Expert Insights: Alcohol Consumption and its Effects on the Brain

By: Dr. John Larson
Corporate Medical Director
Gateway Treatment Centers

People enjoy drinking alcohol for many reasons, but no matter what the reason, its effects on a person’s brain, both short- and long-term, are profound. As a solvent, alcohol passes to the brain very quickly and can cause acute damage to living cells. Once a long-time drinker becomes sober, it may be years before those changes reverse themselves, if at all.

video-screen-larsonThe chemical and physical changes alcohol makes to the brain make it especially difficult to quit drinking alcohol, from a single drink or continued abuse of alcohol.
Reversing the Damage?

There is some evidence that continued abstinence from alcohol may bring some improvement in brain function. The brain is pretty resilient and is able to form new cells through neurogenesis. We don’t know to what extent the effects of alcohol on the brain can be reversed but what we do know, is that neurogenesis is stimulated by alcohol avoidance, exercise, good dietary habits and by simply using the brain…

Read Full Article or Watch Video

To learn more about treatment options for alcoholism , or our free consultation, call Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers today at 877-505-HOPE (4673).

Binge Drinking and the Many Degrees of Alcoholism

In recognition of Alcohol Awareness Month, founded by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence in 1987, Gateway aims to increase public awareness and understanding of alcoholism and the alcohol treatment options available for individuals and families who may need help.

Gateway’s substance abuse treatment Experts Patricia Ryding, Psy.D., and Paul Getzendanner explain binge drinking and the varying degrees of alcoholism: 

People tend to think of alcoholism as an all or nothing proposition. The perception is, if you can handle your liquor you are fine, as opposed to the drinker whose life is falling apart. The reality is, alcoholism is a progressive disease with many different degrees.

binge drinking

Substance abuse expert, Gilbert Lichstein explains binge drinking and the degrees of alcoholism.

Any level of alcohol abuse presents serious dangers. Consider: 60 percent of fatal burns, drownings and homicides involve alcohol; 50 percent of sexual assaults and 40 percent of fatal car crashes involve alcohol.

A prevalent and very deceptive form of alcohol abuse disorder is the functioning alcoholic. A functioning alcoholic can hold a job, take care of the children, and otherwise fulfill his or her roles in life. This ability to manage creates a false sense of security.

The question becomes first, “How well are they really doing these things?” and second, “How long can they keep it up?” It’s safe to say, any form of alcoholism eventually catches up, taking a toll on a person’s body that includes making changes to the brain.

Binge drinking presents another serious aspect of alcohol abuse…Read Full Article> 

To learn more about treatment options for alcoholism , or our free consultation, call Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers today at 877-505-HOPE (4673) or visit RecoverGateway.org

Medication Assisted Treatment Can be Key Piece in Treating Alcoholism

In recognition of Alcohol Awareness Month, founded by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence in 1987, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers aim to increase public awareness and understanding of alcoholism and the alcohol treatment options available for individuals and families who may need help.

GAteway Treatment Centers, Gateway alcohol and drug treatment

Kerry Henry
Executive Director
Gateway Treatment Centers in Springfield and Pekin

 Kerry Henry, Executive Director, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment in Springfield and Pekin, explains how Medication Assisted Treatment can play a key role in treatment for alcohol use disorders:

Treatment for alcohol use disorder, often referred to as alcoholism or alcohol abuse, calls for a multi-faceted approach that is personalized to the individual. Sometimes this approach includes medication assisted treatment (MAT).

For alcoholics, MAT initially consists of different treatment options that help them through the initial stages of detox withdrawal symptoms. Freedom from these symptoms enables people to participate in therapy sooner than later.

Skeptics of Medicated Assisted Treatment believe that it’s just substituting one drug for another, which is far from the case. The medications Gateway uses are not harmful, are closely monitored, treat symptoms and, the way we use them, are not addictive. We use the minimum effective dose and discontinue their use as soon as possible.

The ability to medically assist people with alcoholism has brought positive changes for those receiving treatment at Gateway. Read Full Article

To learn more about medication assisted treatment for alcoholism, or our free consultation, call Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers today at 800-971-HOPE (4673).

Gateway Names Thomas Britton as New President and CEO

Thomas P. Britton, President and CEO, Effective May 13, 2015, Gateway Treatment Centers

Thomas P. Britton, President and CEO, Effective May 13, 2015, Gateway Treatment Centers

Chicago-based Gateway Foundation, Inc. announces today that its Board of Directors named Dr. Thomas P. Britton as the company’s next President and Chief Executive Officer, effective May 13, 2015. Britton, (45) replaces outgoing President and CEO Michael J. Darcy (66), whose retirement was announced in July 2014.

