Am I Driving Under the Influence?

Blurred motion car drivers view traveling through tunnelDUI, Driving Under the Influence, is a defined as the act or crime of driving while affected by alcohol or drugs. “Drunk Driving” is the more commonly used term. While a DUI refers to a driver with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher, we tend to forgot that being under the influence can happen with other drugs as well; even prescription and Over The Counter (OTC) drugs.

There are many prescription drugs that when taken as prescribed, can cause you to be legally impaired.   Ingesting multiple prescribed medications at once may also present an additional hazard, as they have the possibility to interact with each other. The introduction of alcohol to a mix of drugs undoubtedly enhances a driver’s vulnerability as well behind the wheel.

Reliable data on how many drivers are impaired by prescription drugs is hard to find, but law enforcement officials agree that the problem is increasing.

According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), common prescription and OTC drugs that can impair drivers are:
Anxiety Medications
Some Antidepressants
Products containing codeine
Some cold remedies and allergy products
Tranquilizers
Sleeping Pills
Pain Relievers
Diet Pills, “stay awake” drugs, and other medications with stimulants (e.g. caffeine, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine)

As a consumer, be sure to carefully read all drug information. If you must take prescription and/or OTC medications and drive, consult with your physician for further direction or alternatives.

Gateway Foundation is here to help educate the community about substance use in any realm, as well as providing treatment for those who may need substance use disorder treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use disorder of any kind, visit recoverygateway.org or call 877-505-HOPE (4673) to learn about treatment options.

The Relationship of Substance Use Disorder and Mental Illness

suicide and substance abuse, gateway treatment centersAt Gateway, we recognize that mental illness and Substance Use Disorder (SUD) often coincide. In fact, the presence of a co-occurring diagnosis is more the “rule” than the exception. The terms “dual diagnosis” or “co-occurring” refer to an individual that is affected by two or more disorders or illnesses.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that 37% of individuals with alcohol use disorder and 53% of those with a drug use disorder also have at least one serious mental illness.

It is difficult to diagnose which came first – the SUD or the mental health disorder. Drug use can cause one to experience symptoms of mental illness. However, mental illness can also lead to drug use as a form of self-medication to manage symptoms. There are many overlapping factors that can make it difficult to detect the initial issue.

“There is no question that no matter which came first; both issues need to be addressed in treatment,” said Katie Stout, Executive Director at Gateway. According to reports from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the most common reason for relapse is an untreated mental health problem.

“The best chance of recovery is through an integrated treatment program that includes treatment of the SUD and the mental health illness,” said Katie Stout.

Evidence-based treatment for co-occurring disorders includes: motivational interviewing, mindfulness based therapy, trauma informed therapy and 12 step facilitation.

Gateway is a recognized leader among behavioral health care providers in offering substance use disorder treatment, as well as treatment for individuals that are diagnosed with a co-occurring mental illness. To learn more about our treatment programs visit us at RecoverGateway.org.

A Note of Appreciation for the Hospital Worker

Portrait Of Medical Staff Standing In Lobby Of Hospital

In recognition of National Hospital Week, Gateway  expresses sincere gratitude for all hospital workers.

A stay in the hospital can be scary and let’s be honest, unpleasant to even think about. It’s the hospital workers who change this to a more pleasant experience.  The teamwork of a hospital’s clinical and support workers is essential for the healing of a patient. It could be the doctor with the great bedside manner, the social worker who took the time to listen, or the custodian that made sure your window was clean and clear so that you could see the sunshine; all of these people made an impact on your experience.

As a healthcare provider in substance use disorder treatment, Gateway recognizes the important role that hospital workers play in assisting with the detection and guidance of patients with a substance use disorder.

“The collaboration we have with hospitals is crucial in our mission of reducing substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health problems through effective and efficient treatment programs. Gateway extends its’ sincere gratitude to all hospital workers for the impact they have in the lives of those persons struggling with mental illness and substance use disorders,” said Dr. Thomas Britton, President and CEO of Gateway Foundation.

Stress on the Road to Recovery

April is Natiroadonal Stress Awareness Month. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), medical specialists believe that stress is the leading cause of relapse back into drug use. Research shows that the brain of those with substance use disorder is more hypersensitive to stress, which may provoke them to relieve their stress by returning to drugs.

 

 

For those in recovery, many stressors arise such as family/relationship conflicts, work, money and health concerns. It is important to pay attention to the signs your body is giving you to recognize stress.

  • Headaches
  • Neck or back pain
  • Stomach upset
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Change in appetite
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety

Stress is often unavoidable. However, you can take a proactive role in acknowledging and calming the stress to avoid relapse. There are many healthy and practical ways to reduce stress and increase your chance of staying sober. Among these are: Exercise, talking it out (or write about it), breathing with purpose (yoga/meditation), and of course good old laughter.

Most important is to recognize when you are experiencing stress and find your most healthy way to cope with it.

