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 ‘substance abuse’

Is LA’s Homeless Crisis Fueled By Mental Health and Addiction?

Posted on: October 17th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Is LA’s Homeless Crisis Fueled By Mental Health and Addiction?

According to The Addiction Center in 2017, there were approximately 554,000 homeless people in the United States. Many believe the number to be much higher due to the challenges in accurate data collection. The number of homeless increases each year, especially within the younger age demographic.

Causes of Homelessness

Although substance abuse can lead to homelessness, in many cases the end result of homelessness is substance abuse. Unfortunately, homelessness and addiction do often go hand in hand across age and ethnic groups. Other common causes are the result of a financial hardship including job loss, home forecloses and a lack of affordable healthcare or housing.  According to Harvard Health, “The mentally ill and people addicted to alcohol or drugs are the first victims of housing shortages.”

The National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) also lists addiction and mental illness as “two of the primary personal factors that lead to financial instability and the loss of permanent housing.” It is also important to note there do exist homeless individuals who do not have a problem with drugs or alcohol. Although rates of substance use are disproportionately high among those experiencing homelessness, homelessness cannot be explained by substance use alone as many people who suffer from addiction never become homeless

Mental health

Those experiencing homelessness may also develop mental health issues due to the harsh lifestyle. Not only do individuals who are homeless  generally face hunger and a lack of shelter, they also experience violence, sexual assault and many forms of harassment.

Homeless women suffer from gender-based trauma which in turn results in higher amounts of drug use compared to homeless men. The majority of homeless women also suffer from mental and emotional disturbances that often develop even before they become homeless.

Some mental health issues that homeless people experience include:

  • Severe anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Paranoia/Delusions/Disorentiation
  • Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Major depressive disorder

The Cycle Continues

Without proper shelter, security and a lack of access to affordable treatment for substance abuse and mental health care, the homeless population continue deeper into the destructive cycle of abuse and often relentlessly withdraw from mainstream society.

There are numerous programs and continuous efforts to “solve the homeless crisis” but those involved face many challenges. Recently, Mayor Eric Garcetti allocated funding to emergency shelters with “A Bridge Home” program for those waiting to be placed in a more permanent form of housing. However, connecting those in need with these services are hard because of the widespread substance abuse and mental illness. The timing and bureaucracy of finding solutions also pushes those away.

Stigma

Unfortunately, negative narratives and a general misunderstanding of homelessness continuously lead to an ongoing negative stigma. Many believe the end to homelessness starts with the end of the homeless stigma. When attitudes are shifted and more people are informed of the causes and challenges, they can treat those experiencing homelessness with empathy and respect.

References:

https://www.addictioncenter.com/addiction/homelessness/

https://www.dailynews.com/2019/10/07/a-new-look-at-las-homeless-count-numbers-has-some-wondering-if-there-will-be-a-shift-in-conversation-around-mental-illness-drug-addiction/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/The_homeless_mentally_ill

 

What to Say to an Alcoholic

Posted on: July 12th, 2019 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Is LA’s Homeless Crisis Fueled By Mental Health and Addiction?

 

When you believe that someone in your life may be abusing alcohol, you may not know what to do or what to say to them that may help the situation. How can you discuss a person’s problem with them without driving them further away into their substance abuse? People who are actively addictive are often defensive of their actions which can make it challenging to discuss the issue with them.

 

A useful way to start a conversation with an alcoholic is to start by expressing concern and love. You can say “I feel concerned about you because..” and discussing certain things that may be examples of how their drinking has affected them or other people. Having concern for them but also concrete reasons can make it easier to reach them.

 

Sometimes when drinking becomes really out of control you will need to give the alcoholic an ultimatum. You might say “If you continue to drink we can’t..” if you are feeling like you need to distance yourself from them. This may not affect the alcoholic right away but they will eventually think about your ultimatum and it can help them make a decision.

 

Even though you might want to establish boundaries with the alcoholic it is also important to make it clear that you will support them if they choose to be sober. You can say “I will be here for you when you decide to get help.” This lets them know that you are not abandoning them but must remove yourself from their addictive behavior.

 

When an alcohol does enter recover you can provide support, be there for them when they need to talk and provide encouragement as often as you can. It can be difficult to handle the situation when someone is addicted but following these guidelines can help you maintain your relationship with them.

 

References

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000815.htm

 

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.

Addiction and Memory Loss

Posted on: December 8th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Addiction and Memory Loss

Drug abuse can have a devastating effect on a person’s personal life as well as their physical well-being. Repeated abuse of alcohol and other drugs can cause damage to essential functions in the body, especially in the brain. Addicts who have been abusing drugs for many years often experience memory loss and other problems with their cognitive functioning.

Hundreds of studies show a significant link between substance abuse and memory loss which as a result affects things like learning, language and comprehension. When a person experiences a blackout during alcohol or drug use, for example, it prevents the brain from completing the process of forming memories. Persistent drug use can cause not only issues with recalling recent events but also long term memory loss.

Drug use affects the hippocampus which is essentially the brain’s memory-storage system. Someone who becomes heavily dependent on drugs like alcohol will start to see long-lasting effects to their memory and brain function. They may begin to struggle with learning new things and have trouble recalling details such as birthdays and other important dates.

In some of the worst cases of addiction, people can develop serious brain damage leading conditions such as dementia. This typically occurs with excessive drinking over a long period of time and deals with issues of memory, learning and cognitive skills. Alcoholic dementia is a serious condition that is difficult and nearly impossible to reverse in some cases.

For people that are struggling with an addiction and are starting to experience some memory loss it is crucial to quit so that they can reverse some of the damage to their brain. Once sober, most addicts can start to see their cognitive function improve gradually over time. Getting treatment can help prevent further substance abuse from damaging memory and learning beyond repair.

The Perfectionist and the Addict

Posted on: October 25th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Perfectionist and Addict

Sometimes the stress of wanting to do your best and a fear of failure can cause a tendency toward perfectionism and those feelings might drive you to self-medicate. Although there is no single personality type that can lead to a person developing an addiction, there is a very strong connection between traits of perfectionism and substance abuse. The need for order and control can make people seek out drugs as a temporary escape from the underlying painful feelings that drive a perfectionist.

Someone who has a problem with perfectionism will set very high standards for themselves and will feel discouraged and upset at even the slightest flaw or mistake. Their perceived imperfections are often exaggerated but the pain that they feel can make them more inclined to medicate their feelings with drugs or alcohol. They have deep feelings of shame about their failures and want to find a way to feel better.

Addiction and perfectionism can be a dangerous combination because when a perfectionist develops a problem they will be even more likely to hide their behavior. Because they have such high standards and want people to see them a certain way they may start to isolate themselves so others won’t discover that they have an addiction. They fear the criticism and disappointment of their friends and family so they avoid admitting that they need help.

The dysfunctional thinking and feelings of frustration and shame that are common with perfectionism can cause and exacerbate substance abuse issues. It is important for anyone seeking help for addiction to address their potential perfectionism and talk about it with a therapist. Resolving some of the beliefs that cause perfectionist behavior can help minimize the possibility of relapse.

If you or someone you love is struggling from an addiction then contact a professional treatment center or therapist as soon as possible.