Better Addiction Treatment Results with Evidence-Based Practices

Gateway drug rehab

Group Therapy Room at Gateway Chicago River North

Adults in Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment at Gateway Chicago River North are discovering how satisfying life can be in recovery through the use of evidence-based practices, such as Mindfulness-Based Sobriety and SMART Recovery.

Addiction typically derails one’s priorities and goals. With the support of a dedicated counselor, individuals re-connect with their core values, set and attain goals, and work through issues holding them back.

Evidence-based practices are treatments that integrate professional research and clinical expertise to achieve the best outcome for an individual. Gateway is a recognized leader in the use of evidence-based practices, treatment models that work.

To learn more about evidence-based practices used in outpatient treatment at Gateway Chicago River North, visit or call 877-971-HOPE (4673).


Free Webinar for Healthcare Professionals: How to Motivate Patients to Enter Substance Abuse Treatment

Doctors, nurses, practice managers and counselors all play a key role in talking to patients about their overall healthcare, which should include discussing use of drugs or alcohol.” Patricia Ryding Psy.D., Executive Director, Gateway Lake Villa

Doctors, nurses, practice managers and counselors all play a key role in talking to patients about their overall healthcare, which should include discussing use of drugs or alcohol.” Patricia Ryding Psy.D., Executive Director, Gateway Lake Villa

Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment will host two expert-led CEU webinars in March to assist healthcare and medical professionals with developing skills they can use to encourage patients to engage in substance abuse treatment. Participants will learn how to recognize signs and symptoms of a possible addictive disorder and assess their patients’ readiness for change. Motivational Interviewing, an evidence-based intervention method, also will be covered in the training.

Healthcare professionals may earn one continuing education credit compliments of Gateway while increasing their understanding of how to assist patients regarding substance abuse issues.  Gateway’s webinars will only be offered Thursday, Mar. 26 and Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2015 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, nearly one in 10 Americans over age 12 is classified with substance abuse or dependence. “Doctors, nurses, practice managers and counselors all play a key role in talking to patients about their overall healthcare, which should include discussing use of drugs or alcohol,” said Patricia Ryding Psy.D., Executive Director, Gateway Lake Villa.  “We designed this new training based on what healthcare professionals said they needed most, they need to better understand what tools are most effective for motivating their patients to consider treatment for alcoholism or drug abuse.”

Gateway’s webinars will cover important topics, like how to identify symptoms of a substance abuse disorder and understanding motivation and clinical intervention concepts.

To sign up for a webinar, please visit

The Affordable Care Act Opens Doors to Addiction Recovery

By Dr. John Larson

JohnLarson_Gateway Alchol and Drug Treatment Centers

Dr. John Larson
Corporate Medical Director
Gateway Treatment Centers

In predicting the types of medical problems we may experience in the future, we tend to underestimate the likelihood substance abuse will occur in our own life or the life of a close family member.

Studies have shown that approximately 10% of Americans need substance abuse treatment each year but only 1% receives it. And while the reasons vary, financial constraints are frequently a barrier that prevents people from getting the kind of help they need.

Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans who had insurance and tried to get treatment for themselves or a family member discovered alcohol and drug abuse was not covered by their health insurance. But things are different today.

Now, the Affordable Care Act requires health insurance carriers to provide the same benefits for psychiatric and substance abuse as they do for other medical conditions.

Unfortunately, too many people still assume treatment for addiction issues is not covered by their health insurance, and the reality is they have the type of coverage benefits they need and can engage in treatment right away.

With the financial barrier removed, there’s hope for more families to end the relentless cycle of substance abuse.

Not enough hours in a day to iron out what’s covered by insurance? Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment will do the work for you. Call 877-505-HOPE (4673) to learn more about your insurance coverage options for substance abuse treatment.

The Irony of Drug and Alcohol Addiction

alcohol addiction substance abuseNearly one in 10 American adults and teens has a drug or alcohol abuse problem; and sadly, only one in 10 Americans who need help with substance abuse issues will seek professional treatment.

Prolonged exposure to alcohol and drugs alters the brain in ways that result in powerful cravings and a compulsion to use. These brain changes make it extremely difficult to quit using by sheer force of will. But that doesn’t mean someone with addiction issues is a helpless victim.

