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What We Treat: Substance Use Disorder Treatment Programs

What Is Addiction?

Addiction is a disease that changes the brain by undermining the way it registers pleasure and influences learning and motivation.

Everyone’s path to addiction is different but has one thing in common: continued use of substances over time. Regardless of why someone first uses a substance, even if it is a prescribed drug, the brain starts to change with the initial use and continues to change in both structure and function over time.

Just as cardiovascular disease damages the heart and diabetes impairs the pancreas, addiction hijacks the brain. It is important to recognize that addiction is a disease and not a choice. Just like with any disease, getting the right treatment is vital to recovery. Substance use disorder treatment programs helps patients put active addiction into remission.

The Effects of Substance Use Disorder & Addiction

Substances like drugs and alcohol can make a significant impact on a person’s overall health. Different substances cause different effects on the body, ranging from noticeable short-term effects to long-term detrimental effects. The longer a person uses a substance, the more likely these effects will remain permanent even after a person stops using.

The Effects of Substance Use Disorder & Addiction

People use substances in various ways — consuming, inhaling, smoking, etc. — but regardless of the method, these substances impact the brain and alter how it works. A person using drugs or alcohol can begin to have little control over their usage and experience feelings like cravings or other health effects.

Substance use is taking a toll on people in the United States. Learning the numerous health implications that can occur in alcohol and drug use can help people reach out for treatment.

Physical Effects

Substance use disorder has many physical health effects that range from short-term issues to long-term health problems. Some physical effects of using drugs or alcohol are instantaneous, while others can emerge slowly from regular use.

Physical health effects of substance use include:

  • Various heart conditions, including increased heart rate, high blood pressure, heart attack, collapsed veins and irregular heartbeat.
  • Loss or change of appetite.
  • Insomnia or restlessness.
  • Stroke, seizures and other types of brain damage. 
  • Inflammation of the liver and other conditions like alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis and fibrosis.
  • A weakened immune system.
  • Inflammation of the pancreas.
  • Kidney failure or kidney disease.
  • Increase in body temperature.
  • Nausea and stomach pain.
  • Respiratory problems like lung disease, bronchitis, slow breathing and emphysema.
  • Musculoskeletal problems like muscle cramping, muscle weakness and stunted growth.

Mental Effects

Mental Effects

All types of drugs and alcohol affect a person’s brain’s reward circuit after excessive use. This part of the brain controls the release of dopamine and gives people euphoric feelings when using drugs and alcohol. Repeating that process can cause people to develop addictions, and that is the beginning of the adverse effects that substance use has on the brain and health wellbeing of a person.

Signs of mental effects may not present themselves right away. Over time, drugs and alcohol can change the brain’s chemistry and how it handles a person’s decision-making ability. From cravings to memory loss, people can experience numerous mental health effects from addiction, including:

  • Memory loss.
  • Intense cravings for the substance.
  • Mental health problems like depression and anxiety.
  • Aggression or paranoia.
  • Hallucinations.

Social Effects

Social Effects

A significant aspect of addiction is its impact on a person’s personal life, including relationships, family, employment and other obligations. A person with substance use disorder may lack the control to avoid using, regardless of the negative consequences in their life. This type of chronic disease can transform a person’s life and the people surrounding them.

Some of the social effects that substance use has on a person’s life include:

  • Poor grooming habits and having no care about one’s appearance.
  • Neglecting important life obligations relating to a person’s partner, children, work or school.
  • Lying about substance use habits to family, friends or loved ones.
  • Stealing money or other items to obtain the substance.
  • Changes in behavior, like removing themselves from activities they enjoy or distancing themselves from family and friends.
  • Performing poorly at work or school.
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What Is Addiction Medicine?

What Is Addiction Medicine?

A Proven Clinical Approach

Addiction Medicine is a holistic, integrated approach to addiction treatment that encompasses proven clinical practices including psychotherapy, medication, mindfulness-based skill development, 12-Step Facilitation and a full range of evidence-based practices. Based on the understanding that addiction is a disease, Addiction Medicine combines compassionate patient engagement and science to address each patient’s physical, social and emotional needs.

