Gateway’s Scott Pasko Receives Excellence in Field Education Award

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Gateway Chicago West

The Chicago School of Social Service Administration held its Student Recognition Ceremony and Reception on May 21, 2015, hosted by Dean Neil Guterman and Dean of Students Celia Bergman. Students were recognized in many areas including programs of study, scholarship recipients and the Excellence in Field Education Award.

We are pleased to announce that Scott Pasko, an intern in the LSTAR co-occurring residential program at Gateway Chicago West, was selected for the Excellence in Field Education Award.  As part of their field education, Scott and other students from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration offer individual and group therapy for clients in several Gateway Chicago West residential programs, utilizing the Mindfulness Based Sobriety curriculum.  Several clients have reported that working with Scott is the most satisfying therapeutic experience they have encountered!  Congratulations, Scott, and thank you for all you do to help Gateway clients reach their goals!

Mental Health Issues and Substance Abuse Often Go Hand in Hand

mental health, substance abuse, dual diagnosis, co-occurringIn recognition of National Mental Health Awareness Month in May, proclaimed by President Obama in 2013, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers aim to help you better understand mental health issues, how they can relate to substance abuse, and the treatment options available.

If someone you know has an alcohol or drug abuse problem, it can seem like a huge issue in and of itself. Yet many individuals who have substance abuse problems also have mental health problems. In fact, the presence of a dual diagnosis is more the “rule” than the exception.

DID YOU KNOW?
80% of individuals with addiction issues also have a co-occurring mental health issue.

What is Dual Diagnosis or a Co-Occurring Disorder?

It simply refers to two or more disorders or illnesses occurring in the same person. Among those with substance abuse problems, the most common co-occurring mental health problems include depression, anxiety and trauma-related issues. There is also a subset of individuals with more severe mental health problems, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

It’s More Common than You Think.
Alcohol dependence is 4 times as likely to occur among adults that have a mental health problem.*

Using an Integrated Approach to Treat Dual Diagnosis

There is great interaction and influence between substance abuse and mental health problems in many individuals. That is why the most effective treatment of dual diagnosed disorders is called “integrated treatment.”

“At Gateway Treatment Centers, we use integrated treatment to address co-occurring substance abuse and mental health problems at the same time, in the same program by the same treatment team,” explains Dr. John Larson, Medical Director for Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment.”It’s imperative to treat these problems together, as an untreated mental health problem is a common cause of substance relapse. For example, a person who is depressed or anxious and is self-medicating with alcohol or other drugs may feel some very temporary relief, but this usually occurs at the expense of developing even more serious life and emotional problems.”

Learn More> 

 *National Survey on Drug Use and Health, SAMHSA 5/31/11

Alcohol Abuse and Mental Health Issues Are a Common Dual Diagnosis

In recognition of National Mental Health Awareness Month, proclaimed by President Obama in 2013, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers aim to help you better understand mental health issues, how they can relate to alcohol abuse, and the treatment options available.

Author: Jim Scarpace, MS, LCPC,, Executive Director, Gateway Aurora

alcohol abuse, mental health, gateway alcohol and drug treatment centers

Expert Insight:
Jim Scarpace Explains Alcohol Abuse and Mental Health Issues

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSA), 80 percent of clients with addiction issues have a co-occurring Axis 1 mental health issue. These can include depression, mood disorder, psychosis and attention deficit disorder, among others. In my experience the number of people with a dual diagnosis may be even higher.

Alcohol abuse and many mental health issues go hand in hand because both are tied to similar centers of the brain. Depression and anxiety, for example, deplete certain of the brain’s neurotransmitters. Alcohol temporarily energizes that system, decreasing those symptoms for a person.

The effects of using alcohol to self-medicate are fleeting, leaving a person feeling substantially worse than prior to using. Still, many use this “band aid” approach because it helps them obtain some manner of immediate relief –medications for mental health issues that are prescribed by a medical professional can take three to six weeks to work and finding the right medications can be hit or miss. When a person drinks to make themselves feel better, they create a cycle that repeats, so both the alcohol abuse and mental health issue worsen.

Caught in the spiral, it is almost impossible to stop the cycle without help and support….Read Full Article or Watch Video >

Webinars for Healthcare Professionals: The Relationship between Grief and Addiction

Webinar Trainer: Jim Scarpace, Executive Director Gateway Aurora

Webinar Trainer: Jim Scarpace, Executive Director Gateway Aurora

Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment will host two expert-led CEU webinars in May to help healthcare and medical professionals better understand the relationship between grief and addiction. Participants will learn how to recognize symptoms and behaviors an individual who struggles with grief and addiction issues may exhibit. The treatment strategies and intervention techniques used in addiction treatment to help those who may be using substances to cope with grief and loss issues will also be covered.

Healthcare professionals may earn one continuing education credit compliments of Gateway while increasing their understanding of the close relationship between grief and substance use disorders. Gateway’s webinars will only be offered Tuesday, May. 19 and Thursday, May 28, 2015 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

There is a strong relationship between substance use disorders and traumatic experiences, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). “Grief is one of the most difficult traumatic experiences to overcome and can lead to patterns of despair, depression and overwhelming feelings of emotion. Individuals struggling with grief will sometimes use drugs and alcohol to cope with these issues,” said Jim Scarpace, Executive Director, Gateway Aurora.  “This webinar was developed to help healthcare professionals identify trauma related issues, as well as to understand effective strategies and treatment approaches that are available to treat them.”

To sign up for a webinar, please visit RecoverGateway.org/Training.

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