George Gorich, MD

Specialty: Internal Medicine

Hospitals: Putnam Hospital Center; NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital

Special Expertise: Memory Disorders, Osteoporosis, Weight Management, Geriatric Medicine

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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.

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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?

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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.

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