Our Substance Use Treatment Programs

Short-term and long-term substance use can affect your physical and mental health. The quality substance use treatment programs available at Gateway are designed to help our patients stop these effects in their tracks. Through individualized evidence-based addiction therapy services, people can truly begin to heal. Finding the right path to a substance-free lifestyle can be difficult, but Gateway is here to help.

Our Substance Use Treatment Programs

Here at Gateway Foundation, we treat three main categories of substance use — alcohol use disorder, co-occurring and dual diagnosis and drug use disorder. These categories help treat various types of substance use issues and other present conditions to ensure that patients receive the treatment they deserve. 

We strive to learn as much about our patients as possible to design treatment plans to align with their lives. At Gateway Foundation, we celebrate diversity and commit to serving every patient regardless of their life situation, beliefs, profession, income or race. Our programs will help treat every aspect of addiction, including a patient’s emotional, physical and social needs.

Alcohol Abuse, Now Referred to as Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol use disorder, or alcohol addiction, is when an individual lacks control over their alcohol consumption. Individuals struggling with alcohol use disorder can experience problems being preoccupied with drinking alcohol. They may continue to consume alcohol even after noticing the negative impacts it makes on their lives. This condition may cause people to drink more to feel the effects of drinking, and they might feel withdrawal symptoms soon after refraining from alcohol.

Alcohol Abuse, Now Referred to as Alcohol Use Disorder

Numerous factors contribute to alcohol use disorder, like a person’s environment, genetics, mental health and social aspects. While these factors contribute, there is no single cause for alcohol use disorder.

Seeking out treatment for alcohol use disorder is essential to a person’s wellbeing. Alcohol use has many adverse health effects, impairs the brain and alters a person’s life. Noticing the signs of alcohol use disorder can help someone struggling with alcohol addiction reach out for help or inform someone who has a loved one struggling.

The signs of excessive alcohol use include:

  • Consuming more alcohol than intended.
  • Drinking alcohol in private, like in a room alone or late at night or in the morning.
  • Spending a lot of time attempting to purchase alcohol or drinking alcohol.
  • Distancing from activities you enjoy to continue drinking.
  • Developing a high tolerance and needing to drink more to feel the effects.
  • Avoiding gatherings where alcohol isn’t present.
  • Experiencing problems at work or school like lack of performance or failing significant obligations.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you’re not drinking.

If you or a loved one is dealing with alcohol use disorder, searching for treatment programs is the next big step. Alcohol use disorder treatment programs can help get someone back on track with their life and feel a sense of control over themselves and their condition. Alcohol Use treatment from Gateway Foundation offers patients the chance to better their health and wellbeing.

The various alcohol use treatment centers that Gateway has in Illinois offer a skilled and compassionate staff. Our team can help individuals overcome alcohol use disorder with evidence-based and holistic-based treatment services. Our goal is to help you overcome challenges and succeed with your treatment. 

Looking to a professional for help with conquering alcohol addiction is the best decision a person can make because your chances for successfully reaching sobriety increase. A relative or a friend can be a great person to talk to about your problems, but the resources and expertise that the staff at our facilities have are bounds greater and more effective in healing.

When you enter an alcohol rehabilitation center, you can expect staff to help motivate you through recovery and guide you through every stage, like detoxification, withdrawal management, inpatient or outpatient treatment, and ongoing therapy. Patients will learn various coping methods for handling stressful alcohol triggers and access other resources to understand alcohol use disorder better.

Deciding to get treatment for alcohol addiction at Gateway Foundation is a huge accomplishment and a step toward recovery. Our treatment programs will help patients gain their health and their life back. Each patient’s recovery process is different, and Gateway Foundation will tailor each patient’s treatment plan for alcohol use disorder to be the most effective route toward sobriety.

