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 >

Drug Rehab Expansion Advances Fox Valley Response to Heroin Epidemic

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Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Aurora

Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers announces today it has been approved by Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to receive a $500,000 grant, which will help fund the investment surrounding a 10-bed expansion construction project at its drug rehab center located in the Aurora, IL. As heroin continues to lure a following of young adult users from the Fox Valley area, the additional capacity will help Gateway meet the escalating demand for inpatient substance abuse treatment services.

“The reality is the surge in heroin use in DuPage and Kane counties have caused a bleak “no vacancy” status quo for inpatient treatment services since providers, for the most part, have been working at full capacity. Thanks to the financial backing from DCEO, more individuals who struggle with addiction issues will have access to life-saving treatment and the kind of emotional support needed, when they are ready to get life back on track,” explains Jim Scarpace, Executive Director, Gateway Aurora.

Gateway Aurora also is an active participant in solution-minded community coalitions, which bring together elected officials, businesses leaders and concerned citizens to collaborate on strategies to address the area’s heroin problem. Thanks to unwavering support from State Representative Linda Chapa LaVia, state Sen. Jim Oberweis, Congressman Bill Foster (IL-11) and Congressman Randy Hultgren (IL-14), progress has been made in alleviating vulnerabilities, educating the public and saving lives. For example, Naperville police now carry Narcan nasal spray to be administered in the event of an overdose, which has resulted in 25 lives saved in one year alone according to Chicago Tribune story published on Oct. 17, 2014.

“During my time in Congress, I have looked for ways to attack from head-on the problem of substance abuse. Healthcare providers know the best way to fight addiction is to provide in-patient treatment, like the services provided by Gateway Alcohol and Drug Treatment Centers. This grant funding will go a long way in the fight against substance abuse in the Fox Valley and the surrounding area. Ten more beds at this facility mean more people will get the help they need and be on the road to recovery,” says Congressman Bill Foster.

When complete in July 2015, Gateway Aurora’s renovated inpatient annex will include a total of 44 beds, increasing client capacity by about 22 percent. The Aurora center also offers step-down services, Outpatient and Aftercare programs; please visit RecoverGateway.org/Aurora for more information.

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