“From the start, we knew finding a replacement for a CEO who had demonstrated exemplary leadership for three decades would not be an easy task,” says Glenn Baer Huebner, Chair of the Board, Gateway Foundation. “Our search was intense yet ultimately gave us the privilege of meeting a number of exceptionally talented individuals. In the end, the board concluded that Dr. Britton is the best person to propel Gateway’s strategic growth and maintain our strong reputation for delivering quality addiction treatment services in a variety of settings, thanks to his requisite drive, clinical expertise and demonstrated business acumen,” adds Huebner. Read More>

Confident in the board of director’s choice, current CEO Michael J. Darcy retiring on June 30, 2015, states, “I look forward to assisting Tom in making a successful transition into his role with Gateway. I’m confident his skillset and commitment to the field of addiction treatment will further the mission and strategic plans of Gateway Foundation.”

Read More> 

For more information about Gateway Foundation, visit RecoverGateway.org.

Gateway Expert Comments on Powdered Alcohol or ‘Palcohol’

powdered alcohol, palcoholA Columbia Chronicle article states that “While powdered alcohol could conceivably be sold in Chicago this summer, legislators, mirroring the concerns of health professionals, are working to keep this from happening. The state legislature is considering  a bill that would make its use a crime.

Gateway’s Substance Abuse Treatment Expert, Paul Getzendanner comments on powdered alcohol:

“The risks so clearly outweigh the benefits,” said Paul Getzendanner, program director for Gateway Foundation, an alcohol and drug treatment center in Chicago. “The creator of Palcohol says that you can take it camping because it is lighter, which is a limited need and catered to a very specific audience.”

Getzendanner said, “The sale and invention of alcohol is another way for distributors to profit off an idea and that the product is targeted to underage drinkers.”

View Full Article from the Columbia Chronicle

Source: Columbia College, Columbia Chronicle

Effective and Flexible Outpatient Treatment for Alcoholism

In recognition of Alcohol Awareness Month in April, Gateway expert, Stacy Lott shares how outpatient alcoholism treatment can be highly effective.

By: Stacy Lott, PsyD, CADC
Clinical Supervisor Outpatient Programs
Gateway Chicago West

Outpatient Alcohol TreatmentMany people don’t realize they can receive effective alcohol treatment in outpatient drug rehabilitation. The reality is, alcohol is a drug and outpatient therapy is very beneficial for treating the many forms of alcoholism.

Outpatient drug rehab is a flexible option for people who are unable to commit to a residential program. Many have jobs from which they cannot take time away or have children they must care for.

In addition to flexibility, outpatient treatment enables people to come in, learn new skills, and immediately utilize them in the real world. People can see what works and doesn’t, come back in, process that and build upon it.

Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers’ outpatient drug rehab program utilizes evidenced-based treatment, which has been shown through research to be the most effective. More than a support group, our program helps participants build the most effective coping skills….Read More>

Visit RecoverGateway.org/Alcohol to learn more about Gateway’s Outpatient Alcoholism Treatment programs.

Effective Alcoholism Treatment

The differences between support groups and treatment programs

Paul Getzendanner, JD, LCSW, CADC
Program Director for Gateway’s Chicago West and River North Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers

No single treatment is appropriate for everyone. gateway provides personalized treatment based on the extent and nature of a person's alcohol abuse.

No single treatment is appropriate for everyone. gateway provides personalized treatment based on the extent and nature of a person’s alcohol abuse.

Oftentimes people aren’t clear about the difference between 12-step programs, offered by groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, and treatment programs, which are what Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers provides.

The primary difference between the two is that Alcoholics Anonymous essentially provides a support group as opposed to an integrated treatment program. The distinction between support and treatment is an important one to make.

How does a support group work?

12-step support groups provide people a roadmap to sobriety, with steps that everyone is expected to complete in the same manner. It’s more of a one-size-fits-all solution. Alcoholics Anonymous is a peer-based group, where members of the group encourage each other and provide guidance based on their own experience.

How does treatment work?

At Gateway, alcoholism treatment is evidence-based and flexible. It is provided by professionals who are trained, educated, licensed and accredited and who specialize in substance abuse counseling. We seek out current information and will try new things based on what research tells us is proven to work. This is a key factor that distinguishes us from 12-step support programs as well as the vast majority of treatment providers.

Gateway’s treatment programs are personalized, using what evidence tells us will work for each particular person. We assess and diagnose individuals, collaborate with them and devise a treatment plan that will meet their needs.

Among the resources we use in alcoholism treatment are dialectical behavior therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, medication-assisted treatment, psychotherapy, art therapy and our own mindfulness based sobriety curriculum. Our programs also treat co-occurring disorders that include depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.

Treatment and Support Groups Working Together

Gateway supports involvement in 12-step programs and, as part of our therapy, introduces clients to the concept, hosts meetings for them to attend as part of their therapy, and recommends that patients take part in Alcoholics Anonymous or a similar 12-step offering following discharge.

12-step support groups play a valuable role in alcoholism treatment and many people are helped by them. Gateway believes the most benefit can be derived from experiencing both evidenced-based treatment and support.

To learn more about treatment options for alcoholism, or our free consultation, call Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers today at 877-505-HOPE (4673) or visit Recovergateway.org

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