The good news is: Brain changes associated with addiction can be treated and reversed through engaging in therapy and other treatments, taking appropriate medication as prescribed, and leading a healthy, sober lifestyle.

Click to View Gateway's Roadmap to Understanding Substance Abuse: A Guide for Parents and Families

Click to View Gateway’s Roadmap to Understanding Substance Abuse: A Guide for Parents and Families

So, if addiction can be successfully treated, why are roughly 90 percent of Americans ignoring their issues with alcohol and/or drug dependency? Tragically, that’s the irony of addiction.

There are major hurdles to overcome before people acknowledge they are ready for substance abuse treatment. Denial, stigma, aversion to change, understanding treatment options, and cost of care are just a few.

But there is hope. The Affordable Care Act now makes substance abuse treatment accessible to more people through their insurance benefits. And effective outpatient treatment allows adults to continue working while receiving treatment.

For more information, visit to get a free copy of our new family and parent guide, “Roadmap to Understanding Substance Abuse.”

Springfield Gateway Event Focuses on Re-entering the Workplace Following Substance Abuse Treatment

drug rehab, Gateway Springfield, Alcohol & Drug Treatment

Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment in Springfield

Forty people gathered for food, fellowship and information at a January 21st alumni event sponsored by Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment in Springfield. The no-cost event featured guest speakers on the topic of workplace re-entry following substance abuse treatment.

Attendees gained valuable insight on the pertinent topics of Self-care and Perseverance, presented by alumna Jamie B; and Resume, Application and Interview Tips offered by Springfield Gateway’s Tammy Kmett.

The gathering, which included food and giveaways, was attended by 19 Gateway alumni and 14 current residents. Gateway Springfield employees present were Julie Pena, Alumni Specialist; Amy Taylor, OP Counsellor II; and speaker, Tammy Kmett, Patient Financial Counselor.

The two-hour alumni event was held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Gateway Springfield, 2200 Lake Victoria Drive.

Gateway Springfield provides substance abuse treatment services for teens and adults. With centers located throughout Illinois and the St. Louis East Metro area, Gateway’s professional clinicians have facilitated the successful completion of treatment for thousands of individuals.

Learn more about Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers by calling 877-505-HOPE (4673).

Is That an Elephant in Your Exam Room?: How to Talk to Patients About Substance Abuse Treatment

As a health care professional, your role is to collaborate with patients in regards to their state of health and wellness. Together, you search for clues and evidence to either identify or rule out potential health risks and discuss strategies to enhance wellness. Understanding your patients’ lifestyles as well as details about how they manage stressors, such as career, home, family or personal set-backs, is customary during an annual health check-up. But are you adequately addressing the elephant in the exam room?

“Let’s face it talking to patients about substance abuse can be tricky. Whether real or perceived, there are disincentives for doctors to talk with their patients about substance abuse, including time constraints and our society’s aversion to awkward encounters,” says Dr. John Larson, Corporate Medical Director, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment. “Yet, skipping the topic entirely is a huge disservice to your patients who depend on you to help keep them healthy.”

Bear in mind, there are plenty of myths about substance abuse and drug rehab that actually perpetuate avoidant behavior from patients who need help remaining sober, including:

  • A person can’t be forced into treatment, and has to have the desire to change for treatment to be work.
  • Addiction treatment didn’t work in the past, so there’s no point in trying again.
  • Overcoming addiction is merely a matter of willpower. People can choose to stop using drugs if they really want to change their lives for the better.

Help Inspire Self-Directed Change in Others

To overcome misperception as well as the societal stigma of substance abuse with your patients’, it’s important to motivational interviewing, substance abuse, gateway alcohol & Drug treatment centersset a positive tone from right off the bat. Simply advising patients to change if a problem is revealed often is unrewarding and ineffective. That’s why Gateway recommends using techniques of Motivational Interviewing (MI) to promote self-directed change. In fact, a recent meta-analysis* of 72 studies found that MI outperformed traditional medical advice-giving in 80% of the studies.

