Welcome to another edition of the Doctor’s Note where we talk about what’s on our minds when it comes to your health.  

Dr. Chip Backus, Board Certified in Addiction Medicine, recently did a great podcast with me on the causes and effects of drug addiction. The subject was so fascinating that I felt the need to have him back on the show to specifically talk about alcoholism.  

This is a complex topic, sometimes even a little uncomfortable, but with almost 29 million people in the US reportedly having an alcohol use disorder in 2023 (NCDAS), I think it is important that we look deeper into the subject. 

Here are my Notes from the conversation with Dr. Backus. 


  • Alcoholism is a genetic brain disorder that disrupts the reward and motivation system of the brain. The consumption of alcohol can lead to the release of neurotransmitters in the brain, altering the way the amygdala processes emotion, and can cause an addiction. 
  • It’s so important to recognize that there is a problem! Warning signs of alcohol use disorder include drinking more than the recommended limits (14-15 drinks a week for a male, and 7-8 per week for a female), seeking out alcohol despite knowing its harmful effects, missing work or social events due to alcohol, and experiencing ailments that interfere with normal activities. 
  • The scariest part is how accepted excess drinking is. 
  • The medication Vivitrol has shown promising results treating binge drinking. This is a once a week injection done in office, which helps with compliance. Dr. Backus is having great success with Vivitrol for binge drinkers.
  • Outpatient treatment can be effective for binge drinkers, while inpatient treatment, (including detox and comprehensive support) is important for chronic drinkers. 
  • There’s 3 things you absolutely need to do if you have an alcohol use disorder: realize you have a problem, abstain from it, seek something out that is ongoing (such as a 12- step program). Good support is key! 

This conversation really emphasized the need for recognition, comprehensive treatment, and ongoing support for individuals battling alcohol use disorder. I am grateful to Dr. Backus for not only sharing the information, but sharing it with such passion and encouragement. 

My hope is that we take this information to heart and reach out to anyone you know who is struggling with alcohol use disorder. Share the video. Share Emmaus Medical & Counseling!

Stay Educated. Stay Healthy.

Till next week.