Co-Occurring & Dual Diagnosis

Co-Occurring & Dual Diagnosis

Gateway Foundation’s various treatment programs set out to help as many individuals as possible struggling with substance use disorder. People seeking treatment require plans that work best with their current life situation and health history. Providing individuals with co-occurring and dual diagnosis treatment can help those dealing with mental health issues and substance use disorder at the same time.

Co-occurring and dual diagnosis treatment helps treat patients struggling with addiction while handling mental health problems like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.

This treatment is different from a patient only experiencing substance use disorder because the substance isn’t the center of attention during the recovery process. Medical professionals must keep all conditions in mind when handling treatment options.

Substance use impacts a person’s overall health, so linking substance use disorder to other mental health problems is common. People facing mental illness may turn to substance use to help deal with their condition. This occurrence can potentially lead to addiction when people regularly self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Sometimes the connection appears when a person struggling with addiction develops mental health problems through the effects of excessive drinking or drug use. The co-occurring disorders can be a powerful cycle to break, and the right treatment program can be the best option for patients.

Some of the signs symptoms of co-occurring disorders include:

  • Increased irritability.
  • Changes in sleeping habits.
  • Experiencing intense mood swings.
  • Losing touch with reality.
  • Distancing from loved ones.
  • Engaging in risky behaviors.
  • Having trouble quitting drugs or alcohol.
  • Having difficulty coping with stress without drugs or alcohol.

Without co-occurring and dual diagnosis treatment, the recovery process for only substance use can be less effective. Rather than solving both problems for a better chance of recovery, the focus is solely on the addiction. The connected mental health problem is not recognized, allowing it to sit inside and potentially turn to the substance again after treatment.

Untreated mental health conditions may lead to a relapse post-treatment. Substance use disorder is a chronic condition, so relapse is possible without the proper treatment or resources.

Patients can find many benefits in co-occurring and dual diagnosis treatment when they experience substance use disorder and mental illness. Co-occurring and dual diagnosis treatment facilities like Gateway Foundation have the knowledge to treat patients with these conditions.

Our treatment center considers the entire person when crafting recovery plans. Treating all conditions helps detail the ongoing care plan to prevent relapse and help the patient strive for an overall healthy life. Co-occurring and dual diagnosis treatment centers also help patients get answers for their mental health problems and learn why they developed an addiction to drugs or alcohol. This knowledge can help bring mental clarity to the patient and let them think more clearly about their choices and past mistakes.

With the various resources, therapy options, treatment programs and knowledgeable medical staff at Gateway Foundation, people with co-occurring disorders can feel confident in the quality of care they receive. 

Drug Addiction Treatment

Drug Addiction Treatment

Dealing with substance use disorder, or drug addiction, is a strenuous condition that impacts a person’s ability to think clearly about their actions surrounding drug use. They’ll lose most of their control over the substance and use it regularly to satisfy cravings. An individual will continue to use the drugs and either ignore or fail to see the negative impact the drugs have on their health and life. The sooner someone seeks treatment for substance use disorder, the better their chances are for a successful recovery process.

Many people associate substance use with illicit drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine or heroin addictions. Illicit drugs are a part of the problem, but there are numerous types of substances that people can become dependent on. Some of these drugs can be prescription medications like opioids and ones easily available at convenience stores like tobacco products or sleep medication. Substance use disorder covers a wide variety of drugs, and it’s helpful to learn how each drug category impacts a person’s wellbeing and how Chicago addiction treatment centers like Gateway Foundation can help patients struggling with any of these substances. 

Learn more about the different substance use addictions that we can help treat at Gateway Foundation.


Stimulants are a class of drugs that speeds up communication between the brain and the body. This drug can make people feel more alert and energetic, and the types of substances can range from illicit drugs to common products like caffeine that people use every day.

Using large amounts of stimulants can result in intense symptoms or overstimulation. Some of the dangerous stimulant symptoms include headaches, anxiety, seizures, aggression, panic attacks and paranoia. Using stimulants regularly for an extended time can cause long-term health effects.