To clarify, Motivational Interviewing is an open-ended, non-confrontational approach for interacting with persons who are unsure, uncommitted or ambivalent about changing. The spirit of MI, which is prioritized over technique, includes partnership, acceptance, compassion and evocation…or P.A.C.E.:

  • Partnership refers to collaborating with patients on their journey of exploration and decision-making.
  • Acceptance involves acknowledging and respecting patients’ inherent worth or ability within and as ultimate decision makers.
  • Compassion involves demonstrating commitment and behavior supportive of patients’ best interests.
  • Evocation encompasses the use of reflections, open-ended questions and non-judgmental exploration to facilitate exchanges in which patients elicit their concerns and reasons for change.

Trying to impose motivation upon patients makes it less likely they will change. Rather, it’s the role of the patient to make needed changes in MI; and your responsibility as a physician is to educate and empower your patients to make well-informed decisions that satisfy their own personal health needs.

If you know someone that could benefit from a free, confidential substance abuse consultation, encourage them to call 800-971-HOPE, or visit

*US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

Connect & Protect: Talking to Your Child About Drugs and Alcohol

teens and substance abuse, talking to teens about drugs and alcohol, parent resourcesWe understand that it’s scary to think about the extremely widespread use of drugs and alcohol among today’s adolescents. As experts in the substance abuse treatment field, we can tell you not to be lulled into thinking it can’t happen to your child. The fact is a wide variety of drugs and alcohol is available to your child if he or she wants them.

Conversations are one of the most powerful tools parents can use to combat a child’s drug and alcohol use. The truth is adolescents do listen to their parents when it comes to drinking and smoking, particularly if the messages are conveyed consistently and with authority. In fact, research suggests the majority of teens – around 80% – feel parents should have a say in whether they drink alcohol.*

Keys to Driving Meaningful Conversations with Your Kids
Click to View Gateway's Roadmap to Understanding Substance Abuse: A Guide for Parents and Families

Click to View Gateway’s Roadmap to Understanding Substance Abuse: A Guide for Parents and Families

Figuring out how to approach the issue with your kids can be tough. Realize this issue cannot be adequately addressed in a “one-and-done” talk, instead it’s an on-going conversation you will revisit and reinforce many times over the years. Consider these helpful tips:

  • When you talk with your child about drinking and drug use, listen and respect what he or she has to say. If your child feels judged they are less likely to turn to you with concerns.
  • Make your expectations of no drinking or drug use clear to your child, and let them know you will enforce those expectations.
  • Teach your child about the dangers of drinking and drug use. Discuss laws, potential repercussions and health-related outcomes.

For more information on teens and substance abuse, click to view our Roadmap to Understanding Substance Abuse: A Guide for Parents and Families.

      *National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: Parenting to Prevent Childhood Alcohol Use. July 2013

Choosing A Substance Abuse Treatment Center


seeking substance abuse treatment, questions to askTo assist someone in finding the best possible treatment for substance abuse, it’s recommended that you ask the following types of questions to learn more about a provider’s level of expertise and services. Below are several helpful questions to consider asking during your search, many which are recommended by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.


Different treatment centers call themselves by different names. In order to sort through the industry terminology and acronyms, you should know that there are generally only three categories of programs a center will fall into: residential or inpatient treatment, day/night treatment or partial hospitalization and outpatient treatment.

Gateway Treatment Centers offer a full continuum of care to treat alcohol and substance abuse as well as co-occurring disorders. With nine convenient treatment centers – located in Chicago, throughout the state of Illinois and near St. Louis–Gateway meets individual needs through our residential, outpatient and day/night programs.


No single treatment is right for everyone. The best treatment addresses a person’s various needs, not just his or her drug abuse.

We offer a comprehensive approach to treating substance abuse, which includes responding to the unique biological, psychological, social and familial issues of men and women. On average, Gateway’s programs have a 10% higher successful treatment completion rate when compared to other Treatment Providers.*


Addressing underlying mental health concerns is an important part of substance abuse treatment. Programs that offer integrated treatment plans are recommended so an individual’s substance abuse and mental health (co-occurring) problems are addressed concurrently.

