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 ‘drug addiction’

How Addiction Triggers Can Affect the Brain

Posted on: July 14th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments


How Addiction Triggers Can Affect the Brain

Most people have experienced how certain sights and smells can trigger memories or cravings for food, alcohol or smoking. People in addiction recovery must cope with these triggers on a regular basis in order to prevent relapse. Studies have shown that the concept of a “trigger” is a real cue that can light up certain areas of the brain, especially for people with addictions.


Scientists have researched how environmental stimuli or cues can produce certain reactions in the brain. Exposure to certain cues can strengthen the memories we associate with specific behaviors such as using addictive substances. When alcoholics are exposed to an ad for alcohol for example, it makes certain areas of their brain hyperactive including the prefrontal cortex and thalamus. 


Since triggers can cause our brain to react, researchers have found that our brain is constantly fighting off unwanted reward signals that cause cravings. As the brain must exert effort to fight off these triggers, when a person is under stress it can become more difficult to ignore environmental cues that lead to cravings. Research discovered that people need their full cognitive control to ignore reward signals which means that when the brain is occupied by other problems it can be harder to fight triggers.


Stress and anxiety can put extreme strain on the brain’s functioning and can make it harder for people with addictions to manage environmental cues. When someone is under a lot of stress it is especially important for them to avoid situations where they might be tempted by signals. If they are calm and centered it can be easier for them to manage triggers in a more tempting environment. 


Recent findings explain why fighting triggers in recovery can be so difficult and research provides more insight into how addicts can manage their cravings. 



How Drug Addiction Can Affect the Brain

Posted on: July 8th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments

How Drug Addiction Can Affect the Brain


No matter how much someone goes through as a result of their drug addiction, they will find it very difficult to quit because of the way that drugs can change the way their brain works. Drugs affect a person’s brain chemistry and their behavior in a way that make them dependent on substance abuse. Trying to quit on their own will often lead to relapse because they are mentally and physically addicted to drugs.

Drug use targets the brain’s reward system and floods it with dopamine which triggers feelings of intense pleasure. The more you use a drug the more your brain becomes adjusted to those higher dopamine levels. Over time you develop a tolerance which means you need more of the drug to get the same rush of dopamine.

With the dopamine rush that people get from drugs, other things they used to like may bring them less pleasure such as food, hobbies or spending time with friends. Over time, people with drug addictions start to abandon everything else so that they can pursue the feelings of happiness that they need from substance abuse. Any time they aren’t able to take the same amount of drugs they normally do, they will start to feel depressed, anxious and physically sick.

Drug abuse can cause other negative changes in the brain such as problems with judgement, decision making, memory and the ability to learn new things. These brain changes can contribute to difficulties controlling drug use and lead people to keep using more as time goes on. People all react differently to drugs but the way that they change brain chemistry can lead to very severe addiction issues.

In order to end a drug addiction, it is important to seek professional help so that physical and mental changes caused by abuse don’t lead to relapse. 



Driving Under the Influence

Posted on: June 27th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments

An Overview of Al-Anon and ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics)

For the safety of yourself and everyone else on the road, it is a good rule to never drive under the influence of any drug. However, there are many misconceptions among drug users who believe that they may be more capable of driving while using certain drugs. The reality is that every drug can impair your ability to drive safely and some may be even more deadly than others.

People may believe that only depressants like alcohol can impair your driving but operating a vehicle under the influence of stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamines can also be extremely risky. Cocaine may keep you awake but it also causes high risk behavior as users feel the world around them seems frustratingly boring. They might start turning in front of other vehicles, speeding and putting themselves in danger with inattentive driving.

Those who functionally use marijuana on a daily basis may believe that they can safely drive after smoking but the reality is that it can be deadly. To make matters worse, people are increasingly driving with marijuana and alcohol both in their system which can lead to catastrophic accidents. Marijuana is a hallucinogen which can deteriorate your cognitive function and alcohol can increase the absorption of marijuana making it a dangerous combination.

Amidst the opioid crisis people may not realize that driving under the influence of painkillers can be dangerous as well. Low doses of the drugs may not be as harmful but a high dose of opioids in a driver’s system can lead to serious impairments. Other drugs like PCP and LSD can also have fatal consequences while driving.

It is never safe to drive a vehicle while under the influence of any drug, no matter what the effects and your own personal tolerance.

Ecstasy and Memory Problems

Posted on: June 20th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments


Ecstasy and Memory Problems

People who frequently use “party drugs” like ecstasy may be causing serious damage to their brain and memory according to a recent study. The club drug MDMA or ecstacy can cause problems to immediate and short term memory even if it is taken less than once a month over the course of a year. Users may not immediately notice the effects and will most often be unaware of their issues with memory until permanent damage has taken place.

Memory issues caused by ecstasy are associated with damage to the hippocampus which is the area of the brain that is responsible for memory. Those involved in the study used an average of 33 ecstasy pills a year but damage was shown to occur after using only 10 pills in one year. The study raised concerns about the negative and damaging effects of MDMA even when used over a relatively short period of time.

Although memory problems are a major concern, there are other issues that can affect the health of ecstasy users. The drug is often taken in combination with a number of other drugs including alcohol and cocaine. Combining these drugs can be dangerous especially when taken in a party environment where people often get dehydrated and are at risk for all kinds of physiological issues.

Ecstasy also often leads people to engage in risky behaviors that can harm their health such as unprotected sex and driving under the influence The drug can also be highly addictive and the more of it the person consumes, the greater risk they have for damaging their body and brain. Even occasional use of ecstasy can be very dangerous and it can be difficult to reverse the damage caused by the drug.

This new study reveals the harmful effects of ecstasy and the need for users to end even recreational use to preserve their memory and cognitive function.

Parenting an Adult Addict

Posted on: November 14th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Parenting an Adult Addict

The responsibility of being a parent may never completely end, even after children reach adulthood and leave home to lead their own lives. Being a parent means always trying to lead your son or daughter in the right direction especially when they are making very dangerous or unhealthy choices. When your adult child develops an addiction, it is often your responsibility as well as your desire as a parent to try to help them.

Parenting an adult addict can be difficult because you no longer can control their actions or tell them what to do. Some parents may worry too much for their child’s well being and end up enabling them by getting them out of financial problems caused by their addiction. As a parent you need to learn the lines between stepping to help them and enabling them to continue their addictive behavior.

One problem that parents might experience is the feeling of guilt that can go along with having a child who is an addict. Their child might blame them for what they have become and the parent might feel ashamed of mistakes they made while raising them. It is important to understand that once a child reaches adulthood, their decisions are their own and it is not your fault that they have an addiction.

As a parent you need to avoid enabling your child but also be able to offer them love and support while encouraging them to get help. If possible, stage an intervention with other family members and loved ones who are concerned about their addiction. You need to try your best to still remain in their life but also protect yourself and others in the family from their misdeeds.

Having a child who is an addict is never easy, no matter what their age but with the right approach you can help motivate them to become sober.