setbacks in their competitions. They will have many short and long term health issues that can negatively affect their career if they continue to abuse alcohol on a regular basis.

Most athletes understand how important it is to give their body the right fuel and take care of their health so that they can perform at their best. When it comes to alcohol, many begin to use it to ease stress and they become addicted. Alcohol consumption can have a very negative impact on the body especially when used frequently after strenuous athletic performances.

Athletes need the right nutrients and hydration levels to recover from their competitive events and alcohol can jeopardize their ability to maintain their body for the next performance. In order to maintain optimal health and experience the best performances, athletes should limit their alcohol intake as much as possible.

Young Lawyers Alcohol Abuse

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

Young Lawyers Alcohol Abuse

There is a common stereotype in movies and tv shows depicting the alcoholic lawyer who reaches for the bottle due to the stress of his job. Unfortunately, there is some truth to this stereotype as studies show lawyers are significantly more prone to alcoholism than the general population. As many as 36.6 of lawyers in one study had behaviors showing exhibiting issues of  problem drinking.

Surprisingly, this problem is only progressing further with the younger millennial generation of lawyers practicing now. The current generation in their 20s and early 30s tend to have more serious drinking habits due to financial stress, the high cost of living, and student loan debt. Young lawyers such as junior associates tend to drink the most because of these generational problems coupled with a highly stressful job.

Lawyers have demanding careers with long hours and frequently low professional satisfaction. They also have higher rates of mental health problems including depression and anxiety and often turn to alcohol to self-medicate. Alcohol becomes their solution to cope with the many issues that they face because of money, stress and very little free time.

The pattern of drinking frequently begins in law school when students party as a way to alleviate the stress of studying. When they take on full time jobs as lawyers, alcohol can take on a different role of calming their anxiety. Many will end a difficult day by going to happy hour with coworkers, as drinking often become part of the work culture in the legal profession.

Drinking may be thought to temporarily relieve stress for people with stressful jobs but ultimately it causes more psychological and behavioral issues that could endanger their career. Lawyers that abuse alcohol are likely to see it begin to affect their ability to work over time. Young lawyers with long term alcohol abuse problems need to address their issues with treatment and recovery.

Aggression and Alcoholism

Posted on: October 18th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Aggression and Alcoholism

People all react to alcohol differently and may exhibit unique behavior when they are intoxicated. However, there is a very strong correlation between alcohol and aggression or even in some cases violent behavior. Some individuals may be more likely to become aggressive than others but in general the majority of aggressive acts committed tend to involve alcohol.

Aggression most often occurs in men who have trait anger or who tend to be angry more often than others. People with less anger management will start to become aggressive when they drink alcohol. This is because alcohol tends to bring out a person’s natural tendencies toward anger or aggression.

Alcohol causes people to express their anger more frequently and aggressively so that they have a heightened response when provoked. In cases of alcoholism, the relationship between anger and intoxication can become more severe as their drinking escalates. A person with angry tendencies who develops an addiction to alcohol may lose their ability to control their aggressive behavior.

When an alcoholic becomes aggressive it can be very problematic especially in familial or  intimate relationships.  Alcoholism and domestic violence are also strongly linked in many cases especially when anger issues are untreated.

If someone has a tendency to become angry easily then consuming alcohol can be very dangerous for them and the people around them. It is important for alcoholics with aggressive behavior to get treatment so that they can learn to cope with their anger in more healthy  and constructive ways. If you know someone who becomes aggressive when they drink then it might be a good idea to stage an intervention so that you can prevent any further harm from taking place.