Gateway is a recognized leader among behavioral health care providers in offering substance abuse treatment, as well as treatment for individuals that are diagnosed with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse problems. With more than 40 years of treatment experience, our professional staff provides you with the individualized care needed to treat co-occurring disorders to ensure lasting recovery.


Addiction treatment centers must be licensed by the state government agency that oversees them and should be accredited by The Joint Commission.

All Gateway Treatment Centers are licensed by the state of Illinois and accredited by The Joint Commission, just as the hospitals in your community are accredited. Specially trained health care professionals who are experts in the field personally visited our centers to conduct a review that monitors how well the staff performs services and protects clients.


A treatment center should be able to tell you the most current level of client satisfaction.

  •  At Gateway Treatment Centers, we are proud of our track record of success. In fact, satisfaction ratings from Gateway alumni and their families are more than 90%.*
  • And 9 out of 10 clients would refer Gateway for drug abuse treatment to a family member or friend.*

You should understand up front what is covered under your healthcare benefits so there are no surprises. Since this may be tedious and time consuming, it’s a good idea to have someone familiar with the process help you.

At Gateway Treatment Centers, your insurance co-pay and deductibles go further. We are a preferred, or in-network provider, for most benefit plans. We accept Blue Cross/Blue Shield, United Behavioral Health and Aetna to name just a few.Our knowledgeable and dedicated staff is here to help you understand what services are covered by insurance to pay the cost of alcohol and drug treatment for you or your loved one.


Remaining in treatment for the right period of time is critical. The type of treatment and duration should be based on factors such as personal background, types of abused drugs and a person’s support system. One-size-fits-all treatment programs are not recommended.

At Gateway we know the duration of treatment varies based on the extent of a person’s substance abuse history and dedication to recovery. Our treatment plans are tailored to meet the specific needs of each individual and our goal is to provide each person with education, counseling and therapy needed to live a life free of drugs or alcohol.

In Gateway’s Intensive Outpatient treatment program, individuals participate in group and family counseling sessions several times per week. One-on-one counseling sessions also occur with their primary counselor. Treatment is usually four sessions per week that are three hours each, based on an individual’s needs. Most individuals remain in an Intensive Outpatient Program for four to six weeks before transitioning into less intense weekly Aftercare sessions. Although outpatient treatment may work for many people, should residential or inpatient treatment be necessary, two to four weeks is typical.


Effective drug abuse treatments can include behavioral therapy, medications or ideally a combination of treatments.

Gateway focuses on providing the most effective therapies and clinical approaches throughout an individual’s treatment, including the use of evidence-based practices. Evidence-based practices are drug and alcohol treatments that integrate professional research and clinical expertise to achieve the best outcome for an individual and are proven to work.

Gateway centers also offer medication assisted treatment as part of our comprehensive substance abuse treatment programs. This effective treatment option assists individuals with modifying their behavior to make better lifestyle changes for long-term success. These medications can help reduce or eliminates cravings, decreases withdrawal symptoms and reduce the risk of relapse.


You want to find a provider that offers support after treatment is completed, such as aftercare, alumni programs and recovery groups.

Gateway is committed to providing you a full range of care, and that includes providing support after you’ve completed one of our programs. At the end of treatment, you will be referred to weekly Aftercare sessions. Aftercare includes counseling sessions that help you move from active treatment to coaching, developing effective relapse-prevention plans, support through recovery group involvement and access to Gateway’s life-long recovery support in our Alumni Program.


The treatment center should offer family programs that include counseling and education.

Gateway recognizes the immediate and long-term benefits to individuals in recovery when their families are involved in treatment, and engages families in counseling and substance abuse education programs. Our Family Programs are designed to answer the questions families have and to help parents, spouses, siblings and significant others learn how to better cope with the substance abuse issues of loved ones in treatment.

Click here for more questions you should ask when seeking substance abuse treatment.

*(Based on information reported by the IL Department of Human Services Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse).

*As reported from Press Ganey an independent organization which gathers post-treatment surveys from Gateway clients and provides unbiased reports on levels of customer satisfaction.


