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Gateway Foundation - Lake Villa

25480 W. Cedarcrest Lane, Lake Villa, Illinois, 60046
Since 1968 our goal has been straightforward: help clients get their life back on track and achieve a life of sobriety, free from drug use and symptoms of mental illness. A life that is productive, socially responsible, and healthy. Gateway Foundation is the largest nonprofit treatment provider in the U.S. specializing in substance use disorders for men, women, adolescents, and clients diagnosed with co-occurring mental health disorders. Gateway's professional clinicians support over 6000 people a day to successfully complete treatment by developing a personalized plan to treat the underlying causes of substance use disorder —not just their addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Facility Highlights

  • Insurance Accepted
  • Individual & Family Counseling
  • Group Therapy


  • Dual Diagnosis Program

    Co-occurring disorders can be difficult to diagnose because of the complexity of symptoms. There are many possible combinations of dual diagnoses, which means there are many possible symptoms. Today, addiction and psychiatric health are viewed more as part of a continuum, and clinicians are specially trained to deal with patients who have a co-occurring disorder. We are certified as one of the only dual diagnosis rehab centers in the Midwest.
  • Medical Assisted Treatment

    To help an individual overcome mild to moderate physical dependency from alcohol, opiates and benzodiazepines, Gateway Foundation recognizes the benefits of medication assisted treatment to address withdrawal symptoms, cravings and detoxification.

Facility Settings

  • Private/Secluded

Meet the Staff

  • Dr. Thomas Britton
    Dr. Thomas BrittonPresident & CEO
    Dr. Thomas Britton began his career in behavioral health as a counselor where he developed a passion for effectively treating individuals with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. For more than twenty years, Dr. Britton has been dedicated to helping others through various roles as a therapist, crisis worker, educator, clinical supervisor, executive director and most recently president for a division of Acadia Health Care. Dr. Britton believes strongly in the power of recovery, so much that in 2006, he founded a North Carolina organization that advocates for treatment for those without resources. His devotion to the field and a commitment to learning led him to earn a Master's Degree in both Addiction and Marriage and Family Therapy from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. Understanding the importance of strong leadership skills, Dr. Britton went on to earn a Doctorate in Public Health, Executive Management from Gillings School of Global Health at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. Dr. Britton has aligned his personal mission to help others with his life's work. From his early days as a clinician, to his present leadership role, his focus remains on helping individuals and their families get their lives back on track.
  • Karen Wolownik Albert, LCSW
    Karen Wolownik Albert, LCSWExecutive Director
    Karen Wolownik Albert is the Executive Director of Gateway Foundation's Lake County Treatment Services including a residential program in Lake Villa, and an outpatient program in Gurnee, Illinois. Ms. Wolownik Albert has over 20 years of behavioral health experience, and has worked in a variety of outpatient and residential settings throughout her career. She earned her Bachelors of Science, and Masters in Social Work from the University of Michigan, and is a licensed clinical social worker in Illinois. Ms. Wolownik Albert is an experienced trainer locally, and also presented at national conferences on a wide array of topics. She is on the Board of Directors of the Lake County Opioid Initiative, as well as a co-chair of the Treatment, Recovery and Harm Reduction Committee, and a core team member in the development of the A Way Out Program, a law assisted diversion program in Lake County.

Treatment Center Links

Rehabs 360 Guide


The Gateway Foundation operates 17 residential and outpatient substance abuse treatment centers in Illinois, Delaware, and California. It's a nonprofit organization, positioning this Lake Villa facility among the 54.3 percent of Illinois-based rehabs that operate as private nonprofits.

Set on 43 rural acres about 50 miles north of Chicago, the Lake Villa treatment center offers residential treatment and several levels of outpatient care for men, women, and adolescents who are struggling with substance misuse and dual diagnoses. Medical detox is not available on-site, but the center can provide referrals to local detox centers. The center is among the 26.5 percent of Illinois-based rehabs that offer dedicated treatment for adolescents.


Treatment at the Gateway Foundation - Lake Villa facility begins with an assessment by trained addiction counselors, which is used to put together an individualized treatment plan. Clients are then assigned to the most appropriate program for their needs. In the residential program, the length of treatment varies according to each client’s needs, though the typical length of stay is between two and four weeks.

Treatment is multidisciplinary, drawing on 12-step principles, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and evidence-based treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Clients participate in individual, group, and family counseling, and individuals struggling with co-occurring mental health disorders receive mental health services integrated into their addiction treatment, which may include medication management.