People can take stimulants in a variety of ways. Depending on the substance, stimulants can be consumed, snorted, injected or smoked. The effects of each simulant substance vary depending on the type and the method of use.

Drugs that are considered stimulants include:


  • Adderall: Doctors prescribe Adderall to treat individuals with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The substance works to help people improve their focus, but Adderall can become addictive if someone uses it regularly or without a prescription. Adderall is a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. Some of the common illicit uses of Adderall include using the substance for weight loss, as a focus boost for studying or school work, for polydrug use to feel various effects and to get high. People from young adults to older adults misuse this substance and may become addicted. 
  • Cocaine: The substance cocaine interacts with the chemicals in a person’s brain and provides a flood of energy and pleasure. This intense high is a reason why many become addicted to cocaine. This stimulant is one of the most misused drugs in the country. Using this substance is dangerous because of the unregulated production and the health impact on a person’s body over time. 
  • Crack cocaine: The stimulant crack cocaine is another form of cocaine. The substance has a higher potency, making it more addictive and just as dangerous as cocaine. The processing of turning cocaine into crack cocaine requires adding baking soda or ammonia to the substance. The combination is boiled together to create a solid product that breaks into smaller pieces. Crack cocaine can be more addictive and is more popular partially because it’s cheaper than regular cocaine, but the health risks are still severe. 
  • Methamphetamine: The stimulant methamphetamine or meth is an addictive substance that impacts the central nervous system. Meth can create a powerful feeling of energy, which makes this substance common at nightclubs or raves. Meth can bring significant adverse effects on a person. It’s known to cause severe dental, mental and physical health problems because of its addictive properties and symptoms. Meth can be taken by snorting, smoking or injecting into the body. This substance can be detrimental to a person’s overall health and wellbeing.

Stimulants have varying symptoms depending on the level of drug use and the person. The signs and effects of this type of substance can be dangerous and possibly life-threatening.

The symptoms and side effects of using stimulants include:

  • Feelings of euphoria or “high.”
  • Heightened awareness.
  • Elevated blood pressure.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Change in appetite.
  • Tension.
  • Anxiety.
  • Tremors
  • Seizures.
  • Higher body temperature.
  • Nausea and stomach aches.
  • Coma.
  • Death.



Depressants are a substance that lessens a person’s feelings of stimulation or motivation. Though the name alludes to the mental illness depression, they do not necessarily make a person depressed. They cause people to feel an intense feeling of relaxation by slowing down the communication between the body and the brain.

Depressants impact a person’s ability to control their coordination and concentration. Depressants can be dangerous when consumed in large quantities, as they slow down vital processes that regulate your body. Some of the effects that depressants can have on users include vomiting, sleepiness, unconsciousness, poor judgment and death.

Regularly using depressants can lead to addiction because of their effects on the brain and other parts of the body. Drugs that are considered depressants include:

  • GHB: Gamma-hydroxybutyrate, commonly known as GHB, is an intense depressant that can become addictive with regular use. This substance impacts a person’s central nervous system and is dangerous to take in high doses. GHB is mostly used for illicit recreational use and comes from labs. Some pharmaceutical drugs contain GHB for conditions like narcolepsy. People will mix GHB with alcohol, making the effects more intense and dangerous. It’s highly addictive because the substance can often cause memory loss of the person ever using the drug.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol falls into the depressant category because of the effects it has on the body. It slows down a person’s reaction abilities and shares symptoms with other depressant substances. 

Using depressants will cause various symptoms and effects on a person’s body. Considering overall health when using drugs is helpful for wanting to seek out treatment for substance use disorder for depressants.

The symptoms or health effects a person can experience from depressants include:

  • Slow reaction time.
  • Slow breathing.
  • Reduce motivation.
  • Poor judgment.
  • Increased risk for injury or accidents.
  • Vomiting.
  • Shallow breathing.
  • Unconsciousness.
  • Blackouts.
  • Coma.
  • Memory loss.
  • Death.

