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 ‘mental health’

Is There Room for Humor in Mental Health?

Posted on: June 13th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Humor In Mental Health

Laughter and humor have existed in every society as a means of human well-being, divinity and society. Everyone feels uplifted after a good laugh with friends or just watching a comedy. Humor can help us forget our troubles temporarily but it can also help change our mental attitudes in a way that can improve our health. Laughing and appreciating humor can also have numerous benefits to people who are struggling with a mental illness.

Many studies have proved that humor not only is laughter good for overall mental health, but a strong coping mechanism for a number of mental disorders. Evidence based research from the science of humor concludes humor can “relieve pain, strengthen immune function, improve positive emotion, moderate stress, dissociate from distress and improve interpersonal processes.”

Laughing is a way to improve our mind, body and spirit and even bring us together so that we connect with others in a meaningful way. Humor has been proven to cause physical and emotional changes in the body that can help heal people. Laughter can relax the whole body, relieve stress and tension, release endorphins, boost the immune system and may even extend our life span.

Humor can have immediate mental health benefits by stopping distressing emotions such as anxiety, anger and sadness. It can act as a great coping mechanism to relieve stress and prevent tension from building up. Most importantly humor can shift your perception of situations so that things can seem less serious or threatening.

Someone who is able to develop a humorous perspective can create psychological distance from feelings of depression, anxiety or being overwhelmed. Humor can quickly diffuse difficult feelings and conflict while lifting a person’s mood. Laughing with other people can strengthen relationships, foster a sense of closeness and help diminish feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Achieving good mental health is a combination of many different factors, but humor can play an important role in maintaining and developing positive feelings. Sharing humor with others and keeping a humorous mentality in life can make day to day struggles much easier and prevent depression from escalating. When it comes to mental health, laughter really is some of the best medicine.

Is Hip Hop Breaking the Stigma of Mental Health Issues?

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

Is Hip Hop Breaking the Stigma of Mental Health Issues?

It is an unfortunate reality that seeking help for mental health conditions carries a stigma in black communities. Mental illness is a significant problem for black Americans who are 20 percent more likely to suffer from problems like depression or anxiety and yet are half as likely to get help from mental health services.

The concept of therapy and treatment has especially had a stigma for hip hop artists who often felt that a psychologist couldn’t possibly understand their experiences. Hip hop and rap artists in the past believed that their music and art is their own form of therapy and so they denied themselves any professional help. These beliefs are beginning to change however as more artists in the hip hop world are opening up to the idea of therapy.

Shows like “The Therapist” have captured the evolution of rappers engaging in therapeutic discussions. The creators of the show spoke to musicians and hip hop artists such as Young M.S., Chief Keef and Freddie Gibbs. Most significantly, major artists like Jay-Z have spoken more openly about the concept of therapy being valid and useful for people like himself.

In his recent album, Jay Z even raps about his therapist and the role of therapy in his life. He also had discussions for a video series about black mental health with celebrities like Chris Rock, Michael Che and Meek mill. In the series, Jay Z implores viewers to get help for their past traumas and look past the stigma of therapy to deal with their feelings.

As more rappers open up about their experiences in therapy it may help to encourage the hip hop community and hopefully the black community as well to be open minded about therapy and mental health treatment. These artists understand that therapy can help anyone no matter what they may have been through.

Mood and Personality Disorders

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

Mood and Personality Disorders

Mental health issues can encompass a large spectrum of disorders that have distinct and unique symptoms. The most commonly known mental illnesses are mood disorders like depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. Other disorders known as personality disorders can be less recognizable than mood disorders but are still considered very serious mental health conditions that require treatment.

Mood disorders are typically characterized by emotional states that are not consistent with an individual’s circumstances. When people experience depression or anxiety after a negative event it is considered a situational emotional state. Those that have constant feelings of depression that persist in spite of a relatively normal situation may be dealing with a mood disorder.

Personality disorders involve not only a person’s mood but also unhealthy patterns of thoughts and behavior. People with personality disorders can struggle to relate with others and may not be able to function normally in their personal and professional life. They often have issues with self-esteem and negative self-image that can cause them to behave erratically with other people.

Even though mood disorders and personality disorders are very different they can sometimes share similar symptoms which can lead to people being misdiagnosed. Personality disorders tend to be more constant and pervasive than mood disorders which may last for only certain periods of time. Someone with a mood disorder may find it easier to relate to and interact with others outside their periods of emotional difficulty while someone with a personality disorder will have more long term social problems.

Both mood disorders and personality disorders can be successfully treated with medication and psychotherapy when they are diagnosed properly. It is important for the individual to be aware of their particular disorder and how their symptoms affect them in order for mental health treatment to be successful.

Does Gaming Help or Hurt Teens Mental Health?

Posted on: May 13th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Does Gaming Help or Hurt Teens Mental Health?

Teens tend to be more vulnerable to mental health issues because they are still growing emotionally and experiencing changing hormones as they continue to develop. Teens also deal with a lot of pressure to succeed academically and socially in their schools and they might struggle with feelings of failure. As a result teens are being diagnosed earlier with depression than ever before.