The adolescent program is similar to that for adults, but includes an added focus on family therapy and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Designed specifically for young men between the ages of 18 and 23, the residential Bridge Program focuses on health education, living in balance, maturity development, and anger management.

The Gateway Foundation - Lake Villa also offers an intensive outpatient program (IOP, available at 65.7 percent of Illinois-based rehabs) and standard outpatient care. Weekly aftercare sessions are available for clients who complete the program.


The treatment staff at Gateway Foundation - Lake Villa includes an MD, a social worker, counselors, and therapists. All clients receive 24-hour support while living on-site. The seven individuals polled by Rehabs.com to date on the staff were impressed with their aptitude.

Staff Experience and Training: 4.4/5


The 43-acre Gateway Foundation - Lake Villa campus features an indoor gym with a basketball court, a weight room with cardio equipment, a sand volleyball court, and comfortable, outdoor patio areas. Clients sleep in shared bedrooms, each of which has its own bathroom.

Schooling for adolescents is provided via partnership between Gateway Foundation, the local school district, and the resident's home school. The eight individuals polled by Rehabs.com to date on the center's accommodations and amenities indicated that the facility was clean, though somewhat lacking in extracurricular activities.

Cleanliness: 4.3/5
Exercise and Leisure: 3.3/5


Alumni reviews submitted to Rehabs.com to date were mostly positive, with some notes of strong, recurring complaint. The positive reviewers generally praised the center's effectiveness and treatment options. “I loved this place,” alum Michelle wrote. “Have been in others and this is the one that had the right combination of AA and therapy and groups.” Others, such as K.M.K., found favor in the aftercare provisions.

However, some alumni found the facility excessively strict and the staff unhelpful, while others felt that extracurricular activities were limited. "Don't go here! Horrible. Feels like a court ordered boot camp..food was horrible. Staff was not friendly at all," Mary wrote in a representative review, while an anonymous alum added: “There is not enough exercise offered."

Gateway Foundation Lake Villa has mixed feedback on secondary sites at the time of this writing, with average ratings of 3.3 out of five stars based on 47 reviews on Google, 2.8 stars based on six reviews on CiteHealth, and 2.5 stars based on eight reviews on Yelp, plus a single five-star rating on YellowPages.com.[1] [2] [3] [4]

Some reviewers praised the center's staff and noted that treatment was effective. However, numerous others complained of poor treatment from staff, intimidation by fellow clients, and a general sense that the facility was more interested in making money than in helping people. "Very unstructured environment and only a few good counsellors. Most counselors at gateway lake villa simply have too much on their plate and therefore cannot give full attention," Lee wrote on Yelp in a typical comment.


The six loved ones polled by Rehabs.com at the time of this writing gave mostly positive feedback, awarding the center high ratings for its family program and a solid score for its counseling options. However, the center's holistic options fare more poorly.

Family Participation: 4.4/5
Counseling Options: 3.8/5
Holistic Offerings: 3/5

Several individuals commended the facility for its involvement of families. “Good program to help parents understand what their kids are going through,” one reviewer wrote. However, K.W. echoed alumni posting on secondary sites by suggesting the center is primarily interested in money, adding: "This establishment is in NO WAY prepared to handle anyone with substance abuse issues- addictions - or mental health problems." Another reviewer wished for more supervision, and a third reviewer felt that visiting hours were too short.


Rehabs.com has also received two survey responses from former staff members, both of whom would recommend treatment at Gateway Foundation - Lake Villa. “ONE MUST WANT AMD BE SERIOUS ABOUT ONES TREATMENT, POINT BLANK AND VERY SIMPLE,” R.L.D. wrote. This staff member gave five out of five stars for treatment effectiveness, accommodations and amenities, and meals and nutrition. In response to commentary about unqualified staff members, the other staff member described an “educated and caring staff that take all residents care very serious.”


Gateway is in-network with many health insurance plans. State funding and charitable assistance may also be available for some services. The eight individuals polled by Rehabs.com to date on the center's affordability were mostly impressed.

Affordability: 4.3/5

[1] GoogleReviews
[2] https://citehealth.com/rehab-centers/illinois/cities/lake-villa-township-in-lake-county/gateway-foundation-alcohol
[3] https://www.yelp.com/biz/gateway-alcohol-and-drug-treatment-centers-lake-villa?osq=Gateway+Foundation
[4] https://www.yellowpages.com/lake-villa-il/mip/gateway-foundation-alcohol-drug-treatment-504321567

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