Depressants can become increasingly dangerous when combined with other depressants or when a person uses the substances alone.



Opioids are substances that derive either from labs or are found naturally. Many types of opioids are prescription drugs and are used for pain management, but other types of opioids are illicit substances and are used recreationally.

Opioids work by blocking the pain receptors in the brain, which prevents the body from knowing about the pain. Prescription opioids are common after serious injuries or surgeries, but these are often used illicitly and the growing issue of opioid use and overdose in the United States shows that these substances are dangerous in addiction.

Seeking out treatment for substance use disorder for opioids is essential to a person’s wellbeing. Any type of opioid is dangerous and can cause severe effects on a person’s health.

Substances that are considered opioids include:

  • Benzodiazepine: The opioid family benzodiazepine, or benzos, is a popular group of prescription drugs in the United States. This category of substances treats conditions like seizures, anxiety, insomnia, alcohol withdrawal, muscle spasms and other health conditions. Benzos can become addictive when people use them against a doctor’s prescription or obtain them illicitly. The substance is also addictive when a person takes the prescription as prescribed and finds it difficult after their prescription ends. Benzos interact with the brain to create a sense of euphoria.
  • Codeine: Another prescription opioid is codeine, which is most often used to help mild to moderate pain or cough. This opioid interacts with a person’s brain and body, causing symptoms and effects that can make it addictive. People can experience symptoms like drowsiness, confusion, nausea, insomnia, muscle aches and anxiety when using codeine. 
  • Etizolam: The opioid etizolam is similar to a benzodiazepine. The class of opioids it’s a part of is called thienodiazepine, which includes properties like muscle-relaxant, sedative and anti-anxiety. People use this substance illicitly because of the symptoms of euphoria and intoxication. This substance is highly addictive due to its higher potency compared to benzos. People will begin to develop a high tolerance and dependency on etizolam after prolonged use of the drug.
  • Fentanyl: The substance fentanyl is an extremely potent and addictive opioid that is prescribed by a doctor for incurable pain. This type of opioid is synthetic, meaning it’s created in a lab and is easy to produce. It’s much more potent than morphine and heroin. People can take fentanyl in various ways, like patches, nasal sprays, pills and lozenges. Seeking treatment for a fentanyl addiction is necessary to help the person get their life back.
  • Heroin: This opioid is only illicitly used and common because it’s typically cheaper than other prescription opioids. The chemical makeup of heroin is similar to morphine, making the drug extremely potent and dangerous to people who use it. It’s a major contributor to the opioid epidemic in the country and has dangerous symptoms like collapsed veins from injecting the substance, brain damage, skin infections, high risk of bloodborne illness and damage to the heart.
  • Klonopin®: The brand name of the drug clonazepam is Klonopin®.This substance is a part of the benzodiazepine family and is a commonly prescribed substance in the U.S. People may develop a dependency on this opioid while using their prescribed dosage from a doctor or by illicitly obtaining the substance. People may take higher doses of the substance, use it along with other drugs for increased effects or crush pills into a powder.
  • Percocet®: The opioid Percocet® is a prescription pain medication that helps treat moderate to severe pain. This substance can cause people to develop a dependency with prolonged use, whether it’s from a prescription or through illicit purchase. People use this substance because of the euphoric feeling, but the effects of the opioid are not safe for a person’s health. Effects like insomnia, depression and low blood pressure are all examples of health effects caused by Percocet®.
  • Tramadol: You can find tramadol in a few brand-name pharmaceuticals. This substance is less potent than other opioids, but it still has addictive properties that make the substance dangerous. Many users combine it with other substances and use more than prescribed or use it without a prescription.
  • Valium®: The substance Valium® is well-known as a prescription drug that people take for anxiety or muscle spasms, but it’s also commonly misused and potentially addictive. People may misuse this substance by taking it to help deal with stress or sleeping problems. Some may also use this opioid because it creates a feeling of euphoria when taken in high amounts. 
  • Xanax®: The drug Xanax® is a type of benzodiazepine that is a common prescription medication in the United States. This substance has a strong sedative effect and is common in treating conditions like anxiety and panic disorders. Xanax®has many risks when misusing the substance like seizures, memory problems, dizziness, nausea and shortness of breath. 

