Specialty: Internal Medicine
Hospitals: Putnam Hospital Center; NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital
Special Expertise: Memory Disorders, Osteoporosis, Weight Management, Geriatric Medicine
Teenagers addicted to opioids, adults at their wits’ end with Weight Watchers, and nonagenarians with memory loss all consult George Gorich, MD, who enjoys “providing a broad spectrum of care.” He’s also licensed to prescribe medical marijuana, which he says holds promise as a treatment for opioid withdrawal.
Which diagnoses are you seeing among geriatric patients?
Every day I see more patients in this age group, half of whom develop dementia or memory loss by age 80. Today’s medications can delay the presentation of memory impairment — helping caregivers shoulder the burden.
How do you help patients with opioid addiction?
The challenge is that 47 percent of addiction disorders have overlapping diseases or diagnoses — many of which start 10 to 15 years before a patient walks into the office. They self-medicate for years, and the damage is done. There are new medications to reduce or eliminate withdrawal symptoms; but they only work if patients are ready to get better.
What’s the advantage of medically managing weight loss?
Obesity is a mental disease, not a stomach disease. I’ve seen gastric-surgery patients gain back all their weight because they haven’t treated the part of their brain that can’t say “no” to food. Like sex or drug addiction, it triggers a cascade of signals that only stop if you don’t feed them. That’s biofeedback. I remind patients to ask themselves: ‘Should I eat this?’ That activates the more rational part of the brain. I had one patient lose 127 pounds in one year.”
What’s the latest twist in your practice?
I recently added Sculptra® for weight loss. I had a cancer patient come to me with stubborn belly fat that she couldn’t lose, even with a personal trainer. With biofeedback, we tap into willpower; but sometimes people want quick results and an easy way out.