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Substance abuse is a growing problem in today’s society. It refers to the harmful or hazardous use of substances such as alcohol, prescription drugs, or illegal drugs. Substance abuse can have severe consequences, not only on the individual’s health but also on their social, occupational, and personal life. If left untreated, it can lead to addiction and other mental health disorders.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, seeking the help of a psychiatrist can be a crucial step toward recovery. Psychiatrists are trained medical professionals who specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illness, including substance abuse disorders.

Role of a psychiatrist

A psychiatrist can provide a comprehensive evaluation to determine the severity of the substance abuse problem and assess for any underlying mental health conditions. They can also develop a personalized treatment plan, which may include medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. In some cases, the psychiatrist may also recommend a referral to a specialized addiction treatment center.

In addition to treating the immediate effects of substance abuse, a psychiatrist can also address the root causes of the problem. They can help individuals develop coping strategies to manage stress, anxiety, and other triggers that may lead to substance abuse. By addressing the underlying mental health issues, the individual can achieve long-term recovery and a better quality of life.

How to find the right psychiatrist?

When it comes to choosing a psychiatrist for substance abuse treatment, it is important to find someone who is experienced and compassionate. Look for a psychiatrist who specializes in substance abuse disorders and has a proven track record of success in helping individuals recover from addiction.

It is also essential to find a psychiatrist who can work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals, including primary care physicians, therapists, and addiction specialists. A team-based approach can provide a more comprehensive treatment plan and increase the chances of long-term recovery.

Best psychiatrists for substance abuse

We have listed down some of the best psychiatrists who have expertise in treating substance abuse-related problems. Keep reading to learn more about them!

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1. Stephen Gilman

Stephen Gilman, MD is a highly experienced and skilled addiction psychiatrist with over 25 years of experience helping individuals overcome substance abuse and addiction. He is dedicated to treating any underlying psychiatric issues, including depression and anxiety, in addition to substance abuse disorders. 

Dr. Gilman specializes in helping individuals who may have failed previous attempts to stop their substance use on their own or through other clinicians. He understands the fear and anxiety that can come with the possibility of relapse and offers strategies to combat cravings and prevent relapse. He offers a holistic approach to addiction treatment, exploring the possibility of medication and psychotherapy. He also provides support for individuals who are in stable recovery, helping them with any other challenges they may face in their daily lives, including relationship and work issues.

As a highly qualified addiction psychiatrist, Dr. Gilman completed four years of training in general psychiatry and an additional two years of specialized addiction psychiatry fellowship training. He offers both in-person and online consultations to help individuals across the nation. Additionally, Dr. Gilman offers a free 15-minute consultation and sliding scale fees for eligible individuals.

2. Laura Rubinfeld

Laura Rubinfeld is a Board-Certified Psychiatrist who strongly believes in helping individuals lead meaningful lives that align with their personal values. With a medical degree from Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Rubinfeld is experienced in treating a broad range of mental health conditions, including substance use disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, ADHD, and serious mental illnesses.

Dr. Rubinfeld uses an evidence-based approach and draws upon her background in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Motivational Interviewing (MI) techniques to provide individualized treatment to her patients. She works to establish a collaborative relationship with each patient, creating a non-judgmental and safe environment where healing can take place.

Dr. Rubinfeld has particular expertise in treating substance use disorders and utilizes a combination of psychotherapy and medication management to help individuals achieve their treatment goals. Dr. Rubinfeld is available for both in-person and online appointments and offers a free 15-minute consultation to new patients.

3. Leslie Marino

Leslie Marino is a board-certified psychiatrist who has expertise in treating substance abuse, depression, and bipolar disorder. She offers evidence-based medication management along with supportive psychotherapy and collaborates with the client’s therapist or treatment program to create an individualized treatment plan. 

Her person-centered approach prioritizes improving clients’ mental health and assisting them on their road to recovery. Dr. Marino works with both teenagers and adults in both individual and group therapy settings. She employs culturally sensitive and integrative therapeutic techniques such as motivational interviewing. 

Dr. Marino is available for both in-person and online consultations, and although she does not accept insurance at this time, she is willing to assist clients in getting reimbursed from their insurance companies if they have out-of-network benefits. If you’re looking for a compassionate psychiatrist to help you on your journey to recovery, consider contacting Leslie Marino for a consultation.