What Is the Difference Between Alcoholics Anonymous and an Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment Program?

In Honor of Alcohol Awareness Month in April, Gateway highlights the differences between 12-Step Meetings (such as Alcoholics Anonymous) and an Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment Program.
What is Alcoholics Anonymous or 12-Step?

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a 12-Step group for those struggling with alcohol use disorder. Led by peers, this group allows participants to follow a set of recovery steps to achieve and maintain abstinence from alcohol.

The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking. AA works through members telling their stories of recovery from alcohol use disorder. AA is nonprofessional – it doesn’t have clinics, doctors, counselors or psychologists. All members are themselves recovering from alcoholism. There is no central authority controlling how AA groups operate. It is up to the members of each group to decide what they do. However, the AA program of recovery has proven to be very successful and almost every group follows it in very similar ways.

How is an Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment Program Different from AA?

Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment believes 12-step groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and other kinds of recovery support groups play a valuable role in substance abuse treatment, but they only comprise part of the picture.

Gateway believes that a substance use disorder treatment program should include the use of evidence-based practices – drug and alcohol disorder treatments that integrate professional research and clinical expertise to achieve the best outcome for an individual.  The clinical professionals at Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers employ evidenced-based practices to create meaningful, individualized treatment programs. We believe there is more than one pathway to recovery so we expose clients to a wide array of treatment methodologies. The greatest benefit can be derived from experiencing 12-step programs in conjunction with evidenced-based treatment.

Gateway engages both adults and teens through a variety of highly effective clinical approaches and therapies to help them get life back on track. On average, Gateway’s drug rehab programs have a 10% higher successful treatment completion rate when compared to other Treatment Providers.

12-Step as Part of Gateway’s Integrated Treatment Programs

“It’s a Personal Choice – Some individuals come to Gateway convinced that a 12-step program is the only thing that will work for them, while others have equally strong reservations about them. We make it a priority to accommodate the needs of clients who are of either mindset and implement the 12-steps accordingly,” said Gilbert Lichstein, LCPC, MS Clinical Psychology, Program Manager at Gateway Chicago.

Gradual Exposure- Our experienced staff utilizes a targeted approach that provides clients with an in-depth understanding of 12-step principles. Our curriculum is designed to break down barriers to participation and “kick start” the process of attending meetings and finding a sponsor.

12-step meetings can not only be challenging for some, they also vary from group to group and meeting to meeting. In order to give clients a good idea of what to expect out of support groups like these after leaving treatment, Gateway provides exposure to 12-steps in multiple settings. To offer our full support, we accompany individuals in our treatment programs to both on-site and off-site 12-step meetings.

For those who prefer not to use 12-step techniques, many Gateway treatment locations offer on-site SMART recovery groups and linkage to other peer support options such as Dual Recovery Anonymous.

To learn more about Gateway’s alcohol and drug treatment programs, visit RecoverGateway.org

The Role of Nutrition in Recovery

Substance Use Dnutrients and substance abuse recoveryisorder (SUD) and poor nutrition often go hand-in-hand. Nutrient imbalances can intensify the cravings for alcohol and drugs. Poor nutrition can also have an effect on co-occurring disorders such as depression and anxiety. According to an article in Today’s Dietitian SUD is known to lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies that threaten physical and mental health, damage vital organs and the nervous system, and decrease immunity.

“A well balanced diet rich in nutrients is needed for cognitive repair, processing and critical thinking; which are all compounding factors to a healthful and lasting recovery,” said Jayne Chatzidakis, Gateway’s dietitian consultant with Cynthia Chow & Associates.

The recovery process at Gateway Foundation includes encouragement for proper nutrition through collaboration with the dietitians from Cynthia Chow & Associates. The dietitians provide the highest standard of dietary consultation for the specialized needs of Gateway clients.

Proper nutrition aids in ridding the body of toxins and restores the nutrients that have been lost as a result of substance use. What does proper nutrition look like? “Eat more nutrient rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish,” encourages Jayne Chatzidakis. “Stay away from overly prep
ared, frozen, processed, or prepackaged foods. Also, drinking plenty of water throughout the day is vital to hydrate the body and assist in the detoxification process.”

“Overall, it’s about achieving a healthy lifestyle that is drug free, nutritious and active,” said Jayne Chatzidakis.

Meet Gaia McVey, MS, LCPC Adolescent Clinical Supervisor

“Watching an individual change, succeed and grow through treatment is very motivating,” says Gaia McVey, Adolescent Program Clinical Supervisor at Gateway CarbondaleGaia McVey. With a wealth of experience in substance use disorder treatment, she works closely with her team at the Adolescent Male Residential Program.

“We are flexible in our individualized treatment planning and approach for adolescents. We use a great deal of interactive activities in our group counseling sessions to help teens learn new skills in a variety of ways,” explains Gaia. Gaia has been a member of the Gateway’s clinical team since 2000.