A Doctor’s Note: How Self-Medicating Spirals into Addiction

By Dr. John Larson Corporate Medical Director Gateway Treatment Centers

By Dr. John Larson
Corporate Medical Director
Gateway Treatment Centers

Many individuals stumble into addiction unwittingly by trying to self-medicating, or using a substance to manage the symptoms of an underlying medical or psychiatric problem such as pain, anxiety, or depression.  The substance may be alcohol, an illicit drug, or a prescription medication.  In the beginning there may be short-term relief but as tolerance develops the medication or drug becomes less and less effective.

A common example is social anxiety, or fear of being in large groups, especially when there are lots of strangers.  Alcohol is commonly available and in modest doses it may initially reduce the anxiety providing a sense of relief and even a pleasurable sensation because of the effect it has on brain chemistry.  However, the body metabolizes the alcohol very quickly and it soon loses its effect.  With continued use the chemistry of the brain gradually changes and the feeling of anxiety or nervousness gets worse when alcohol is not present, even when the individual is not in a stressful social situation.  The amount and frequency of use increases and physical dependence develops.  When an individual tries to cut back, the rebound of the original symptoms only intensifies the discomfort experienced during withdrawal, making it very difficult to stop using. A person becomes more and more preoccupied with obtaining and using alcohol or their drug of choice.  This also often occurs with drugs such as Valium and Xanax, sleeping medications, and drugs used to treat acute and chronic pain.

This is often called “self medication.”  Unfortunately many people and even health care professionals are under the mistaken impression that the addiction issues will disappear if the underlying problem is treated: “If I can find some other way of treating my social anxiety my alcohol problem will simply go away.”  This is seldom the case.  When it reaches this point the drug or alcohol use has a life of its own and the individual needs to be specifically evaluated and professionally treated for addiction as well as for the underlying psychiatric or medical problem.  Failure to treat both inevitably results in continued suffering and worsening health complications.

The good news is that through integrated substance abuse treatment, a person can begin to understand how their underlying mental health concerns and substance abuse issues are related, to get them the help they need. To learn more about treatment options for substance abuse issues, or our free, confidential consultation, call Gateway today at 877-505-HOPE (4673).



Gateway’s Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center in St. Louis Metro East Celebrates Its 1st Anniversary

Alcohol And Drug Rehab st. louis metro east, swansea

Gateway Swansea
1 Bronze Pointe
Swansea, IL 62226

In honor of the first anniversary of Gateway’s Swansea treatment center, an Open House is planned on Thursday, September 25, 2014 from 11 am – 5 pm. The opening commemorates the positive impact of substance abuse treatment and recovery on local residents living throughout the St. Louis Metro East area. In September 2013, Gateway’s treatment center in Belleville moved to Swansea and was able to help 670 more adults and adolescents than the previous year get their lives back on track. Gateway Swansea officially opened on Sept. 4, 2013, and provides outpatient counseling and therapy to help adults and teens struggling with alcohol and drug abuse. Whether traveling by car or public transit, the new treatment center is conveniently located near Interstate 64 at 1 Bronze Pointe, a professional office park with plenty of free parking and accessible to Metro and bus line stops.

Light refreshments will be served while community care providers and local business leaders network with other professionals, and learn how Gateway helps adults and teens gain the tools and knowledge needed for lasting recovery. Attendees will be able to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the location and understand Gateway’s integrated approach for treating opiate and heroin addiction, which includes on-site services for administering medications such as Suboxone® and Vivitrol®.  Gateway’s substance abuse professionals will also provide an overview of the evidence-based practices, relapse prevention curriculum and family programs offered at the center.

Gateway treatment programs are personalized and based on a person’s unique background including drug use history, environment, withdrawal issues, lifestyle and co-occurring stress and mental health concerns. Gateway’s collaborative approach to treatment encourages empowerment through improved awareness and self-discovery. Treatment professionals assist individuals with exploring one’s values, setting goals, preparing for setbacks, developing a sobriety plan and building a support system . Outpatient treatment also includes: substance abuse education, group counseling utilizing evidence-based relapse prevention, individual therapy and family engagement.

The Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Center in Swansea offers outpatient treatment services in the morning and evening, Monday through Friday. The center also offers a free, confidential consultation to help individuals and families understand their treatment options.  Learn more about the Swansea location and free consultation by calling 877-505-HOPE (4673) or visiting

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