4. Samuel Glazer

Samuel Glazer is a highly specialized addiction psychiatrist who focuses on helping high-functioning executives and professionals overcome addiction and alcohol abuse. His clients seek treatment because their substance use is threatening their success and they want to regain control of their lives. 

Dr. Glazer’s practice philosophy is unique in the addiction field, with a completely individualized and humanistic treatment approach. He assesses each person to formulate a customized plan that can include medication-assisted treatment and/or individual psychotherapy. 

He believes that psychotherapy is a cornerstone of treatment, and as an addiction psychiatrist, he specializes in both psychotherapy and medication management of anxiety disorders, mood disorders (depression), ADHD, and OCD. He is a Castle Connolly Top Doctor and Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health, and his program for executives is available on his website. He is available for both in-person and online consultations.

5. Sean X Luo

Sean X Luo is a highly trained general and addiction psychiatrist, as well as an accomplished researcher. With over 13 years of experience, Dr. Luo’s practice specializes in providing high-quality, individualized treatment to a small number of patients. He is skilled in treating complex substance use disorders, as well as co-occurring conditions like ADHD, depression, and behavioral addictions such as sex and gaming. 

Dr. Luo employs a range of therapeutic modalities, including talk therapy and medication management, to help patients achieve transformative change in their behavior patterns and reach their full potential. In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Luo conducts cutting-edge research at the intersection of statistics, artificial intelligence, and addiction science, which informs his evidence-based practice. 

He is a respected expert in his field, having won awards like the APA/Eli Lilly Resident Research Award and the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry Early Career Award, and has published numerous research and popular articles on addiction and related topics. Dr. Luo is also fluent in Mandarin. His practice offers in-person and online treatment options, and a sliding scale fee may apply for eligible patients.

Choosing between a psychiatrist and a therapist

When it comes to treating substance abuse, it can be challenging to know whether to see a psychiatrist or a therapist. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in mental health and substance abuse treatment, while a therapist is a licensed mental health professional who provides counseling and therapy.

If you’re struggling with substance abuse, it’s crucial to consider the severity of your condition. If you’re experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms or require medication management, a psychiatrist may be the best option. They can prescribe medications to help manage symptoms and provide medical monitoring to ensure safe detoxification.

On the other hand, if you’re seeking emotional support and guidance to help address underlying issues that contribute to substance abuse, a therapist may be a better choice. Therapists can help you learn coping skills, develop a relapse prevention plan, and address any co-occurring mental health conditions that may be contributing to substance abuse.

If you decide that therapy is the best option for you, BetterHelp is an excellent resource. It’s an online platform with thousands of licensed therapists to choose from, including many who specialize in treating substance abuse. By filling out a brief questionnaire, BetterHelp will match you with a therapist who fits your preferences and needs. If you don’t feel comfortable with your therapist, it’s also very easy to switch to a new one!


How do I know if I have a substance abuse problem?

Some common signs of substance abuse include a preoccupation with using drugs or alcohol, withdrawal symptoms when not using, increased tolerance to the substance, and neglecting responsibilities or relationships.

How long does substance abuse treatment typically last?

The length of substance abuse treatment varies depending on the severity of the problem and the individual’s unique needs. Treatment may last for several months or even years.

What types of medication are used to treat substance abuse?

There are several medications available to treat substance abuse, including methadone, buprenorphine, naltrexone, and disulfiram. These medications can help reduce cravings and manage withdrawal symptoms.

Can substance abuse be treated without medication?

Yes, substance abuse can be treated without medication through various forms of psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing.

Will my substance abuse treatment be covered by insurance?

Most insurance plans cover treatment for substance abuse disorders. However, it is important to check with your insurance provider to determine your coverage and any out-of-pocket costs.
In conclusion, seeking the help of a psychiatrist for substance abuse can be a life-changing decision. With the right treatment and support, individuals can achieve long-term recovery and a better quality of life. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, don’t hesitate to seek help from a trained medical professional.

Additional Posts:

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  2. Best Psychiatrists for ADHD
  3. Best Psychiatrists for Bipolar Disorder
  4. EMDR Therapists for Trauma
  5. Trauma Therapists for Children



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