Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to COVID-19

LAST UPDATED ON 12/17/2020

As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at Duffy's Napa Valley Rehab to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, on-site visitation is no longer allowed at Duffy's Napa Valley Rehab.

  • This restriction has been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • Options for telehealth visitation are continuously evaluated so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff has received infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance has been provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are being monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.
  • We are in communication with our local health department to receive important community-specific updates.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit

How Does Alcohol Affect the Brain?

Like most drugs, alcohol disrupts neurotransmission, which is the technical way of saying alcohol changes the way brain nerves communicate with one another.

Alcohol affects many parts of your brain, from the medulla to the cerebellum. Simply put, alcohol performs like an on-and-off switch as it blocks or enhances your brain’s lines of communication. Yet unlike many other drugs, alcohol interacts with multiple systems in the brain at the same time–and this is the secret of its powers.

What part of the brain does alcohol affect?

Alcohol interacts with three powerful neurotransmitters–chemical messengers that are responsible for communication.

  • The Nucleus accumbens: the nucleus accumbens is an important structure in the middle of the brain that is part of the reward pathway. The nucleus accumbens maintains motivation, pleasure, satiety, and memories. Alcohol enhances the release of dopamine, which then produces feelings of euphoria and well-being. This is also why alcohol can be so addicting.
  • Glutamate receptors: Glutamate is a chemical that excites neurons. Alcohol binds to glutamate receptors and blocks them, or keeps them from being activated.
  • GABA receptors: GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, is the chemical that slows the brain down. Alcohol also binds to GABA receptors and activates these receptors.

Between alcohol’s interaction with GABA and Glutamate, the net effect is a depression of brain activity and all the nerves in your spinal cord (also known as the Central Nervous System). This effect doesn’t just result in general drowsiness, but it also slows your breathing, thinking, and even suppresses the gag reflex.

(You may think that suppressing the gag reflex isn’t a big deal, but it is. A decreased gag reflex prevents your ability to swallow and increases the chance of choking, airway obstruction, aspiration, and other respiratory complications.)

Other brain structures affected by alcohol include:

  • The Frontal Lobes: The frontal lobes of our brain are responsible for cognition, thought, memory, and judgment. By inhibiting its effects, alcohol impairs nearly every one of these functions.
  • The hippocampus: The hippocampus forms and stores memory. Alcohol’s impact on the hippocampus leads to memory loss.
  • The cerebellum: The cerebellum is the center of movement and balance. This is why people experience loss of balance and uncoordinated movements.
  • Hypothalamus and pituitary: The hypothalamus and pituitary coordinate automatic brain functions and hormone release. Even though sexual desire increases, sexual performance decreases.
  • Medulla: The medulla oblongata acts like you body’s powerpanel. This little segment of your brainstem controls basic vital life functions such as breathing, body temperature, consciousness, heart rate. Alcohol’s depressant effects on the medulla is often responsible for the fatal signs of overdose: extremely slowed breathing (also called respiratory depression by the medical-savvy people) and a slowed heartbeat.

If alcohol was an army general plotting a way to take over your brain, it could not have picked a more strategic plan. GABA and glutamate affect the function of the entire central nervous system (including vital life functions and your ability to think), and dopamine causes you to like the substance that’s causing these dangerous effects. Even if you ignore alcohol’s effect on the other major organs in your body, it’s still a pretty thorough takeover.

What are the long-term effects on alcohol on the brain?

Alcohol can cause reversible and irreversible brain damage, particularly with heavy or persistent use. Of the approximately 20 million alcoholics in the United States, as many as half of them have various degrees of brain damage.

In studies, alcoholics have exhibited brain shrinkage and deficiencies in the white brain matter that carries information between cells. Brain scans of heavy drinkers indicate that alcohol negatively affects neurotransmission, brain cell metabolism, and blood flow within the frontal lobes and cerebellum. Chronic drinkers may develop permanent brain damage that results in severe medical conditions such as:

  • Impaired learning, memory, movement, coordination.
  • Psychological disturbances such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia
  • Dementia, which affects memory and mental abilities such as language, reasoning, and problem solving
  • Wet brain, a persistent amnesic disorder, which which results from vitamin B1 deficiency

Where can I get help?

Our treatment center, located in beautiful northern California, can help you find hope, freedom and joy in a new life of sobriety.