She obtained her Master of Science degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the Rehabilitation Institute at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL.

 

Appreciate a Social Worker: Social Worker Appreciation Month

Young Woman Having Counselling SessionMarch is National Professional Social Work Month as recognized by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). According to the NASW our nation has more than 600,000 social workers, yet many people still misunderstand who social workers are and the invaluable contributions they bring to society.

Social workers are responsible for helping individuals, families, and groups of people to cope with problems they’re facing in their lives. Being a social worker is often a challenging, yet gratifying career.

As a part of this role, social workers regularly encounter individuals and families affected by substance use disorders (SUDs). Social workers must be knowledgeable about the dynamics of substance use, dependency, and recovery.

Working with clients with SUDs, a social worker must possess specialized knowledge and understanding of psychological and emotional factors, physiological issues, legal considerations, and the co-occurrence of mental health disorders that can coincide with substance use.

“Gateway’s collaboration with the social work profession is key in ensuring that our clients receive the highest quality of coordinated care,” said Katie Stout, Executive Director at Gateway Foundation in Carbondale, IL. “Social workers are instrumental to the evidence-based treatment offered by our programs.”

Social workers begin at the frontline of treatment continuum and are the advocate for their client. As part of this advocacy social workers help their clients gain access to the proper resources and treatment; from start to finish.

Please join Gateway in celebrating this month by honoring a social worker today!

Gateway Treatment Centers Offers Two Free CEU Webinars: “Understanding Addiction: Why Can’t Those Affected Just Say No”

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Addiction has a stigma attached to it, causing many to blame the struggling individual for their problems and assume that they should just be able to stop using if they want to. But the effects of substance use can change the chemistry of the brain, making the task of “Just Saying No” seem inaccessible.

This February, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers will offer two free webinars “Understanding Addiction: Why Can’t Those Affected Just Say No?” giving participants the opportunity to earn one continuing education unit (CEU) and learn about the brain processes that develop under the grips of addiction.

The webinar presenter is A’nna Jurich, LCPC, a Program Director at Gateway Treatment Centers. A’nna has worked with Gateway since 1994 and has worked as a clinician in addictions and mental health for the past 24 years. She is trained in Motivational Interviewing and EMDR.

Because of the way drugs work in the brain, addiction can form, causing compulsive behavior and a lack of control over seeking and taking the drug. “Addiction is a lifelong, chronic disease that affects millions of individuals. The more understanding and acceptance we are able to gain, the better prepared we are to treat and support those who suffer,” Jurich said.

The webinar will be offered on two occasions: Wednesday February 15th, 2017 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. and Thursday February 23rd, 2017 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Participants can receive one CEU – NAADAC, Illinois: LCSW, LSW, LCPC, LPC, Nursing, Psychologist, IAODAPCA (Counselor I, Preventionist I, CARS I, MISA I, PCGC II, CCJP II, CAAP I, CRSS II, MAATP I, NCRS II, CFPP II)

For more details regarding the webinar, please visit Recovergatway.org/Training.

Registration in advance is required and space is limited.

 

Addiction: A Disease Delegitimized by Stigma

Professional medical associheroinations, such as the American Society of Addiction Medicine and American Medical Association, define addiction as a disease just like diabetes, cancer, or heart disease. Articulating a usable definition of what “disease” actually is can be surprisingly difficult, as notions of health vary by context. Dorland’s Medical Dictionary generally defines disease as any condition that causes pain, dysfunction, distress, social problems, or death to the person afflicted.

Dr. Thomas Britton, CEO of Gateway Foundation, wrote in his article “Releasing Stigma’s Grip” that the many facets of drugs and alcohol addiction make it a unique disease. In comparison to cancer or diabetes, addiction strongly affects spiritual and mental wellness—not just physical wellness. Dr. Britton explains that this cumulative approach generates internal battles in those inflicted and seeking help. He writes, “Many people are simply overcome with feelings of inadequacy, shame and embarrassment.”

Perhaps this is due to society’s disillusioned notions of addiction. Stereotypes of dependency disrupt society at large from truly understanding the legitimacy of the disease. Drug and alcohol abuse are commonly associated with crime, broken homes, laziness, violence, and moral failing. Dr. Britton explains that fear of judgment may prevent those suffering from seeking the treatment they need.

According to the Center of Addiction, up to 25 percent of people with substance abuse problems appear to have a chronic disorder, meaning that their disease is a long-lasting condition that can be controlled but not cured. For chronic sufferers, addiction is a progressive, relapsing disease that requires intensive treatments and continuing aftercare, monitoring, and support to manage recovery.

You may find Dr. Thomas Britton’s full article, “Releasing Stigma’s Grip,” here. If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse disorder, do not let shame or judgment impede pursuit of treatment. To get your or your loved one’s life back on track, learn more about treatment options at RecoverGateway.org.

 

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