How, Exactly, Can a Psychiatrist Help with My Addiction?

addictionAddiction affects millions of people each year but it’s not a battle you have to fight alone, nor is it one that is easily fought alone. Help is available by way of AA meetings, support groups, therapy, and medication and more. In fact, sometimes the treatment options can be dizzying. Working collaboratively with a psychiatrist will allow you to chose the treatments that are right for you!

What, exactly, are some of the treatments for addiction?

Talk Therapy

There are many forms of talk therapy. Some forms help patients to identify triggers for using, develop coping mechanisms other than using, help to manage the guilt that accompanies addiction, or help to re-engage patients in society. Talk therapy is a great way to help you cope with addiction.

While forms of talk therapy are too numerous to list, two forms, CBT and Motivational Interviewing, are types of talk therapy that are very frequently used in the treatment of addiction. CBT helps you recognize and change behavioral patterns and thinking that can impede your recovery. By changing your thinking patterns, you’ll be equipped to cope with your addiction recovery in a more positive way.

Motivational interviewing (MI) is a form of talk therapy that is centered around identifying the patient’s goals and motivations and harnessing these to help the patient make the changes they desire. This technique is goal-oriented and client-centered. Changing how you think imperative to your recovery.


Medications are available to help safely taper patients from addictive substances and ease the symptoms of withdrawal, as well as to limit cravings and to deter patients from “picking up”. Of course, medication isn’t a panacea for abstinence, but it can help a great deal with recovery. There are many medications available to help with treatment of addiction. Some newer medications that are available in your psychiatrist’s office to help treat addiction include buprenorphine (suboxone) and vivitrol, which is an injectable naltrexone, or opiate blocker. Buprenorphine (suboxone) is prescribed by a psychiatrist and taken orally. Suboxone is opiate replacement and can help patients stop using “street” opiates. Vivitrol is an opiate blocker that is taken only once per month by injection. It has been demonstrated to reduce drinking in heavy alcohol users and significantly reduce opiate use. It may be a convenient option, as well, as it only needs to be taken once per month.

Diagnosis of Co-Occurring Mental Illness

Oftentimes, an underlying mental illness either contributes to or is a significant cause of addiction. A psychiatrist is able to uncover any underlying mental illness that may be a contributing factor to addiction. Treatment for any other mental illness will significantly increase your odds of addiction recovery.

These aren’t the only ways a psychiatrist can help you battle addiction. Your psychiatrist will primarily serve as a liaison and advocate for you throughout your addiction treatment. Whether it is inpatient or outpatient treatment or a 12-step program, your psychiatrist will review all the options with you, and support you throughout the best treatment options for you.

Be well,
Dr. Amanda Itzkoff
dr. amanda






Dr. Amanda Itzkoff is trained in Psychotherapy and Psychopharmacology in New York, and can help you move beyond addiction. If you are looking for more information on addiction, please feel free to contact us via email. To schedule a consultation, please contact our office at 917-609-4990. .

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