Seeking treatment for opioid use is crucial for protecting yourself or a loved one against adverse physical, mental and social effects. 



Cannabinoids describe all of the substances that derive from the cannabis Sativa plant. Cannabis sativa plants have various types of cannabinoids, but the two common ones are THC and CBD.

People use substances that derive from the plant and synthetic substances to replicate the effects of the natural cannabinoids. These substances have addictive properties and side effects that can harm a person with regular use.

The different types of cannabinoids include:

  • Marijuana: Individuals who rely on marijuana every day to function or deal with situations might be struggling with a dependency on the substance. People take marijuana by smoking, vaping or eating marijuana-infused food. This substance alters the function of your brain and limits your sense and problem-solving abilities. People may experience health effects from using marijuana like vomiting, difficulty breathing, delusions, paranoia or psychosis.
  • Synthetic marijuana: Some people use synthetic marijuana, also known as “spice” or “K2.” This drug is similar to marijuana made in a lab to mimic the effects of the actual drug. 


Dissociative substances are psychedelic drugs that alter a person’s sensory abilities and cause them to feel a detachment from their environment. These substances can cause the brain to create auditory or visual distortions and produce other dangerous effects, like memory loss, body tremors, numbness, anxiety and altered motor function. 

Dissociatives can be dangerous when taken at any dosage. People must seek treatment for addictions to this type of substance to prevent further negative impacts on their overall health.

Drugs that are considered dissociatives include:

  • Ketamine: The substance ketamine is known for its hallucinogenic and dissociative properties. Ketamine has addictive properties and other effects that can impact a person’s body and brain. People take ketamine by injecting, drinking, snorting or consuming a pill. Developing an addiction to ketamine can involve various health risks like amnesia, seizure and high blood pressure.
  • PCP (angel dust): The dissociative drug PCP, also known colloquially as angel dust, is a substance that can cause hallucinations and other feelings that remove people from their environment. The substance is known for causing people to exhibit psychosis and other aggressive behaviors. Since this substance alters the function of the brain, it can quickly become addictive. 



Empathogens contain substances that increase a person’s ability to connect with others and enhance dopamine release. Since the substance causes an intense boost of dopamine and serotonin, it can cause a person to have drastic mood swings when they are sober or going through withdrawal.

Ecstasy is a common empathogen that also exhibits the effects of hallucinogens and stimulants. This substance is also known as MDMA and is a common drug in the party or club drug world. Ecstasy is commonly used in pill form and causes people to stay awake for long periods and feel high amounts of energy. This substance has addictive properties and effects that can negatively impact a person’s health.

Other Substances

People can develop addictions to other types of drugs that will benefit from the treatment programs at Gateway, including:

  • Kratom: Users of kratom experience similar effects to high doses of opioids. The effects of kratom can become addictive, and people will need to seek treatment for this substance use disorder.
  • Steroids: Many people use steroids to treat muscle loss or hormone imbalances, but some may misuse the substance to gain large amounts of muscle mass or improve their physical performance. Treatment for steroid addictions can help people find alternatives to improve physical performance.
  • Synthetic drugs: New drugs continue to show themselves every year and cause more harm because of their manufactured properties. These synthetic drugs mimic the effects of numerous drugs and can have addictive properties that cause people to develop substance use disorder. 

Contact Gateway Foundation for Substance Use Treatment Today

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Contact Gateway Foundation for Substance Use Treatment Today

Gateway Foundation is proud to offer substance use treatment centers throughout Illinois. Find the closest treatment facility if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction. 

Don’t let overcoming a disease like addiction overwhelm you. Contact us today and begin building your recovery community by calling 877.381.6538.