With a shortage of therapists and financial barriers that can prevent teens from getting treatment, studies have shown that technological solutions can actually be helpful for depression. Text message support services and internet programs have proven successful for teens and now a digital mental health startup is looking to expand into gaming as a solution. Traditional video games may have no mental health benefits but specially designed games can provide mental health improvement through a fun emotional fitness game.

PsycApps will be creating games that implement artificial intelligence in order to use the brain’s reward system for mental and emotional benefits. Artificial intelligence has been useful in psychology for some time and can make it easier for individuals to get psychological help without worrying about stigma or being judged. Mental health apps are growing in popularity and allowing people the freedom to receive treatment when and where they want.

Teens that are struggling with depression may be more likely to respond to digital solutions such as mobile apps, internet programs and video games designed to improve their mental health. These solutions are options that can make young people feel less stigmatized or ashamed of their mental health issues. Games can be useful either as an introduction to treatment or as a supplement to regular one on one therapy with a counselor.

The PsycApps games are set to be released at the end of May for therapeutic uses.

 

I’m not Schizophrenic I am Schizoaffective

Posted on: May 12th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

I’m not Schizophrenic I am Schizoaffective

Although schizoaffective disorder is a mental illness that is closely related to schizophrenia, the two problems are distinctly different diagnoses. Many people mistakenly believe that schizoaffective disorder is a subtype of schizophrenia but this is not the case. They are both separate mental disorders that have their own unique set of symptoms.

People who are schizoaffective often receive a diagnosis of schizophrenia in the early stages of their illness because the two problems are so frequently confused. There are many similarities between the two illnesses which can cause some physicians and psychiatrists to misdiagnose their patients. However, there are also significant differences that make it possible to categorize one separately from the other.

Even though schizophrenia is the more well-known disorder that is often considered very severe, the truth is that schizoaffective disorder is much more complex and difficult to diagnose and treat. A diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder can be problematic because it combines characteristics of different disorders. However, with the right treatment it is still possible for a schizoaffective individual to improve their condition and function as well as they can.

What is Schizoaffective Disorder?

Someone who is schizoaffective is experience a hybrid of different conditions that combines characteristics of schizophrenia and certain mood disorders such as bipolar disorder and depression. The fact that it is a hybrid condition affecting a person’s mood is what sets it apart from schizophrenia which is related to thoughts and behavior but not directly to a person’s mood. Schizoaffective disorder blends different health conditions and affects a person completely including their thoughts, feelings, behavior and mood.

One way to understand how schizoaffective disorder combines different characteristics of disorders is to think of it as a part of a spectrum. On one end of the spectrum would be schizophrenia and on the other would be a mood disorder such as bipolar disorder. Schizoaffective disorder would fall somewhere in the middle of these two illnesses.

People with schizoaffective disorder can often exhibit symptoms that are experienced by people with bipolar disorder including extreme mood swings. They will feel the high of mania and the low of depression through different phases of their life in a similar way to bipolar disorder. However, a schizoaffective person will also experience symptoms normally associated with schizophrenia such as hallucinations and delusions.

Understanding the Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder

A schizoaffective person may suffer unnecessarily if they receive an inaccurate diagnosis of either schizophrenia or a mood disorder. They need treatment for all of their symptoms rather than one aspect of them so it is important that they have a correct diagnosis in order to improve. These are some of the signs and symptoms of schizoaffective disorder:

  • Auditory hallucinations in the form of voices that may be hostile or accusatory
  • Delusions or false, irrational beliefs that cause fear, paranoia and mistrust of others
  • Disorganized thinking as exhibited by thought or speech patterns that lack coherence
  • Thought blocking where the mind suddenly goes blank
  • Excessive, repetitive or agitated body movements that have no obvious purpose

As well as manic symptoms such as:

  • talking too fast
  • Racing thoughts
  • Difficulty thinking and concentrating
  • Inflated self-esteem and delusions of grandeur

They might also have depressive symptoms including:

  • Low energy and motivation
  • Appetite and weight changes
  • Talking too much or too little
  • Trouble completing projects
  • Apathy about school, work or relationships
  • Feelings of hopelessness or thoughts of suicide

Diagnosing Schizoaffective

Because there are many different sets of symptoms and one individual may not exhibit all of them it can be very complex to recognize and diagnose schizoaffective disorder. It requires more extensive exploration of a patient’s medical and psychological background. Psychiatrists must be cautious about diagnosing someone as schizoaffective and have enough expertise in order to make an official diagnosis.

In order for someone to receive a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder they will need to have experienced psychotic episodes for at least a month that involved delusions, hallucinations or disorganized thinking. They will also need to have a mood disorder that is dominant more than half of the time. If either mania or depression have been present for an extended period of time along with psychotic episodes then they will most likely be diagnosed as schizoaffective.

Although schizoaffective disorder is complex, like most mental illnesses it is treatable with the help of medication and psychotherapy. Antipsychotics can be helpful for any schizophrenic symptoms and antidepressants or mood stabilizers can help treat a mood disorder. Individual psychotherapy along with group therapy can be very beneficial to help treat the sources of their symptoms.

An inpatient treatment program for a period of time can be very helpful in allowing a schizoaffective person to learn to manage their disorder and minimize their symptoms. If you think you or someone you love might have this disorder then contact a mental health professional for assistance.